Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-63647 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:00:13 GMT Goldman Sachs raises a red flag over U.S. government spending http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-19_GoldmanSachsraisesaredflagoverUSgovernmentspending.html U.S. fiscal policy is headed for "uncharted territory."That's how a team of economists at Goldman Sachs, led by Jan Hatzius, have described the government's current spending and tax plans, as they also warned that the growth kick for the economy from those strategies will eventually fade.

"Congress has voted twice in the last two months to substantially expand the budget deficit despite an already elevated debt level and an economy that shows no need for additional fiscal stimulus," said the Goldman economists. Tax cuts signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump in December will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a 10-year period.

Goldman economists expect the U.S. [deficit] level to hit 5.2% of gross domestic product by 2019, and keep climbing gradually from there. In the past, a strengthening economy and rising debt burden has prompted Congress to raise taxes and cut spending. But this time, the opposite has occurred, which will leave revenues low for a few years and push spending to its "highest point in decades," they said.

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iehi-feed-63646 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:44:48 GMT Gibraltar To Introduce ‘World's First' ICO Regulations http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-19_GibraltarToIntroduceWorldsFirstICORegulations.html The draft law, aiming to regulate the promotion, sale and distribution of digital tokens on the territory of Gibraltar, will be the first ever set of regulations developed specifically for ICOs, the lawmakers claim.

One of the principal aspects of Gibraltar's ICO regulations will be the introduction of the concept of "authorized sponsors," who are supposed to be "responsible for assuring compliance with disclosure and financial crime rules," said Sian Jones, one of GFSC's senior advisors.

The draft law will also establish disclosure rules that will require ICO projects to provide "adequate, accurate and balanced information to anyone buying tokens", the government and Financial Services Commission said to Reuters.

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iehi-feed-63645 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:43:02 GMT Bitcoin price hits $11,000 for the first time since January http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-19_Bitcoinpricehits11000forthefirsttimesinceJanuary.html The price of the cryptocurrency went as high as $11,279.18 on Sunday, its most elevated level since January 30, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index, which tracks prices from four major cryptocurrency exchanges... Bitcoin is up over 80 percent since it bottomed at $5.947.40 on February 6.

In South Korea, a key market for bitcoin, there were fears that an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading could come into effect. But as new measures were implemented, they were less strict than investors thought, and many sounded a positive note.

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iehi-feed-63644 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:41:18 GMT Elon Musk's Boring Company gets green light to start test-digging in Washington, DC http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-19_ElonMusksBoringCompanygetsgreenlighttostarttestdigginginWashingt.html Elon Musk's tunnel-boring project has received more vague government approval for its equally vague plans to build an underground hyperloop between New York and Washington, DC. Last week, Washington, DC's Department of Transportation issued a preliminary permit to Musk's Boring Company to start digging at an abandoned lot in the northeast section of the city, according to The Washington Post.

... transportation experts question whether tunnels are really an answer to the quandary of overcapacity, in addition to questioning Musk's claims that he can dig tunnels faster and at a fraction of the cost of traditional boring technology. The Boring Company has yet to publicly prove its claims.

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iehi-feed-63643 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:39:20 GMT Guitar company Gibson reportedly facing bankruptcy http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-19_GuitarcompanyGibsonreportedlyfacingbankruptcy.html Gibson's Chief Financial Officer Bill Lawrence recently left the firm just six months before $375 million of senior secured notes were due to mature, according to a report by the Nashville Post earlier this month. He had been working for the company for little over a year before departing.

Gibson, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion, has another $145 million in bank loans that will be due immediately if those senior secured notes are not refinanced by mid-July, the report said.

CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is thought to be in a race against time to decide whether to exchange the company's debt, look to try and pay it off using his equity or try to declare the company bankrupt.

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iehi-feed-63642 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:51:01 GMT "The Home Builder Rationalization" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-18_TheHomeBuilderRationalization.html The multi-family segment has been a drag on the construction sector for several years now, despite the occasional spike up in either permits or starts, or both... [But] according the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), they have been over the past few months rarely ever more confident than now. You have to go back to the late nineties for similar expressed levels of optimism; the NAHB's index suggests that its members are more positive now than at any time during the housing mania.

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The problem with that result is obvious; they aren't building at a rate anywhere close to either the nineties or the height of the bubble. On a population-adjusted basis, the disparity is even greater.

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[The lack of] growth in household formation may not threaten to reverse the low-growth in home construction, but it sure does explain why more homes aren't being built. There is no additional demand above what appears to be minimal growth in home stock (which also helps explain the pullback in apartment construction around the "rising dollar" downturn; that it confirmed there isn't likely to ever be more than minimal growth).

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There are any number of surveys particularly of young adults describing the restlessness of this situation, and therefore if those stuck in it had the means they would change their circumstances if possible. In droves. It can be construed as a social trend, but it's often done so because by and large in the mainstream there isn't an economic problem according to Economists.

Maybe that in the end is what builders are so happy about. They see only a very small probability of a substantial decrease in their business while at the same time noting that any day now young Americans in light of full employment will start to move out of their parents' basement all at once. Like other similar rationalizations, the longer it goes where that hasn't happened, the more certain they have become that it will -- tomorrow for sure.

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iehi-feed-63641 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:25:37 GMT Wall Street's Regulators Move Deeper Into Darkness Under Trump http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-18_WallStreetsRegulatorsMoveDeeperIntoDarknessUnderTrump.html ... All of the above [failures of transparency in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis] occurred under the Obama administration. It's getting worse under President Trump. Yesterday Bloomberg News reported that the SEC is now settling cases against banks and hedge funds without issuing press releases as it has historically done, ostensibly to save the firms embarrassment and deny the public the ability to see that wrongdoing continues unabated on Wall Street despite the huge fines following the financial crash. Last month, Susan Antilla and Gary Rivlin wrote an in-depth report for The Intercept showing how Trump's SEC is allowing more secrecy in what Wall Street itself has to report to the public.

Now the U.S. Treasury, headed by the former foreclosure king, Steve Mnuchin, has announced it plans to hold a secret meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (F-SOC) next Wednesday, February 21. F-SOC was created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 to make sure the financial collapse of 2008 would never happen again. That collapse was the worst economic event for the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Given the financial devastation to citizens from that collapse, the public has every right to know about any new financial stability threats facing the nation.

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[Meanwhile,] the 24/7 cable news programs are consumed with investigating Russia. We're not saying that's not important but it's happening while nothing is being reported about the growing dangers on Wall Street. The Republican-led Congress is consumed with funding wars against foreign terrorists. But it was neither Russia nor foreign terrorists that dealt America the two worst financial and economic crises in its history: the 1929-1932 and 2008-2010 Wall Street collapses and ensuing economic calamities. These occurred from well-documented illegal acts by Wall Street firms as their Federal regulators wore blindfolds.

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iehi-feed-63640 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:07:09 GMT The WeWork Manifesto: First, Office Space. Next, the World http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-18_TheWeWorkManifestoFirstOfficeSpaceNexttheWorld.html When Dock 72 [in Brooklyn] is completed this year, if the aggressive timeline holds, it will represent the fullest expression of Mr. Neumann's expansive vision to date. There will be an enormous co-working space, a luxury spa and large offices, for other companies like IBM and Verizon, that are designed and run by WeWork. There will be a juice bar, a real bar, a gym with a boxing studio, an outdoor basketball court and panoramic vistas of Manhattan. There will be restaurants and maybe even dry cleaning services and a barbershop.

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It may sound simplistic, but around the globe, companies are buying whatever it is that Mr. Neumann and his co-founder, Miguel McKelvey, are selling. WeWork has rapidly expanded to 20 countries, assembled a formidable executive team and attracted some 200,000 members. Big companies like JPMorgan Chase and Siemens are signing on as tenants, and revenues are growing fast, expected to top $2.3 billion this year.

WeWork last year bought the iconic Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which is being transformed into the company's new headquarters. That deal was made possible in part by a recent $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank, the Japanese technology group led by the enigmatic billionaire Masayoshi Son.

Already the company has started WeLive, its residential offering, and Rise, its gym. It acquired Meetup, the social network that facilitates in-person gatherings, and the Flatiron School, a coding academy. Still to come: WeGrow, the company's for-profit elementary school, set to open in September. WeWork has even invested in plans to create giant wave pools for inland surfing.

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As WeWork expands in all directions, it faces persistent questions about its rich valuation and the durability of its business model. Critics argue that the company does little more than corporate real estate arbitrage -- leasing a space, spiffing it up, then subleasing it out to other tenants. The company owns hardly any properties, giving it precious few hard assets. Its growth projections strike many as unattainable, and it has missed expectations before. A number of upstarts loom as potential competitors, seeking to replicate WeWork's success. And many WeWork tenants are unproven start-ups that could quickly fold.

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IWG, a publicly traded co-working company that has more members and more real estate than WeWork, is valued at just $2 billion. Yet Mr. Neumann has convinced investors that WeWork is worth 10 times that figure.

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Indeed, to assess WeWork by conventional metrics is to miss the point, according to Mr. Neumann. WeWork isn't really a real estate company. It's a state of consciousness, he argues, a generation of interconnected emotionally intelligent entrepreneurs. And Mr. Neumann, with his combination of inspiration and chutzpah, wants to transform not just the way we work and live, but the very world we live in.

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iehi-feed-63639 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 02:28:35 GMT Winn-Dixie and Tops Owners Are Said to Prepare for Bankruptcy http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-17_WinnDixieandTopsOwnersAreSaidtoPrepareforBankruptcy.html As part of the upheaval, Bi-Lo is planning to shut almost 200 stores -- either before or after its filing -- one person said. The business, which went bankrupt in previous incarnations in 2005 and 2009, may still find a way to restructure its debt out of court.

Bi-Lo is laboring under more than $1 billion in debt following its 2005 buyout by Lone Star Funds. The company and its creditors have held talks to discuss a possible debt-to-equity swap, as well as alternatives such as asset sales, Bloomberg reported last year.

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Tops was founded by Italian immigrant Ferrante Castellani, who opened its first store almost a century ago in Niagara Falls. The Williamsville, New York-based chain runs about 170 grocery stores with more than 14,000 employees in the Northeast, according to regulatory filings last year.

Buyouts by Morgan Stanley -- and later by the company's own managers -- left Tops straining to keep up with debt payments. And the industry's intense competition made it hard to offset the burden by raising prices.

Another blow to sales came when the U.S. government cut food-stamp subsidies, whose users contribute about 10 percent of annual revenue. Since then, the Trump administration has contemplated even more reductions.

Morgan Stanley Private Equity bought Tops from Dutch retailer Koninklijke Ahold NV in 2007 for $310 million. Tops expanded quickly under its new owner, from 71 outlets in 2007 to more than 150 by 2013, and operating results initially improved.

But same-store sales began to stall, and debt was used to help finance at least $375 million in dividends for its private-equity owners. Management bought out Morgan Stanley in 2013 through another leveraged transaction.

At Bi-Lo, Lone Star piped in $150 million when the grocer exited Chapter 11 the first time, and invested $275 million to help fund the purchase of Winn-Dixie in 2012. But it probably will still come out ahead, having paid itself at least $800 million since 2012, along with management fees it's collected, according to regulatory filings.

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iehi-feed-63638 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 01:00:19 GMT China Warns It May Retaliate If U.S. Imposes Metal Tariffs http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-17_ChinaWarnsItMayRetaliateIfUSImposesMetalTariffs.html China said proposed U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products are groundless and that it reserves the right to retaliate if they are imposed.

The U.S. recommendations, unveiled by the Commerce Department on Friday, aren't consistent with the facts, Wang Hejun, chief of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at China's Ministry of Commerce, said in a statement posted on its website.

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"If the final decision impacts China's interests, China will certainly take necessary measures to protect its own rights," Wang said.

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Rather than tariffs on all imports, Trump may opt for a more "surgical" approach, Ross suggested at a meeting with lawmakers this week. On steel, for example, the president could go with the recommended option that would levy a tariff of 53 percent on imports from 12 countries -- a list that includes China, Russia, India and South Korea -- but allow exemptions for allies such as Japan, Germany and Canada.

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iehi-feed-63637 Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:32:37 GMT Telegram has raised an initial $850M for its billion-dollar ICO... Before the ICO http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-17_Telegramhasraisedaninitial850MforitsbilliondollarICOBeforetheICO.html This initial sum is most likely the pre-sale stage of the ICO which, as TechCrunch reported on extensively and in detail last month, was targeted at venture capital firms and top figures in the investment community who were given deep discounts to buy Telegram's Gram token. The pre-sale was originally targeted at raising $600 million, but demand pushed the figure up to $850 million, according to a Bloomberg report.

Telegram initially planned to raise a further $600 million to develop its TON project via a public sale that starts in March, according to documents seen by TechCrunch, but it remains to be seen whether that figure will be adjusted. Bloomberg previously suggested the public sale component would expand to $1.15 billion, bringing the total raised to nearly $2 billion if successful.

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iehi-feed-63636 Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:48:58 GMT FL Judicial Candidate Faces Ethical Concerns Over Ties To Loan Mod Scam http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-16_FLJudicialCandidateFacesEthicalConcernsOverTiesToLoanModScam.html iehi-feed-63635 Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:18:17 GMT Second Federal Appeals Court, Ruling Against Travel Ban 3.0, Just Said Trump's Tweets Show He's An Anti-Muslim Bigot http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-15_SecondFederalAppealsCourtRulingAgainstTravelBan30JustSaidTrumpsT.html In a 9-4 ruling, the [4th circuit] federal appeals court held that the third version of Trump's travel ban ― which limited visitors from six majority-Muslim countries as well as two other nations ― was likely unconstitutional. It was the second federal appeals court to find that Trump's third travel ban was likely unconstitutional, but both rulings have been put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the matter this spring.

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While Trump could have "removed the taint of his prior troubling statements," he hasn't, the court said. "In fact, instead of taking any actions to cure the ‘taint' that we found infected [the second executive order laying out a travel ban], President Trump continued to disparage Muslims and the Islamic faith," it said.

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iehi-feed-63634 Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:15:06 GMT Donald Trump 'Strongly' Favors Imposing Online Sales Tax, Mnuchin Says http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-15_DonaldTrumpStronglyFavorsImposingOnlineSalesTaxMnuchinSays.html President Donald Trump "feels strongly" that the U.S. should impose a sales tax on purchases made over the Internet, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday.

Mnuchin, speaking at a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, said he has spoken personally with Trump about the issue, and that the president "does feel strongly" that the tax should be applied.

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Amazon began collecting sales taxes on purchases in all states that levy them earlier last year, despite an exemption that allows online retailers to avoid collecting them in places where they don't have a physical presence. But Amazon still avoids charging shoppers sales taxes when they buy from one of its third-party vendors -- sales that make up about half the company's volume... The Supreme Court [has] said states couldn't require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes from consumers unless those retailers had a physical presence -- through branches, warehouses or employees -- where the consumers were located.

Kind of ironic that just to "get" Jeff Bezos, Trump would essentially negate the meagre value of the tax cuts he endorsed on the non-wealthy...

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iehi-feed-63633 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:10:24 GMT Terrified of Bitcoin, banks forced to innovate for the first time in 40+ years http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-14_TerrifiedofBitcoinbanksforcedtoinnovateforthefirsttimein40years.html The rapid rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies proved to the banking system that it's possible to conduct real-time [or near-real-time] transactions, and not have to wait 2-5 days for a payment to clear.

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When the CEO of the company launching RTP in the US announced the platform, he admitted that the "RTP system will be the first new payments system in the U.S. in more than 40 years."

That's utterly pathetic. The Internet has been around for 25 years. Even PayPal is nearly 20 years old.

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iehi-feed-63632 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:09:12 GMT Rumored-Struggling HNA Group of China sells Upper East Side NYC mansion for $90M http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-14_RumoredStrugglingHNAGroupofChinasellsUpperEastSideNYCmansionfor9.html HNA bought the 18,860-square-foot mansion at 19 East 64th Street from art heir David Wildenstein in April 2017 for $79.5 million and planned to use it as an office. The company funded the deal with a $50 million mortgage from Ullico.

Bloomberg recently reported that HNA plans to sell $4 billion worth of U.S. properties to help pay off its mounting debt. That includes office tower 245 Park Avenue, which the company bought for $2.2 billion in May.

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iehi-feed-63631 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:06:57 GMT The 'winning' continues as Walmart announces another massive round of layoffs http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-14_ThewinningcontinuesasWalmartannouncesanothermassiveroundoflayoff.html iehi-feed-63630 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 21:12:21 GMT Rumors Grow that the U.S. Fed is Propping Up the Stock Market http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-14_RumorsGrowthattheUSFedisProppingUptheStockMarket.html According to a research report released last week by BNY Mellon in collaboration with the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, 39 percent of central banks surveyed are now investing in stocks and 72 percent "reported use of derivatives as part of their investment management activities." It is likely that interest rate swaps are the more common derivatives being used by central banks. However, S&P 500 futures contracts are also derivatives and would be the most efficient means of propping up stock prices and/or leveraging a directional bet in stocks.

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There are many fundamental reasons to distrust central banks meddling in what are supposed to be free markets. For one thing, U.S. securities laws and regulators are not set up to police central banks. But more importantly, with the power to create money out of thin air, what is to stop central banks from effectively becoming the stock market, killing off its very reason for existing: as a reliable pricing mechanism. Just as the central bank of Japan has boosted its stock market with a $50 billion a year stock purchase program and Switzerland and Israel keep ratcheting up the percentage of reserves they are committing to stocks, the central banks may have doomed themselves and the stock market by failing to address the most crucial part of this strategy: an exit plan.

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iehi-feed-63629 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:14:20 GMT Top ICE Lawyer Busted For Stealing Immigrants' Identities http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-14_TopICELawyerBustedForStealingImmigrantsIdentities.html iehi-feed-63628 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 23:20:08 GMT Hello, it's the IRS calling -- or is it? http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-13_HelloitstheIRScallingorisit.html Potential victims usually are told they owe money that must be paid immediately via prepaid debit card, wire transfer or gift card. If people resist, they're threatened with suspension of their driver's license, deportation, a lawsuit or arrest.

It can scare the heck out of people. And they panic, instead of taking the next logical step, which is to contact the IRS directly (800-829-1040) to confirm the debt.

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