Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-64053 Sun, 24 Jun 2018 18:26:25 GMT Why the middle class can't afford life in America anymore http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-24_WhythemiddleclasscantaffordlifeinAmericaanymore.html "Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago," Quart writes, citing the costs of housing, education, health care and child care in particular. "In some cases the cost of daily life over the last 20 years has doubled."

In one of her book's many striking findings, Quart writes that according to a Pew study, "Before the 2008 crash, only one-quarter of Americans viewed themselves as lower class or lower-middle class. No longer. After the recession of 2008 . . . a full 40 percent of Americans viewed themselves as being at the bottom of the pyramid."

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"In Montreal," where day care is government subsidized, it costs "$7 to $20 a day. That makes a huge difference for families." Figured annually for 50 weeks a year, five days a week, people in Montreal pay $1,750 to $5,000 per year on child care.

By comparison, Quart says that here, "many of the families I spoke to, who were ostensibly middle class, were spending around 20 to 30 percent of their income on day care." Annual averages in the US range from "$10,468 for a center-based child-care program to $28,905 for a nanny."

Problem with the U.S. is health, child care, and education, have exploded with inflation (i.e., most of inflation that occurs in the economy) because of lack of constraints in the cost structure (As well as counter-productive government subsidies). Yet, all these things are included in government public spending in most developed countries. At this point, probably the only way to reverse the trend without leaving large chunks of the population out in the cold is to provide a full public option for all of these areas, with aggressive cost control, but means-tested. This would then separate out the private sector so it can be more efficient, and costs would go down generally, because both the public and private subsectors would predominate towards pro-efficiency incentives (provided the details aren't mucked up, of course).

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iehi-feed-64051 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 22:34:53 GMT China Just Handed the World a 111-Million-Ton Trash Problem http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-22_ChinaJustHandedtheWorlda111MillionTonTrashProblem.html By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of used plastic will need to be buried or recycled somewhere else--or not manufactured at all. That's the conclusion of a new analysis of UN global trade data by University of Georgia researchers.

Everyone's bottles, bags and food packages add up. Factories have churned out a cumulative 8.3 billion metric tons of new plastic as of 2017

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The world's plastic problem has been building for decades. Since mass production began in the early 1950s, annual output has grown from about 2 million tons to 322 million produced in 2015, the authors said. Current production rates are exceeding our ability to dispose of the stuff effectively--and supply is expected only to grow. "Without bold new ideas and management strategies, current recycling rates will no longer be met, and ambitious goals and timelines for future recycling growth will be insurmountable," they wrote.

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As the industry matured and the negative effects on public health and the environment became clear, China got more selective about the materials it was willing to buy. A "Green Fence" law enacted in 2013 kept out materials mixed with food, metals or other contaminants. Exports consequently dropped off from 2012 to 2013, a trend that continued until last year, when the world's biggest buyer warned that its scrap plastic purchases would stop altogether.

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iehi-feed-64050 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 22:29:06 GMT Federal judge rules that CFPB's structure is unconstitutional, but question remains clouded http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-22_FederaljudgerulesthatCFPBsstructureisunconstitutionalbutquestion.html The immediate effect of the ruling appears to be limited. It means the CFPB can't be party to a lawsuit about a company accused of scamming 9/11 first responders. The New York attorney general, who was also a plaintiff, can move forward with the case.

But the judge's decision adds fodder to the political fight over the independence of the CFPB, which was established after the financial crisis to safeguard Americans against predatory financial institutions.

The CFPB declined to comment.

The American Bankers Association, which has advocated for reining in the CFPB, said the implications of the decision "remain unclear," because other federal courts have ruled differently.

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iehi-feed-64048 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 17:19:11 GMT Fed Rate Cuts and QE Will Resume Soon http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-22_FedRateCutsandQEWillResumeSoon.html Those who have openly subscribed in recent months to the robust-growth and higher-rates view include JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon[marketwatch.com] and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, and investors Paul Tudor Jones and Jeffrey Gundlach. There are many others.

In my view, this widely held wisdom is based on a profound misreading of economic and political reality and trends in the U.S. and around the world. I believe that a looming global recession and fear of deflation will lead the Fed to cut rates instead and reinstate quantitative easing, or QE, causing U.S. bond yields to fall.

First, it is important to understand that the 2008 financial crisis was never resolved. Aggressive fiscal- and monetary-policy tools--extremely low rates and multitrillion-dollar bond-buying programs--helped contain the crisis. But they didn't fix the problem. The global economy has been stabilized, but fundamental weaknesses remain.

An economic reckoning may surface as soon as the next few months.

In the U.S., second-quarter economic data look strong. But that is misleading. There are plenty of indications of weakness, including slowing sales of cars and houses, and a decline in mortgage refinancing. The cumulative effect of interest-rate hikes, frozen levels of real income, and rising oil prices will also weigh on the public's buying power.

In the corporate sphere, the boom in stock buybacks, which in May reached an astounding $174 billion, comes directly at the expense of capital investment that would boost economic growth. A potential global trade war is also detrimental; the U.S. dollar's weakness in 2017, combined with reinvigorated economies throughout the world, contributed immensely to U.S. exports...

June's interest-rate hike was most likely the last in the current cycle. The next major move by the Fed could be to lower rates, followed by more QE. The realization that this is happening will bring about a dramatic change in investors' views and will return U.S. bond yields to the 1.5%-2% level. The development, I believe, will be rapid and surprise a financial system dramatically underweight long-term bonds.

As we say, "happy times are here again" -- almost nonstop since 2009. So this editorial is bold call -- but it has really been a "bipolar" economy since the 2008 crisis; with every person able to see whatever they want to see in the mixed data... at some point, a clear trend will likely manifest...

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iehi-feed-64046 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 04:37:37 GMT Supreme Court decision to allow more online sales tax worries Main Street http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-22_SupremeCourtdecisiontoallowmoreonlinesalestaxworriesMainStreet.html The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states now have the power to force online retailers to collect sales tax in states where they do not have a physical presence, reversing a ruling from 1992 in a 5-4 decision. The move also revives a 2016 South Dakota law that required large, out-of-state e-commerce companies to collect sales tax, one that big e-commerce players fought. Some online retailers, such as Amazon.com, currently collect state sales tax on products they directly sell but do not collect taxes from many of the independent sellers on the site.

The decision removes the sales-tax savings that consumers could reap by making purchases online instead of buying from local brick-and-mortar shops. Although the move does help to level the playing field for physical small businesses, it also places new burdens on small online retailers.

Some small business groups argue the decision will be burdensome and add to an already confusing tax structure. The nonpartisan Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council said the ruling will add stress for small businesses, the marketplace and internet entrepreneurs.

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"The fact that small businesses must now act as tax collectors for thousands of separate state and local [jurisdictions] is outrageous."... "Unfortunately, this ruling makes sweeping changes to sales tax law, but provides nothing in the form of easing complexity and/or streamlining each states' processes."

The Supreme Court should have required some mitigating factor (such as the tax-collecting ability being based on having a certain amount of business in the state) to mitigate the Dormant Commerce Clause concerns. Now they've gone completely in the other direction purely out of apparent concerns for the big guys "getting away with it".

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iehi-feed-64044 Wed, 20 Jun 2018 00:48:06 GMT Combined wealth of the world's millionaires tops $70 trillion http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-19_Combinedwealthoftheworldsmillionairestops70trillion.html The world's millionaires saw their wealth grow 10.6 percent to a record $70.2 trillion, the global consulting firm Capgemini reports in its annual World Wealth Report 2018.

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) -- which Capgemini defines as those having investable assets of $1 million or more (excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables) --  grew almost 10 percent, or 1.6 million, to 18.1 million in 2017.  

"High net worth individuals around the world enjoyed investment returns above 20 percent for the second year in a row," Anirban Bose, head of Capgemini's financial services global strategic business unit, said in a statement. The report's analysis confirms that "global HNWI wealth would exceed $100 trillion by 2025," Bose wrote

Sounds reaaaal sustainable...

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iehi-feed-64043 Wed, 20 Jun 2018 00:43:37 GMT Beijing has tactics besides just tariffs to hurt the U.S. in a trade war http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-19_BeijinghastacticsbesidesjusttariffstohurttheUSinatradewar.html "It's true that the base on which they can put on additional tariffs is much narrow than the U.S.," said Ludovic Subran, global head of macroeconomic research at Allianz and chief economist at Euler Hermes.

But Subran and other international trade experts warn not to count China out too quickly.

"The first thing to observe here is that China is not a country of laws -- it's an authoritarian dictatorship... so from that opening point, China is potentially able to play much, much dirtier than the United States," said Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who warned that American businesses could take the punishment for Trump's antagonism.

"He will essentially force the Chinese government to retaliate in other ways -- and those other ways can be much more costly to American firms," he said. "That belief is premised on a fundamentally erroneous assumption about how the modern economy works... and a lack of concern with how engaged American businesses are involved already in China."

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iehi-feed-64038 Mon, 18 Jun 2018 19:00:38 GMT Debt Clock Ticking | Mauldin http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-18_DebtClockTickingMauldin.html Moody's has issued a statement that CMBS loans are now almost as risky as in 2007 because 75% of them are interest only, and the interest only period is now 6 years, up from 2.2 years just a few years ago. In addition, they are becoming much more covenant light, and are at higher leverage. All of this is a red flag since these things create much more risk of serious problems when the recession hits. There is also a bigger concentration of single tenant properties, which, as we have seen in retail, can be deadly in a recession. Asset and sponsor quality is also deteriorating. There is now so much competition to put out loans by so many non-bank sources, that borrowers can get lenders to compete, which always means lower quality underwriting. Far too much capital chasing too few good deals.

Underwriting is not nearly as bad as in 2006--2007 yet, but it appears the trend is what it always has been, when the economy is strong and there is too much capital, underwriting standards fall down, and then the stage is set for a bad outcome when the economy goes bad. It is typically 10--12 years between collapse of the last crash and then credit quality deterioration and the next credit collapse. We are at 10 years. Dodd Frank had rules to try to avoid a replay of 2008 in CMBS, but a lot of loans now are made by private equity funds that are not subject to these regulations.

One thing that is immutable is that as each generation comes into Wall Street, they think they know better how to do it, and they eventually do the same dumb loans in pursuit of profits and bonuses. It has never been different. We are not about to have a major crash again, but CMBS loan quality is deteriorating now, and one day in the next 2--3 years, it will be a bad problem. When they start doing a lot of CDOs and virtual CMBS pools with derivatives, then that is a sure sign the end is near.

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iehi-feed-64035 Sun, 17 Jun 2018 18:34:06 GMT Trade Acrimony With Canada -- Yes, It Can Flare Up Into Full-Scale Trade War http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-17_TradeAcrimonyWithCanadaYesItCanFlareUpIntoFullScaleTradeWar.html iehi-feed-64034 Sun, 17 Jun 2018 18:30:57 GMT Venezuela Orders Government Services to Accept Any Cryptocurrency http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-17_VenezuelaOrdersGovernmentServicestoAcceptAnyCryptocurrency.html iehi-feed-64031 Sat, 16 Jun 2018 14:51:46 GMT Here's how the ECB just breathed new life into the dollar rally, analysts say http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-16_HereshowtheECBjustbreathednewlifeintothedollarrallyanalystssay.html By guaranteeing that it will sit on its hands for at least a year when it comes to raising interest rates, the European Central Bank sank the euro Thursday and potentially gave the dollar fuel for a long-running rally, analysts said.

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And this might just be the opening act for a theme that could endure for at least 12 months. While the Fed is expected to deliver up to two more rate increases in 2018 and further hikes next year, the ECB just ensured it won't move until the latter half of next year at the earliest.

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iehi-feed-64030 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 23:18:43 GMT Why the Fed Tweaked an Obscure Interest Rate This Week http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_WhytheFedTweakedanObscureInterestRateThisWeek.html The interest rate on excess reserves plays a supporting role to the fed funds rate in monetary policy. Previously, the Fed set the interest rate on excess reserves at the same level as the top of the- fed funds rate. But on Wednesday the Fed said the interest rate on excess reserves would now be set 0.05 percentage point below the top of the range. As a result, the interest rate on excess reserves is now 1.95 percent... recent developments in the fed funds market prompted the Fed to make its change.

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The government has recently been issuing a lot more debt to finance its deficit, much of it in the form of Treasury bills that are sold to investors. But to find sufficient buyers, the Treasury has had to pay higher rates on Treasury bills. This helped attract money out of the federal funds market into Treasury bills, and in turn that caused the fed funds rate to move higher and closer to the top of its range.

This caught the Fed's eye. The central bank, according to analysts, wants to avoid a situation in which the fed funds rate moves above the Fed's target range. "The Fed doesn't want anyone in the market to think it's not in control of overnight rates," Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, said. "It might worry some people if it went above the upper band''

Seems like the Fed doesn't have a clue how this post-2008 jalopy of a monetary system works...

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iehi-feed-64029 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 23:05:55 GMT The court's decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge is ridiculously bad http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_ThecourtsdecisiontoletATTandTimeWarnermergeisridiculouslybad.html The decision surprised almost everyone -- not necessarily that AT&T and Time Warner had won, but that Judge Leon allowed the merger to go through with no conditions or prohibitions on their behavior at all. In fact, Judge Leon's opinion seems downright excited for the two companies, while systematically discounting the government's case at every turn. Honestly, it's a little strange.

... from the jump, it's pretty clear Judge Leon thinks AT&T's ideas about the future of content are pretty good, while the DOJ's complaints about antitrust are pretty boring...

In a country where net neutrality has just been repealed, owning the internet connection is a huge advantage, just like owning the cable network would be. All of this is, of course, extremely obvious to anyone who has used a phone to watch anything in the past decade. It's not clear how Judge Leon thinks any of this actually works, or if he realizes AT&T is the country's largest wireless internet provider...

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iehi-feed-64028 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:56:54 GMT Cryptocurrency Manipulation Study Is Underwhelming http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_CryptocurrencyManipulationStudyIsUnderwhelming.html iehi-feed-64027 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:50:24 GMT Citibank fined $100 million for LIBOR manipulation http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_Citibankfined100millionforLIBORmanipulation.html The bank settled with attorneys general in 42 states for $100 million. Following an investigation, the states said Citibank manipulated Libor, a benchmark interest rate that helps set lending rates across the world.

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This is the third bank that settled with state attorneys general for illegally influencing the Libor. Barclays, Deutsche Bank and now Citibank have been fined $420 million collectively.

Citibank agreed to comply with ongoing investigations into other banks' Libor cases.

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iehi-feed-64026 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:49:11 GMT Tesla short-sellers have been getting creamed; why they're still betting against Elon Musk anyway http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_Teslashortsellershavebeengettingcreamedwhytheyrestillbettingagai.html Musk has maintained that Tesla does not need to raise equity or new lines of credit this year. But Goldman Sachs predicted Tesla will need to raise $10 billion by 2020 to keep going.

Darius Brawn, a hedge fund veteran who previously worked as a portfolio manager for SAC and Citadel, told CNBC he thinks $10 billion is a conservative estimate. He cites Tesla's plans to ramp up its Model 3 production, build new factories, make a new Roadster, Semi trucks and a Model Y vehicle, and to embark on large-scale production of its glass solar roof tiles.

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Brawn, who has shorted Tesla personally, points out that it's highly unusual for a growth company to cut its planned investment spending, as Tesla did last quarter from $3.4 billion to under $3 billion... Without raising additional capital, Brawn said, the electric vehicle maker has enough cash to last for only a few quarters.

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"I do not believe Wall Street investment banks are willing take the massive reputational, legal and financial risks associated with underwriting billions of dollars of new securities for [Tesla]" [Said Gabe Hoffman].

He and other bears also believe Tesla may not even be able to conduct an equity offering because of the existence of an undisclosed, and ongoing, enforcement action by the SEC. This action was discovered through FOIA research

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iehi-feed-64025 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:43:58 GMT Wall St ends high-volume session lower on trade jitters http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_WallStendshighvolumesessionlowerontradejitters.html iehi-feed-64023 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 14:10:12 GMT Trump Hits China With Tariffs On $50 Billion Of Goods; China Says It Will Retaliate http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-15_TrumpHitsChinaWithTariffsOn50BillionOfGoodsChinaSaysItWillRetali.html iehi-feed-64022 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:51:12 GMT Why the World's Most Expensive City Is Running to Bitcoin http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-14_WhytheWorldsMostExpensiveCityIsRunningtoBitcoin.html On Monday, the National Assembly said that inflation in Venezuela is now running at nearly 24,600% per year... [and] bitcoin trading volume in Venezuela has exploded, up 211% this year alone.

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Venezuela could emerge as the first country where a cryptocurrency effectively replaces a government-controlled paper currency. And that would encourage other people around the world to also seek shelter in bitcoin.

... [but] Venezuela isn't the only country with major money problems.Just look at Argentina. Last year, its official inflation rate hit 25%. The year before, it was 37%. This means that everyday goods and services in the country are 71% more expensive than they were at the start of 2016.

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iehi-feed-64021 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:44:25 GMT SEC Official Claims Ether Is Not a Security http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-06-14_SECOfficialClaimsEtherIsNotaSecurity.html