Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us 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-63626 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 23:13:42 GMT VIX, a gauge of volatility, is being manipulated, whistleblower claims http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-13_VIXagaugeofvolatilityisbeingmanipulatedwhistleblowerclaims.html The whistleblower, who has held senior investment positions at many of the world's largest investment firms, through a letter sent by a Washington-based law firm, urged the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission "to promptly investigate the matter before investors suffer additional losses due to this fraud." 

In the letter, the whistleblower alleges that market manipulators are costing investors hundreds of millions of dollars each month by taking advantage of a "pervasive flaw" in options exchange trading at Cboe Global Markets in Chicago. The flaw "allows trading firms with sophisticated algorithms to move the VIX up or down by simply posting quotes on S&P options and without needing to physically engage in any trading or deploying any capital," the whistleblower claims.

The whistleblower alleged that the recent market turmoil was partly driven by the scheme and "confirms the fraud and exposes the systemic risk to the entire equity market."

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iehi-feed-63602 Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:54:00 GMT Dow falls 192 points as stocks resume Friday's ugly sell-off http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-05_Dowfalls192pointsasstocksresumeFridaysuglyselloff.html iehi-feed-63601 Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:52:58 GMT Inflation warning: The US stock market meltdown is spreading across Asia and Europe as bond yields climb http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-05_InflationwarningTheUSstockmarketmeltdownisspreadingacrossAsiaand.html iehi-feed-63600 Sun, 04 Feb 2018 19:01:43 GMT UK's Royal Mint Launches Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-02-04_UKsRoyalMintLaunchesGoldBackedCryptocurrency.html The UK's Royal Mint, the institution responsible for producing all the physical money the country has for circulation, has announced the launch of its own gold-backed cryptocurrency.

The Blockchain-based coin, called Royal Mint Gold (RMG), is a digital representation of gold stored in The Royal Mint vault.

The Royal Mint Bullion, the Royal Mint company that sells physical gold, is the first company to allow customers to hold gold-backed assets on Blockchain, Tom Coghill, RMG's Commercial Lead, stated in an interview with Express.co.uk. Coghill also mentioned that one RMG coin is equal to one gram of gold, adding that "it's real gold you're holding when you're holding our RMG."

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iehi-feed-63581 Wed, 31 Jan 2018 02:10:52 GMT You have been lied to about inflation and here is the proof http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-30_Youhavebeenliedtoaboutinflationandhereistheproof.html iehi-feed-63575 Mon, 29 Jan 2018 23:03:17 GMT These Are The 6 Traders Who Were Just Arrested For Manipulating The Gold Market http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-29_TheseAreThe6TradersWhoWereJustArrestedForManipulatingTheGoldMark.html iehi-feed-63548 Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:13:18 GMT Catalonia's Puigdemont Is Put Forth For President, Despite New Calls For Arrest http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-22_CataloniasPuigdemontIsPutForthForPresidentDespiteNewCallsForArre.html The leader of Catalonia's parliament has nominated Carles Puigdemont to a new term as president, adding another twist in the story of the separatist leader who was ousted from power by Spain last year.

The move comes as Spain's Supreme Court rejects prosecutors' call to renew a European arrest warrant against Puigdemont. Prosecutors were calling for Puigdemont to be arrested in Denmark, where he traveled on Monday.

Puigdemont left Spain and took refuge in Belgium last fall, facing the threat of arrest over his efforts to make Catalonia independent. Spain rescinded its European arrest warrant against him in December, when it became clear Belgian authorities would not cooperate.

An arrest warrant for Puigdemont was just refused.

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iehi-feed-63547 Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:23:36 GMT Amazon Mothership's Inventory Dictates Leave Whole Foods Store Shelves Bare http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-21_AmazonMothershipsInventoryDictatesLeaveWholeFoodsStoreShelvesBar.html A new corporate-mandated inventory system has left shelves -- sometimes even entire aisles -- barren at Whole Foods stores across the U.S.

Customers and employees alike are troubled by food shortages at the organic grocer, caused primarily by cost-saving stocking procedures to which managers are strictly adhering, Business Insider reported this week.

The system is called "order-to-shelf," or OTS, and involves taking products straight from delivery trucks to the aisles, Business Insider says. The intent of OTS is to cut costs and reduce wasted product, but the result is that stock runs out and is not quickly replaced, angering some customers.

A review of Whole Foods Market Inc. internal documents obtained by Business Insider also found rules preventing employees from covering up gaps with other inventory, keeping those shelves looking especially empty -- and store managers can be penalized if they break this rule.

Can't have the "waste" of having any inventory in the back...

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iehi-feed-63537 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:01:32 GMT Jeddah Tower, the world's next tallest skyscraper, set to open in Saudi Arabia http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-19_JeddahTowertheworldsnexttallestskyscrapersettoopeninSaudiArabia.html When the 3,280-feet-tall (1,000-meter-tall) Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, opens in 2020, it will knock Dubai's iconic Burj Khalifa off its throne as the tallest skyscraper in the world by 236 feet (72 meters). Construction of the landmark is estimated to cost $1.4 billion... While today the site is surrounded by desert, upon completion the tower will be the center of the Jeddah Economic City development... Jeddah Tower's construction fits into Saudi Vision 2030, a government plan that aims to diversify the economy in the kingdom and reduce its dependence on oil...

But the project hasn't been smooth sailing. There have been various delays since construction began in 2013. Since November 2017, two of the project's most prominent backers -- Saudi Arabia's Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prolific investor and businessman, and Bakr Bin Laden, chairman of Jeddah Tower's construction company Bin Laden Group -- have been caught up in the kingdom's anti-corruption purge, which saw hundreds questioned on accusations of corruption.

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iehi-feed-63529 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:14:28 GMT BP says Deepwater disaster will cost another $1.7bln http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-16_BPsaysDeepwaterdisasterwillcostanother17bln.html The London-based company will record a new $1.7 billion charge in the fourth quarter of 2017 and pay $1 billion of that bill in 2018, it said in a statement Tuesday. The remainder will be distributed over a number of years.

"With the claims facility's work very nearly done, we now have better visibility into the remaining liability," Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said in the statement. "The charge we are taking as a result is fully manageable within our existing financial framework, especially now that we have the company back into balance at $50 per barrel."

The latest charge will cover payments to business owners in the area, BP said. The company's spill-related payouts will rise to $3 billion in 2018 from an earlier estimate of $2 billion, while those for 2017 will remain at $5.5 billion.

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The company agreed to settle all claims with the U.S. federal and state governments in a $21 billion agreement in 2015, removing a major chunk of risks related to the deadly accident and allowing Dudley to grow the company again. BP had at that time agreed to make the payments over about two decades, softening the blow on its balance sheet.

The company has said it will pay for the spill with money raised from asset sales. The higher 2018 payout means it will need to raise its divestment program for the year, according to Oswald Clint, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.

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iehi-feed-63513 Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:36:22 GMT Dept. Commerce finishes probe on steel imports; Is mum on findings http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-12_DeptCommercefinishesprobeonsteelimportsIsmumonfindings.html The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday it had completed its probe into whether imports of certain steel products threatened U.S. national security and sent its conclusions to President Donald Trump. In a statement that offered no indication of the investigation's findings, the Commerce Department said Trump now has 90 days to decide "on any potential action."

The probe could lead to broad tariffs or import quotas.

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In August, senior executives from 25 U.S. steel and steel-related companies sent a letter to Trump asking for immediate import restrictions. The executives from companies including Nucor, U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal and Commercial Metals said the sustained surge of steel imports into the United States had "hollowed out" much of the domestic steel industry and was threatening its ability to meet national security needs.

Critics charge that using national security to erect steel tariffs could trigger a trade war with China, undermine the global rules-based trading system and hurt U.S. allies more than China and damage global growth prospects.

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iehi-feed-63507 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:43:05 GMT China moves to shutter bitcoin mines http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-11_Chinamovestoshutterbitcoinmines.html

China is moving to eradicate the country's bitcoin mining industry over concerns about excessive electricity consumption and financial risk, reflecting authorities' judgment that cryptocurrencies are not a strategic industry.

A multi-agency task force has instructed provincial governments to "actively guide" companies in their respective regions to exit the cryptocurrency mining industry, according to a document seen by the Financial Times. The move to pressure miners follows China's shutdown of local bitcoin exchanges and its ban on initial coin offerings.

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Many bitcoin miners have established operations in remote areas without even registering a company. Some have also skirted Chinese regulations that forbid end users from purchasing electricity directly from power producers rather than grid operators.

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Bitcoin mining "consumes a large amount of electricity and also encourages a spirit of speculation in 'virtual currencies'", according to the document. Mining operations contradict efforts to prevent financial risk and to discourage activities that "deviate from the needs of the real economy", it added.

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The order does not call on regional authorities to shut mining operations directly, but rather to squeeze them out by strictly enforcing policies on electricity consumption, land use, tax collection and environmental regulation.

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Chinese miners are now seeking ways to transfer their operations abroad, either by physically moving factories or selling their expertise. Cheap electricity and a cool climate, which helps prevent computers from overheating, are the main requirements. Canada, Iceland, eastern Europe and Russia are seen as the most promising destinations.

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iehi-feed-63501 Wed, 10 Jan 2018 22:46:11 GMT New York City sues Shell, ExxonMobil, and other oil majors over climate change http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-10_NewYorkCitysuesShellExxonMobilandotheroilmajorsoverclimatechange.html The New York City government is suing the world's five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damages to the city from climate change.

The suit, filed Tuesday against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 percent of all of global warming gases through the oil and gas products they have sold over the years. It also charges that the companies and the industry of which they are part have known for some time about the consequences but sought to obscure them.

"In this litigation, the City seeks to shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat," says the lawsuit brought by New York corporation counsel Zachary Carter, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

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The legal strategy has been already embraced by several California cities and counties, but prior suits seeking to blame companies for their role in causing climate change have floundered.

It remains unclear whether a new wave of litigation -- propelled by stronger climate science, reports about how much some companies knew about climate change decades ago, and somewhat divergent legal strategy -- will succeed where those efforts failed.

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Several prior cases challenging individual companies based on a public nuisance theory failed -- including at the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2011 that climate action by the Environmental Protection Agency in effect removed the ability to use the courts as a remedy.

But the difference now, Burger said, is that the claims are being brought under state, rather than federal, common law -- and that strategy remains to be tested.

Looks like we might actually get a full case on whether CO_2 causes climate change... frankly, it's long past time this was tried in court!

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iehi-feed-63494 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:40:15 GMT Trump-appointed regulators reject plan to boost coal and nuclear plants http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-09_Trumpappointedregulatorsrejectplantoboostcoalandnuclearplants.html "The law and common sense prevailed over special interests today," John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project Coalition, said in a statement. "The FERC correctly found that the Department of Energy's proposal violated the basic requirements of the Federal Power Act. Secretary Perry's plan would have subsidized coal and nuclear plants with a 90-day fuel supply yet Perry never explained why those plants were inherently more reliable or resilient."

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Perry had argued that coal and nuclear power plants would fare better in extreme weather such as the polar vortex that gripped large parts of the nation just four years ago. Yet opponents of Perry's plan said the current bout of extreme cold undercut Perry's argument as regional grids had excess power on hand and many power plants switched from natural gas to oil largely because of cheaper prices. One of the few major outages was the result of a failed transmission line that took a New England nuclear plant offline.

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iehi-feed-63488 Sun, 07 Jan 2018 16:23:27 GMT Iranian protests caused by economic hardships and bank failures http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-07_Iranianprotestscausedbyeconomichardshipsandbankfailures.html The unnamed woman is one of countless Iranians who say their savings have been wiped out by the collapse of fraudulent businesses and unlicensed credit institutions in recent years. Economists are now pointing to the abrupt closure of these poorly regulated institutions as laying the foundation for the unrest that struck Iran starting in late December.

"Banks are shutting down without any kind of notice, and it's creating a huge political and economic backlash at a local level," said Suzanne Maloney, senior fellow on Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution.

Anger over these losses came on top of years of pent-up frustration over a sluggish economy. When the government announced recent price increases and released an austere budget bill, it ignited at-times violent protests that spread rapidly to dozens of cities nationwide. Demonstrators quickly turned their fury on corrupt officials and the Islamic republic as a whole.

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"Most protests in Iran are over economic issues," Maloney said. "What's different is that it seems to have tapped into a deep sense of alienation and frustration, that people aren't just demonstrating for better working conditions or pay, but insisting on wholesale rejection of the system itself."

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iehi-feed-63487 Sun, 07 Jan 2018 16:19:48 GMT Royal Handouts Cheer Saudis But Show Struggle to Revamp Economy http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-07_RoyalHandoutsCheerSaudisButShowStruggletoRevampEconomy.html Saudi authorities said they'll spend billions of riyals to help citizens offset the impact of a value-added tax and a surge in gasoline and utility prices, a move that will help ease public discontent while highlighting the kingdom's struggle to overhaul its economy.

King Salman, in a series of royal orders early on Saturday, restored an annual pay raise for Saudi civil servants, suspended as part of attempts to rein in a hefty public-sector wage bill. He ordered a 5,000-riyal ($1,333) bonus for soldiers fighting in Yemen and granted Saudis working for the state an extra 1,000 riyals a month as a "cost of living" allowance for a year. The government will also pay part of the newly introduced VAT.

The measures will likely be cheered by Saudis who took to social media and television to criticize surging prices and the implementation of a 5 percent VAT on a wide array of products as of Jan. 1. Yet they also show how the kingdom's rulers are struggling to find a balance between the need to avoid unrest and take the difficult steps needed to reduce what policy makers and economists see as an unsustainable reliance on oil revenue.

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iehi-feed-63483 Sat, 06 Jan 2018 00:16:27 GMT Sessions' Weed Move May Have Little Effect... or Backfire http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-05_SessionsWeedMoveMayHaveLittleEffectorBackfire.html The Cole memo provided "guidance" for federal prosecutors, but since December 2014, a law has been in effect that blocks the Justice Department from spending resources prosecuting state-legal medical-marijuana businesses. Now known as the Rohrabacher--Blumenauer amendment, for two of legalization's strongest supporters in Congress, it was renewed annually until November 2017, despite Sessions' efforts to kill it. The next question is whether it will be renewed again with the spending bill that needs to pass by Jan. 19 to avoid a government shutdown.

On a conference call with reporters Thursday, a bipartisan group of pro-legalization members of Congress suggested Sessions' move may backfire. Sessions, they said, may have galvanized legalization supporters there to attempt to include recreational as well as medical cannabis businesses in the law. In 2015, such a provision fell slightly short in a 222--206 House vote. If it passed this time, it would cancel out Sessions' decision to rescind the memo.

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iehi-feed-63473 Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:46:23 GMT Sessions will end policy that allowed legalized marijuana to prosper http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-01-04_Sessionswillendpolicythatallowedlegalizedmarijuanatoprosper.html