Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-65231 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 02:24:09 GMT Workers at America's largest companies are not covered under coronavirus aid package http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-03-16_WorkersatAmericaslargestcompaniesarenotcoveredundercoronavirusai.html iehi-feed-65195 Fri, 21 Feb 2020 15:36:17 GMT Leaked Mulvaney Recording: "We Don't Really Care About Deficits" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-21_LeakedMulvaneyRecordingWeDontReallyCareAboutDeficits.html The Washington Post obtained a recording of Mulvaney at the Oxford Union, sounding an awful lot like a Daily Kos blogger. "My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House," he said. "The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we're a lot less interested as a party." Until it comes time to wield the deficit as a weapon to cut the safety net, of course.

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He ... made another admission about why Republicans refuse to do anything about climate change, which he implicitly acknowledged as a real thing. "We take the position in my party that asking people to change their lifestyle dramatically, including by paying more taxes, is simply not something we are interested in doing." ... They never have a problem with asking poor people, senior citizens, communities of color or anyone who doesn't vote Republican to change their lifestyle dramatically by not having enough to eat, or a roof, or health care...

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iehi-feed-65188 Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:12:03 GMT Kraft Heinz takes $666 million charge, misses sales expectations (UNCLE WARREN'S LATEST FOLLY CONTINUES) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-14_KraftHeinztakes666millionchargemissessalesexpectationsUNCLEWARRE.html Kraft Heinz's sales have been muted for 14 straight quarters as consumers turn to cheaper private-label brands, online shopping and fashionable, nonprocessed and organic food. Thursday's results mark the one-year anniversary of Kraft Heinz reporting a surprise loss and taking a $15.4 billion writedown of key brands - a move that rocked the consumer goods industry and led to the ousting of former chief executive Bernardo Hees and several other executives.

At the time, the company also slashed its dividend by 36% and disclosed an investigation into its accounting practices by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the year since, Kraft Heinz has announced further writedowns, scrapped its full-year adjusted earnings outlook, and is still under SEC investigation.

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Brazilian private equity firm 3G and billionaire Warren Buffett engineered the merger of H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods in 2015, and since that deal the value of Kraft Heinz's stock has sunk about 60%. Under executives installed by 3G, the company made aggressive cuts using a tool called zero-based budgeting (ZBB) that incentivizes managers to meet strict cost targets - critics say this ate in to investment in brands.

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iehi-feed-65185 Mon, 10 Feb 2020 04:20:48 GMT Real pay data show Trump's 'blue collar boom' is more of a bust for US workers: in 3 charts http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-09_RealpaydatashowTrumpsbluecollarboomismoreofabustforUSworkersin3c.html iehi-feed-65157 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 01:47:36 GMT US-China deal is a disaster, former White House economist says http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-21_USChinadealisadisasterformerWhiteHouseeconomistsays.html "While this deal is great in the sense that it has calmed things, additional tariffs aren't going on, aside from that the deal is essentially a disaster. It doesn't address any of the systemic issues," Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said.

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200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years, as part of the deal. President Donald Trump, who addressed the Davos forum earlier on Tuesday, said the number of purchases could end up closer to $300 billion.

"These are unrealistic numbers, which puts the whole viability of the deal into question," Bown said, adding that the only way to reach these figures is by diverting trade away from other countries, such as soy beans away from Brazil and fish away from Canada.

Among the additional purchases of U.S. goods, China has committed to buy at least $40 billion worth of American farming products. However, a leading commodities expert at Goldman Sachs casted doubts over whether China will manage to do that. Speaking to CNBC earlier this month Jeff Currie said "there is still a lot of uncertainty about how you would achieve $40 (billion) or potentially even $50 billion of agricultural purchases."

Note that in almost every previous, when Trump announced a big "investment" in the US, it either (a) didn't materialize in anywhere near the scale touted, or (b) was simply re-counting some other investment that was already planned or in-process. Thus, this critique is worrying.

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iehi-feed-65155 Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:38:52 GMT What Happened When a State Made Food Stamps Harder to Get http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-17_WhatHappenedWhenaStateMadeFoodStampsHardertoGet.html Four years ago, thousands of poor people here in Cabell County and eight other counties in West Virginia that were affected by a state policy change found themselves having to prove that they were working or training for at least 20 hours a week in order to keep receiving food stamps consistently. In April, under a rule change by the Trump administration, people all over the country who are "able-bodied adults without dependents" will have to do the same.

The policy seems straightforward, but there is nothing straightforward about the reality of the working poor, a daily life of unreliable transportation, erratic work hours and capricious living arrangements.

Still, what has happened in the nine counties in West Virginia in the last four years does offer at least an indication of how it will play out on a larger scale.

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The most visible impact has been at homeless missions and food pantries, which saw a big spike in demand that has never receded. But the policy change was barely noticeable in the work force, where evidence of some large influx of new workers is hard to discern. This reflects similar findings elsewhere, as states have steadily been reinstating work requirements in the years since the recession, when nearly the whole country waived them.

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iehi-feed-65147 Sun, 12 Jan 2020 14:49:00 GMT Retiring Baby Boomers Could Reshape Both Real Estate and Consumer Spending http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-12_RetiringBabyBoomersCouldReshapeBothRealEstateandConsumerSpending.html Boomers control 70% of disposable income in the U.S., according to the report, titled Demographic Shifts: The World In 2030. Though a generation that has had its entire working life span to build wealth should be expected to have the lion's share of such income, 70% is too high a number to be merely cyclical, C&W said. Millennials have so far not been able to keep up with their parents' savings patterns due to flat wages and the explosion of student debt.

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Boomers are expected to take a larger share of overall consumer spending in the next five years, rising to 33% of aggregate spending in the U.S. by 2025, according to a report from Visa's analytics division. The same research projects the percentage of aggregate spending from all younger generations to decline.

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``The one thing that I worry about a little bit is that somewhere around two-thirds to three-quarters of boomers have under-saved for retirement and are going to have no real source of income besides Social Security," Severino said. "So I worry about them being able to spend." 

The two most demographically significant groups of baby boomers then would be the smaller, wealthy cohort that will want luxury versions of whatever travel, leisure, entertainment or retail they pursue and a larger cohort that might have more time than it once did, but no added spending power, Levy said.''

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iehi-feed-65143 Tue, 07 Jan 2020 16:35:43 GMT America's Coal Consumption Entered Free Fall in 2019 http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-07_AmericasCoalConsumptionEnteredFreeFallin2019.html Here's the good news, such as it is, for the climate: American coal consumption plunged last year, reaching its lowest level since 1975, as electrical utilities switched to cheaper natural gas and renewables. Over the past decade and a half, coal's collapse has saved tens of thousands of lives nationwide, according to new research, and cut national greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 10 percent.

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The bad news is almost everything else. Outside of the power sector, the country's planet-warming pollution continued to grow last year. Almost three decades after climate change first became a political issue, the American economy remains a continent-sized machine that guzzles fossil fuels and excretes money.

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"We see nothing currently planned at the federal or the state level that is going to put the U.S. on track for the Paris Agreement target," Trevor Houser, an author of the report and a partner at the Rhodium Group, told me. "It is still possible to reduce emissions fast enough to meet that target, but it would require a rapid and ambitious change in federal climate policy."

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iehi-feed-65111 Sun, 15 Dec 2019 20:53:51 GMT Trump's 'big deal with China' isn't big, isn't a deal, and isn't real http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-15_TrumpsbigdealwithChinaisntbigisntadealandisntreal.html The agricultural purchases required in the agreement are both vague and clearly far too small to restore even the conditions that existed before Trump's actions sent China looking to South America and other regions to replace goods they would have previously purchased from America. In 2019, farm debt topped $416 billion--absolutely swamping the scale of Trump's "enormous deal," even when including non-agricultural products. 

Even as bankruptcy is up 24% in a single year, Trump is telling America's farmers that it's time to buy "much larger tractors" to generate all the grain required by this deal. Trump says that he expects China to buy $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products. That $50 billion figure is one that Trump has deployed before. It's just that the date keeps shifting. And shifting. That number is imaginary, but the exploding farm debt and bankruptcies are very real.

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In fact, Trump's massively hyped trade deal is such a preliminary step that it's not even getting rid of the tariffs he's put in place. The 25% tariff on over $250 billion of Chinese products is untouched, while the 15% tariff that was placed on another $150 billion in goods is dropping to 7.5%. Or, 7.5% higher than they were in September--which is not a great sign that a trade war has "ended."

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iehi-feed-65094 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 01:15:55 GMT Nearly 700,000 will lose food stamps with USDA work requirement change http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-04_Nearly700000willlosefoodstampswithUSDAworkrequirementchange.html The USDA rule change affects people between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled. Under current rules, this group is required to work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-month period to qualify for food stamps, but states have been able to create waivers for areas that face high unemployment.

The new rule would limit states from waiving those standards, instead restricting their use to those areas that have a 6 percent unemployment rate or higher. The national unemployment rate in October was 3.6 percent.

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"This Administration is out of touch with families who are struggling to make ends meet by working seasonal jobs or part time jobs with unreliable hours," Stabenow said. "Seasonal holiday workers, workers in Northern Michigan's tourism industry, and workers with unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses are the kinds of workers hurt by this proposal."

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"There's a reason Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly rejected this callous proposal in the Farm Bill and instead focused on bipartisan job training opportunities that actually help families find good paying jobs," she said.

Hunger advocates have repeatedly emphasized that SNAP is intended to address hunger and not compel people to work. Many also noted that those affected are impoverished, tend to live in rural areas, often face mental health issues and disabilities. Black and Hispanic households, women and LGBTQ people would be disproportionately affected by the change.

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iehi-feed-65060 Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:15:37 GMT Study: Income Inequality Is Masking Inflation At The Bottom http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-05_StudyIncomeInequalityIsMaskingInflationAtTheBottom.html ``In an era of wild inequality, sputtering wages, and rising rents and health-care costs, the American working class has had one consistent financial respite: "stuff," broadly defined, is cheap. Sure, workers might not be able to afford a decent apartment, a college education, or sufficient elder care for an infirm relative, or to ever, ever get sick. But burgers, leggings, yard tools, bicycles, dishes, smartphones, soda--these items have become less expensive, thanks to big-box stores and internet retailers and imports from abroad.

Or perhaps not. A new analysis from a prominent group of economic researchers suggests not only that rising prices have been quietly taxing low-income families more heavily than rich ones, but also that, after accounting for that trend, the American poverty rate is significantly higher than the official measures suggest. Call it "inflation inequality," a subtle, pernicious way that the fortunes of the rich and the poor have diverged.

... the London School of Economics found that from 2004 to 2015, the prices of the products purchased by the bottom income quintile increased faster than the prices of the products purchased by the top income quintile. As a result, low-income families experienced an annual rate of inflation conservatively estimated at 0.44 percentage points higher than that of high-income families... such changes compound over time, wedging apart the welfare of struggling households and flourishing ones. Rich families get competitive prices on organic groceries and athleisure and better-and-better electronics; poor families end up paying more for worse-quality alternatives.

Jaravel suggested a mechanism behind the finding: Rising wealth and income inequality mean that richer people have ever more disposable income, creating a market incentive for retailers to cater to the needs of lawyers in Chicago and tech analysts in Boston over child-care workers in the Mississippi Delta and part-time retail workers in California's Central Valley.

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Accounting for differential changes in prices would bump up the 2018 poverty rate by 8 percent--adding 3.2 million people to the ranks of the officially poor, and 836,000 people to the ranks of those in deep poverty. According to standard government measures, the real household income of the bottom quintile fell 1 percent from 2004 to 2018; using the new, inflation-sensitive accounting, it fell more than 7 percent... "It's not just that inflation is not uniform across income groups," says Michael Linden of the Groundwork Collaborative ... "It's that it's not uniform across income groups because of inequality itself."

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iehi-feed-65043 Mon, 28 Oct 2019 20:30:06 GMT With 1.5 Million Packages a Day, The Internet Brings Chaos to NYC Streets http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-10-28_With15MillionPackagesaDayTheInternetBringsChaostoNYCStreets.html The total number of trucks on tolled crossings into New York City and within the five boroughs rose about 9.4 percent in 2018, to an estimated 35.7 million, from 32.6 million in 2013, according to transit data.

That increase in traffic has made the interchange of Interstate 95 and New Jersey Route 4, about a half-mile from the George Washington Bridge, the country's most gridlocked stretch of highway for trucks, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

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As the internet economy grows, so, too, does the importance of what is known as last-mile package delivery -- the final step in the increasingly competitive and costly process of moving items to customers' homes as quickly as possible.

In New York, at least five warehouses, are in the works. Over the summer, Amazon opened a last-mile warehouse in the Bronx and another in Queens. It has also looked at leasing additional facilities for last-mile deliveries in Brooklyn.

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Another multistory warehouse, planned on 18 acres in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is expected to be the country's largest last-mile warehouse, Mr. Hertz said.

Their warehouses in Red Hook, as well as a multistory warehouse to be built in the South Bronx, are going up in Opportunity Zones, which were created as part of the 2017 tax law and offer significant tax benefits to projects in economically distressed areas.

The program has been criticized for giving tax breaks to wealthy people who invest in the zones, while not significantly helping struggling neighborhoods.

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Rafael Salamanca Jr., a City Council member whose district includes the South Bronx, said he had mixed feelings about the area becoming a warehouse hub. While warehouses have provided jobs, and pledges from Amazon to hire local residents, they have also increased the number of diesel-spewing trucks on the roads.

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Andrew Chung, the chief executive of Innovo Property Group, which is building the multistory warehouse in the South Bronx, said the distribution center would have electric charging stations with the goal of eventually shifting to a mostly electric delivery fleet.

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iehi-feed-65019 Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:34:34 GMT Brexit vote postponed: Here's what could happen now http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-10-20_BrexitvotepostponedHereswhatcouldhappennow.html U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was thwarted by a cross-party group of politicians who voted to postpone the "meaningful vote" on his new divorce deal and force him to ask Brussels for an extension to the current Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. The developments in Parliament set up a complicated week with just 11 days left until the U.K. is still due to leave the world's largest trading bloc.

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Johnson grudgingly asked for an extension to the deadline late on Saturday night, but EU leaders don't necessarily have to accept it. Some have ruled out giving Britain more time, piling pressure on U.K. lawmakers to accept the current deal. But it's unlikely they would want a no-deal scenario and the potential economic hit it could mean for both sides of the English Channel.

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iehi-feed-65007 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:15:39 GMT CoinShares, Blockchain Launch Gold Token Network on a Bitcoin Sidechain http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-10-16_CoinSharesBlockchainLaunchGoldTokenNetworkonaBitcoinSidechain.html Working with wallet provider Blockchain and precious medal trader MKS (Switzerland) SA, the U.K.-based firm announced Tuesday a gold-backed network for trading tokens representing digitized physical gold, a project two years in the making.

According to CoinShares, the network launches today with more than $20 million in gold held in a Swiss vault to back up its tokens. Each DGLD token is backed by 1/10th troy ounce.

CoinShares chairman Danny Masters said the product's network security is based on the bitcoin state, with DGLD operating as a sidechain of the bitcoin network.

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iehi-feed-64987 Tue, 08 Oct 2019 14:33:28 GMT These Trade Claims Made by Trump? They're All Wrong http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-10-08_TheseTradeClaimsMadebyTrumpTheyreAllWrong.html Claim 1: Let's start with an easy one. On March 2, 2018, when Fox Business Network's "Mornings With Maria" asked whether China would retaliate against the metal tariffs, Mr. Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro replied, "I don't believe any country in the world is going to retaliate for the simple reason that we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world."

He was wrong: Everyone has retaliated against us. A recent study by the economists Mary Amiti of the Federal Reserve, Stephen J. Redding of Princeton and David Weinstein of Columbia shows that our trading partners, "especially China, have retaliated with tariffs averaging 16 percent on approximately $121 billion of U.S. exports."

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The bottom line is that pretty much everything Mr. Trump has promised on the trade front by imposing tariffs hasn't panned out, even if the president persists in saying the opposite.

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iehi-feed-64983 Sun, 06 Oct 2019 18:37:04 GMT IKEA in 'World First' Trade Transaction Using Smart Contracts and Licensed E-Money http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-10-06_IKEAinWorldFirstTradeTransactionUsingSmartContractsandLicensedEM.html IKEA Iceland has taken part in a commercial transaction on ethereum, using smart contracts and licensed e-money to facilitate the settlement of an order from local retailer Nordic Store.

The transaction was carried out on a platform provided by supply chain management firm Tradeshift and used "programmable digital cash" from ConsenSys-backed Monerium, according to an announcement from Tradeshift on Tuesday. Specifically, Nordic Store bought goods from IKEA and settled an e-invoice using Monerium's tokenised Icelandic krona.

Monerium and Tradeshift suggested the "world's first" transaction shows that "government-regulated, programmable e-money is ready for mainstream markets."

As reported in June, Reykjavik-based Monerium was licensed by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Iceland (FME) as its first Electronic Money Institution, making the startup the first to have regulatory approval to provide fiat payment services over blockchain systems across the European Economic Area.

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iehi-feed-64966 Thu, 26 Sep 2019 20:04:08 GMT Vacant Retail Space In NYC Has Doubled Since 2007 http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-09-26_VacantRetailSpaceInNYCHasDoubledSince2007.html iehi-feed-64963 Wed, 25 Sep 2019 16:00:03 GMT Gold Busts Out of 6-Year Trading Range On Fed Capitulation http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-09-25_GoldBustsOutof6YearTradingRangeOnFedCapitulation.html iehi-feed-64948 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 22:42:42 GMT Trump to revoke California's authority over car emissions http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-09-17_TrumptorevokeCaliforniasauthorityovercaremissions.html President Trump is expected Wednesday to revoke a decades-old rule that empowers California to set tougher car emissions standards than those required by the federal government -- putting the state and the administration on a path to years of fighting in court.Hanging in the balance is whether California will continue to serve as a laboratory for tough new auto pollution rules and whether its regulations requiring automakers to sell more zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrids will survive. The state's goal is to have more than 1 million of these vehicles on the road by 2025.

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California's special authority to go further than the federal government in regulating auto pollution dates back to the 1960s, when Los Angeles was enveloped in a thick layer of smog that state officials came to see as a public health crisis. By the time the 1970 federal Clean Air Act took effect, the state had already enacted its own tailpipe emission controls.

Concerned that each state would pass different regulations, Congress decided that the EPA would set vehicle pollution standards for the nation. But it carved out an exception for California, saying that the EPA would be required to grant the state a waiver to set its own rules, provided they were at least as stringent as the federal ones. Other states could choose to follow either California's regulations or those set by the EPA.

The rule change to try to end that authority comes a few months after California spurned the White House by secretly negotiating a deal with four major automakers. As part of the pact, the car manufacturers -- Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW -- agreed to voluntarily abide by California's rules and increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, essentially ignoring the Trump administration's plans to roll back tailpipe pollution standards.

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Dan Becker, director of the Washington-based Safe Climate Campaign, said, "Trump has married his administration-wide hostility to the environment to his personal vendetta against California."

Let's see if everyone rejoices that a state cannot set more ambitious pollution controls than the federal government. This issue pits states' rights and the "laboratories of democracy" principles against the supremacy clause and the commerce clause. (Ironic, though, how in most other contexts, the federal government and the Supreme Court no longer care much about the commerce clause, or its inverse).

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iehi-feed-64946 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 03:02:12 GMT U.S. charges JPMorgan metals traders over alleged precious metals market manipulation http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-09-16_USchargesJPMorganmetalstradersoverallegedpreciousmetalsmarketman.html The Department of Justice charged two current and one former JPMorgan Chase & Co executives on Monday with alleged racketeering and manipulating prices of metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium between 2008 and 2016

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In a statement and in the indictment, prosecutors described how the trio executed "thousands" of unlawful trading sequences that included "layering" deceptive orders at different prices in rapid succession. Prosecutors also described attempts to influence market prices toward specific price points to trigger or avoid triggering options.

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