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Coronavirus dashboard for August 3: is this what endemicity looks like?

  – by New Deal democratConfirmed cases nationwide (dotted line below) declined to 121,700, still within their recent 120-130,000 range. Deaths (solid…

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 - by New Deal democrat

Confirmed cases nationwide (dotted line below) declined to 121,700, still within their recent 120-130,000 range. Deaths (solid line) are also steady at 431, within their recent 400-450 range as well:



Hospitalizations have plateaued in the past 10 days reported in the 45-47,000 range, and as of July 30 were 46,100. A commenter at Seeking Alpha who works in a hospital wrote to me that the big increase in the past several months has been people showing up with unrelated issues testing positive for COVID, I.e., “patients with COVID:”



Biobot has not updated since one week ago, showing as of then a 10% drop in COVID virus in wastewater, consistent with a “real” case count of about 360,000.

The CDC updated its variant tracker yesterday, showing BA.4&5 making up 97% of all cases. They also included a new subvariant, BA.4.6, in their analysis, indicating it constituted 4% of all cases, or 1/3rd of the BA.4 total:



It is primarily a factor in the northern Great Plains, where it makes up 9% of all cases.



But it has not been particularly growing in the past month, nor does it seem to be replacing BA.5. Similarly, while a few cases of BA.2.75 are showing up in most States, they are not showing up in the CDC data at all. I have not seen any medical commentary on either subvariant in the past week. 

Regionally there has been a small decline of confirmed cases in the West, while the other three regions are steady:



In fact, the only noteworthy changes in any State are that NY and NJ both show small declines:



Unless a new variant shows up imminently, I suspect we are entering a period of decline in cases and deaths.

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International

Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook…

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Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook clouded by uncertainties have led to a decline in real wages around the world, a new report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found.

As Statista's Felix Richter reports, according to the 2022-23 Global Wage Report, global real monthly wages fell 0.9 percent this year on average, marking the first decline in real earnings at a global scale in the 21st century.

You will find more infographics at Statista

The multiple global crises we are facing have led to a decline in real wages.

"It has placed tens of millions of workers in a dire situation as they face increasing uncertainties,” ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo said in a statement, adding that “income inequality and poverty will rise if the purchasing power of the lowest paid is not maintained.”

While inflation rose faster in high-income countries, leading to above-average real wage declines in North America (minus 3.2 percent) and the European Union (minus 2.4 percent), the ILO finds that low-income earners are disproportionately affected by rising inflation. As lower-wage earners spend a larger share of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which generally see greater price increases than non-essential items, those who can least afford it suffer the biggest cost-of-living impact of rising prices.

“We must place particular attention to workers at the middle and lower end of the pay scale,” Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, one of the report’s authors said.

“Fighting against the deterioration of real wages can help maintain economic growth, which in turn can help to recover the employment levels observed before the pandemic. This can be an effective way to lessen the probability or depth of recessions in all countries and regions,” she said.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 20:00

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International

Unprecedented Liquidations Lead To Historic Collapse In Investors’ Oil Exposure

Unprecedented Liquidations Lead To Historic Collapse In Investors’ Oil Exposure

By John Kemp, senior market analyst

Portfolio investors sold…

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Unprecedented Liquidations Lead To Historic Collapse In Investors' Oil Exposure

By John Kemp, senior market analyst

Portfolio investors sold petroleum heavily for the third week running as fears about disruption to crude oil flows from the price cap on Russia’s exports receded.

Hedge funds and other money managers sold the equivalent of 42 million barrels in the six most important oil-related futures and options contracts over the seven days ending on Nov. 29.

Sales over the three most recent weeks totalled 190 million barrels, more than reversing the 169 million barrels purchased over the previous six weeks in October and early November. As Bloomberg adds, money managers have trimmed positioning in Nymex crude for three weeks in a row. A breakdown of the data show the drop in positions is mostly from money managers cutting long exposure, rather than an abrupt short-covering.

In the latest week, sales were again concentrated in crude (-40 million barrels), especially Brent (-39 million), with only insignificant changes in other contracts.

Brent is the contract with the most direct exposure to the crude exports from Russia subject to the price cap announced by the United States, the European Union and their allies on Dec. 2.

Fund managers cut their net position in Brent to just 99 million barrels (6th percentile for all weeks since 2013) last week from 238 million barrels (50th percentile) on Nov. 8.

Bullish long positions outnumbered bearish short ones in Brent by a ratio of just 2.17:1 (11th percentile), down from 6.74:1 in late October (76th percentile).

The long-short ratio is the lowest for two years since November 2020, before the first successful coronavirus vaccines were announced a few weeks later.

Fears the price cap would reduce global crude supplies appear to have prompted a wave of buying in both physical and paper markets throughout late September and early October.

Precautionary buying drove front-month Brent futures up to a high of almost $99 per barrel on Nov. 4 from just $84 on Sept. 26. It also helped keep the futures market in a steep six-month backwardation.

But as it became clear the cap would be set at a relatively high level, with a relaxed approach to enforcement, this buying has reversed, causing prices and spreads to fall sharply.

With the risk from the price cap removed, for now investors’ attention has returned to the weak outlook for the economy and oil consumption in 2023.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 14:21

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Government

Peter Schiff: A Currency Crisis Will Fuel the Inflationary Fire

Peter Schiff: A Currency Crisis Will Fuel the Inflationary Fire

Via SchiffGold.com,

According to the Democrats and many mainstream pundits,…

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Peter Schiff: A Currency Crisis Will Fuel the Inflationary Fire

Via SchiffGold.com,

According to the Democrats and many mainstream pundits, the US economy is “resilient.” As Laura Ingraham put it, “it’s all peaches and cream according to Joe and his team.”

But what’s the truth?

Peter Schiff painted a less rosy picture during his appearance on The Ingraham Angle, saying the coming currency crisis is going to fuel the inflationary fire.

Setting up the discussion, Ingraham pointed out that the savings rate has dropped to the lowest level since the Great Recession. Meanwhile, Americans are piling up debt. Meanwhile, we’re starting to see significant layoffs, especially in this tech sector. Is this a sign of a healthy economy?

Former UBS America CEO Robert Wolf said he does see a bright side in all this, arguing that this is nothing like 2008. He said we’re not seeing a lot of leverage in the banking system, the labor market appears strong, and American consumers continue to spend. He said he’s worried about inflation but doesn’t anticipate a “hard landing.”

Peter said he agrees in a way — it’s not like the 2008 recession or the financial crisis.

It’s actually going to be much worse than that. This is just the beginning. I think we’ve been in a stealth recession all year. But I think the recession is going to get much worse in 2023. But what’s also going to get a lot worse is inflation. Because one thing that has kept the lid on consumer prices in 2022 has been the strength of the dollar. But I think the dollar has lost that strength.”

The dollar index has been falling. In fact, in November, the dollar had its worst month in 12 years. The first few days in December weren’t much better.

I think we’re going to have a currency crisis in 2023, and that’s going to fuel the inflation fire just as the unemployment rate is really spiking and this recession is kicking into a higher gear.”

Ingraham pointed out that consumers aren’t particularly optimistic. She also noted that with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve having been drawn down, we’re about out of ideas in terms of controlling energy prices. Wolf agreed that energy prices will likely continue to be an issue.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently blamed the inflation problem on consumers spending money on goods during the pandemic. She’s not completely wrong. But as Peter pointed out, she left out half of the equation.

What Janet Yellen is overlooking is just where did all these consumers sitting at home get all this money to buy all that stuff? They got the money from the US government that flooded the economy with PPP money and unemployment benefits that in many cases were two to three times what people earned when they actually had jobs. And so the government made it possible for the unemployed to sit at home and keep spending money as if they still had jobs and were productive members of society. So, the inflation was created by government.”

Wolf mentioned tax cuts, but Peter said that’s not the answer.

We just substitute taxation for inflation. What we actually need are big cuts in government spending. And unfortunately, we’re not getting that. We’re getting more government spending.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 14:59

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