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Forex Weekly Look Back: IG Group announces its first ESG Manager, UK economy sinks

Forex Weekly Look Back: IG Group announces its first ESG Manager, UK economy sinks



The Bitcoin third block halving event took place this Monday. Every four years the amount a bitcoin minor receives is cut in half as a deflationary measure. The Bitcoin reward has gone down to 6.25 BTC from 12.5BTC. The algorithm behind the halving is designed to limit the total number of Bitcoins issued to 21 million coins. In anticipation for the event, the prices of Bitcoin increased the past few weeks. From around $4,100 in middle of March to just shy of $10,000 on May 6. Now the event is a fact, the prices have fallen back to about $8,700.

Financial service firm JPMorgan Chase began offering banking services to large bitcoin exchanges Coinbase Inc. and Gemini Trust Co as an indication that Wall Street’s becoming comfortable with working with cryptocurrency companies.

The newly revived and rebranded Synergy Markets issued a report cautioning retail investors to proceed with caution when trading crude oil. The Australian brokerage firm released an in-depth analytical report on trading crude oil, identifying 5 key areas and advice on what to be aware of before trading.

The US Dollar Index continues to rise as investors are lured by the safe haven appeal of the greenback. The dollar is consolidating its status as a refuge-asset as a safety-first attitude dominates the foreign exchange markets after the Fed chairman made it clear that the American central bank expects the economic recovery from the coronavirus fallout to be slow.

US stocks sank on Wednesday afternoon after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that further interventions may be required in order to support the US economy, in the face of an unemployment rate that stands at close to 15%. Powell played down the rumblings that the Fed was seriously considering negative interest rates, and said that additional fiscal support from Congress may be required and would be “worth it”, despite the United States’ rising debt burden. “This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending,” he said. Powell’s speech sent the S&P 500 tumbling; the index closed out the day 1.8% lower with all 11 sectors in the red.

The UK economy saw its biggest slump since the 2008 financial crisis in Q1, official figures confirmed on Wednesday, with a 2% decline in GDP in the first quarter. The Office for National Statistics said there had been a “widespread disruption to economic activity, as services output fell by a record 1.9% in Quarter 1”, while it also noted there were significant contractions in production and construction. The pound made some modest, but nonetheless remarkable, gains versus both the euro and the dollar during early European trading this Wednesday, despite the publications on the economy’s contraction.

The European Commission (EC) published a plan to patch up gaps and fix weak points in the EU’s current anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) rules. The Commission’s plan will be executed over the next 12 months, along with the launch of a public consultation on the subject, which will be open until the end of July.

The post Forex Weekly Look Back: IG Group announces its first ESG Manager, UK economy sinks appeared first on LeapRate.

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Financial Free Speech

Financial Free Speech

Submitted by QTR’s Fringe Finance

At no other point in history has discussion and free speech in the world of economics…



Financial Free Speech

Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance

At no other point in history has discussion and free speech in the world of economics and finance been as necessary as it is now.

For those of you cut from the same financial-outlook cloth as I am, I'm sure you've made peace with being called a fear monger by now.

Because apparently, pointing out the basic laws of economics that seem to stand at stark odds with our current, unprecedented Keynesian experiment makes you some type of conspiracy theorist.

As those pushing modern monetary theory are quick to remind us, it is our brains that are broken, not the monetary system or their academic take on the economy. Take it from the woman who authored a book advocating for MMT that was published right before the country found itself mired in 7% inflation:

“The debt isn’t the reason we can’t have nice things. Our broken thinking is. To fix our broken thinking, we need to overcome more than just an aversion to big numbers with the word debt attached. We need to beat back every destructive myth that hobbles our thinking.

—Stephanie Kelton, The Deficit Myth

Remember, we’re the idiots. It’s our brains that are broken. Higher rates no longer means there will be a slowdown in spending, contracting GDP no longer means recession, dollars can be printed without any consequence to anyone at any point and the war against inflation has already been won…that is, as long as you subtract food, energy, shelter and used cars from equation.

This inane idiocy will continue, Nobel Prizes and all, until our “conspiracy” (read: math) is eventually proven true.

Free speech is our First Amendment right for a reason: it is of grave importance. Even more important is a reminder we need more and more as the days go by: it is the speech you disagree with the most that is the most important to protect.

In the financial world, this means those of us from the Austrian school (i.e. we can actually balance a budget, believe cash flow is vitally important to a business and understand that productivity and efficiency in an economy doesn’t come from printing dollars) are widely seen as “broken clocks” that are right “only twice a day”. In some respects, I’m fine with this.

After all, it’s tough to argue the point that we are on a treacherous, long-term path that will result in catastrophe at an unknown point in the future because everything that every academic, analyst and media personality is saying and doing is wrong, without looking like a broken clock. Those that read me consistently know that I constantly struggle with whether or not my analysis will wind up being on the right side of history.

But at the very least, you can’t have “rock solid” financial rules, like the ones academics swear by (and the ones that have driven us $33 trillion in debt) without having discourse that tests it regularly. This is a growing discussion we are having on a daily basis the more and more our vision of the stock and bond market, to quote Vincent Laguardia Gambini, gets “out of whack”.

Over the last three years, under the guise of doing what is best for the collective good during a pandemic, we saw people's right to free speech trampled on. People were kicked off social media and ostracized simply for stating their opinion if, in any way, it didn’t gel with the mainstream narrative on Covid. You couldn’t raise critical questions about vaccine safety (which are now becoming commonplace), you couldn’t suggest efficacious alternative treatments for Covid (which are now being widely accepted) and you couldn’t suggest Covid came from a lab (which is now the leading explanation for the virus).

And it wasn’t just a ban from social media: many who expressed the above thoughts were hastily relegated to second class citizens by the same lot who walks around all day screeching about the importance of equality. Some were even fired from their jobs.

As I pointed out in my article about the World Economic Forum earlier this year, the powers that be continue to wage a fight against "misinformation" all of kinds, which — to the best of my understanding — appears to be viewpoints that are at odds with the mainstream media, the government and big tech, regardless of whether or not they are objectively true.

Now take that same rabid willingness to crucify those who don’t agree with the mainstream narrative and move it over to the financial world.

The “official” stance right now — that of the Fed and its disciples — is that the war on inflation has already been won and that we are in for a “soft landing”.

If you look closely you can actually hear her making the “baaaaa” sheep noise.

The objective reality, as we saw by Friday’s trading (gold up 3%, oil up 5%, VIX over 20), is likely nowhere near as rosy as those expectations.

The objective math of 5% rates on the largest debt bubble in history tells even the most lobotomized analysts who hate math, like myself, that we are probably in for a catastrophic economic slowdown. When rates rise and discretionary income dries up, spending stops, as does economic growth.

The geopolitical outlook, given the emerging war in the Middle East, looks as bad as it has been in decades. As I wrote about days ago, for all intents and purposes, it looks as though the stock market is sitting on the edge of the end of the world.

My guess is that as the days go by, the markets will continue to swing wildly. Who knows what will happen next? Maybe Japan will lose control of their bond market. Maybe U.S. equities will have a circuit breaker day lower. Maybe commercial real estate will plunge all at once when people start marking their books for Q3. Maybe the U.S. bond market vigilantes will take rates to 7%? Maybe commodities will explode to new all time highs.

But make no mistake about it, something’s going to break — and it’ll be something that doesn’t fit in the “mainstream narrative” of “running this unprecedented monetary policy absolutely has to result in prosperity only, at all times, because us PhDs said so”. And when that moment comes and the public is guided to the only logical conclusion of pointing their fingers at the powers that be for decades of poor monetary and fiscal policy, the establishment will be forced to look for a villain — somewhere they can deflect blame.

And it’ll be then that those adhering to the Austrian school – and those with just plain old common sense who have been “broken clocks” predicting this catch-22 for years – are likely going to be next to be written off no longer as just plain ole’ conspiracy theorists, but as disinformation artists and the reason for the crash.

I implore people to watch closely as the days march on: it feels as though aggressive actions — like were taken with dissenters during Covid — could come around in the financial world next.

As I’ve said before, I hope I’m wrong about everything and we do have a soft landing. But my common sense simply won’t let me justify that argument in my head. I feel the seeds have already been sown and, with each passing day, the importance of financial free speech rises exponentially.

So, in the words of Big D and the Kids Table, “try out your voice”.

QTR’s Disclaimer: I am an idiot and often get things wrong and lose money. I may own or transact in any names mentioned in this piece at any time without warning. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities, just my opinions. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I did my best to be honest about my disclosures but can’t guarantee I am right; I write these posts after a couple beers sometimes. Also, I just straight up get shit wrong a lot. I mention it twice because it’s that important.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 19:55

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IRS Contractor Who Leaked Trump, Griffin Tax Returns Used Private Website To Foil IRS

IRS Contractor Who Leaked Trump, Griffin Tax Returns Used Private Website To Foil IRS

A former IRS contractor who leaked the the tax returns…



IRS Contractor Who Leaked Trump, Griffin Tax Returns Used Private Website To Foil IRS

A former IRS contractor who leaked the the tax returns of Donald Trump, Ken Griffin and others and leaked them to the media used a private website.

Charles Littlejohn, 38, who worked for a contractor rumored to be Booz Allen Hamilton (of Edward Snowden fame), stole tax return information on thousands of wealthy Americans, including Trump, Griffin, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and then leaked them to ProPublica.

In a Sunday court filing, his methods were revealed, Bloomberg Tax reports.

To avoid detection, Littlejohn accessed Trump’s tax return and other information in late 2018 by querying an IRS database using more “generalized parameters” rather than directly searching for the former president’s data, according to the filing. 

He then uploaded the data to a personal, private website he controlled rather than downloading it to a physical storage device or using a remote storage website. That allowed him to “avoid IRS protocols designed to detect and prevent large downloads or uploads” from agency devices or systems, according to the filing, which lays out the factual basis for his guilty plea. 

That day, he used a personal computer to download the data from the private website, storing in multiple locations, including personal data storage devices like his Apple iPod. In May 2019, he contacted the Times about leaking Trump’s tax data, disclosing it between August and October of that year. 

Weeks before then-President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, the NY Times published the first of several stories revealing that Trump paid $750 in taxes between 2016 and 2017, and no taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Trump also lost millions of dollars from his golf courses, "vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due" and that Trump earned $73 million abroad.

Combined, Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years. He later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010.

Littlejohn used a similar method to store data he stole on Griffin, Bezos and Musk - with ProPublica reporting that the tax data spanned more than 15 years.

In uploading the data, he used two “virtual machines,” or “essentially simulated version of physical computers,” the filing said. He “promptly destroyed these machines” after using them to steal the data. 

In September 2020, he contacted ProPublica to discuss the possibility of sharing the data on wealthy taxpayers. He then anonymously mailed the data to ProPublica on a password-protected storage device. 

Two months later, he gave a journalist there the password. ProPublica has published nearly 50 stories based on that data. 

ProPublica reported that billionaires including Bezos and Musk had in some years paid minimal or no income tax even as their fortunes soared. It outlined the tax strategies available to Americans in the top 0.1% of wealth. Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, was among those included in the reporting.

Littlejohn pleaded guilty to a single charge that carries a prison term of up to five years, however he'll likely only face eight to 14 months, according to his plea deal. He will be sentenced on Jan. 29. Trump attorney Alina Habba called the leak an "atrocity" and an "egregious breach," and asked US District Judge Ana Reyes to impose the maximum prison term if the plea deal went forward.

Reyes agreed with Habba that it was "unacceptable" for people to take the law into their own hands, and vowed to impose "severe consequences." (ha).

As Bloomberg notes, "Littlejohn worked as a contractor for the same consulting firm from 2008 to 2010, 2012 to 2013, and 2017 to 2021, according to the filing. The firm wasn’t identified."

Looks like Jesse Watters has some idea.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 20:15

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Victor Davis Hanson Surveys Our Post-Hamas Wreckage

Victor Davis Hanson Surveys Our Post-Hamas Wreckage

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

As Hamas goes, so with it go…



Victor Davis Hanson Surveys Our Post-Hamas Wreckage

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

As Hamas goes, so with it go many of the following related Western pretensions.

The Passions of 9/11, Redux

It has been 22 years since we saw crowds throughout the Middle East celebrating the murder of 3,000 civilians—and since newspapers had daily “idiot watch” notices of American intellectuals defending radical Islamist mass murderers. And now the madness is back again, and we are witnessing the recrudescence of normalizing radical Islamic terrorists abroad.

I suppose the theory is that no one in America cares much about radical Islamists foaming at the mouth, whether abroad or here. And the result is that they are empowered and their defense of murder is growing—yet its hubris will earn an almost-certain response, an anger slowly but insidiously growing at radical Islam.

A Middle East Policy in Ruins 

The current Biden appeasement of Iran and gift of billions of dollars in aggregate to the West Bank and Gaza are now, by bipartisan consensus, unsustainable. The only supporters of that lethal madness left are the embarrassments of BLM, the Squad, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the campus crowd.

Their collective hatred of Jews and Israelis was manifested in their delight over the post mortem mutilations of murdered women and children. And why—even before Israel had responded with air attacks—were leftists and Islamists suddenly celebrating the news of the executions of more than 1,200 Jews? It was instinctual, a Pavlovian response.

Even some leftist Democrats were shocked by their own constituents, whom they had created. Biden still might cling to his past destructive Middle East policies (and I expect him to restrict the Israelis within days after they begin to go in full force into Gaza), but the idea of continuing aid to the West Bank and Gaza or of “normalizing” relations with theocratic Iran will now be rightly seen as a suicidal delusion.

Ukraine and Gaza

Most Americans support arms for Ukraine to repel Russian aggressors.

But something is becoming strange about these two respective wars.

Why did the State Department more or less put no restrictions on Ukrainian retaliation, including operations against the Russian Black Sea Fleet—but the Secretary of State almost immediately called for a “ceasefire” to prevent Israeli retaliation, a mortal sin if he had dared say that about Ukraine’s similar response to aggression? Would an American diplomat lecture Ukraine about ending the “cycle of violence?”

Why does the U.S. discount any possibility of a strategic response from Russia—which reportedly has some 6,000-7,000 nuclear weapons—to attacks on its homeland, but seems almost terrified about calling Iran to account for its central role in arming and funding terrorists to start a war with Israel by slaughtering 1,200 civilians?

Is the U.S., as professed, really able to fund a $120 billion—and counting—war in Ukraine, and to replenish Israeli stocks (300,000 artillery shells shipped from U.S. depots in Israel to Ukraine, a reportedly mere one-month supply for Kyiv), and to restore depleted existing U.S. munitions (note the billions of dollars of equipment abandoned in Kabul), and to ramp up our forces to deter China (while allowing 8 million illegal aliens to flow across an open border and $33 trillion in national debt) without going on a massive war footing?

There are likely somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 total wounded and dead in Ukraine, in the most lethal conflict in Europe since 1945. Why is the U.S. so eager to call for a ceasefire after a fraction of those casualties in Gaza, but it is near-taboo to mention a breather amid the historical carnage, with no end in sight, in Ukraine?

The administration always says we can do everything simultaneously, but then we never do. Rhetoric is not the same thing as trebling our arms supply chain, and cutting the budget elsewhere to pay for it, and closing our border.

The Biden Open Border

Given the common denominator of Russian and Gazan invading forces crossing poorly fortified borders, why would we not secure our own—far longer and less secure than either?

The Biden border nihilism is now a losing proposition even for the leftists who helped promote it. Biden is eroding the very base of the Democratic Party, by alienating inner-city and border-district minorities. They are irate at the hordes of people stampeding into the country with the assumption that breaking our laws is their birthright.

Even the daily mendacity of Alejandro Mayorkas and Karine Jean-Pierre cannot hide the brazen contempt for the law. Every day that the border remains open and thousands more pour in unaudited, illegally, without skills, in non-diverse fashion, and with cartel fentanyl—to the cheers of the corrupt socialist President Obrador of Mexico—the more Joe Biden is destroying his own party.

The ruin in Gaza only reminds Americans that under present policies we will soon see thousands of America-hating, anti-Semitic Gazans seeking to pour into the United States illegally, eager to join the mass demonstrations cheering on Hamas death squads. It seems to take about a month for a radical Middle Eastern refugee, having arrived with gratitude toward his new American hosts, to take to the street on a “Day of Jihad” calling for the end of Israel (and often damning America).

Allies as Enemies

Abroad, we are finally accepting the long-suppressed reality that many of our “allies” are not neutrals but enemies. The U.S. bases in Qatar and Turkey, and our indifference to the pro-Hamas sentiments, if not outright aid, of both, have empowered terrorism.

Ever so slowly, the two anti-American nations are reminding Americans that we need to draw down our forces from these hostile landscapes, which in any global crisis would likely be hostile territory for our own troops.

Everyone knows Erdogan’s Turkey has no business in NATO—and everyone has no idea how to get them out. And so everyone puts an asterisk over Turkey as a NATO member. For now, the alliance’s only Islamist, non-democratic, and anti-Western nation is best simply avoided, since expelling Turkey appears to be more trouble than tolerating its toxic presence.

The Palestinian State Solution 

The Left’s shrill demand for a “two-state” solution, and tolerance of Palestinian tired and serial threats to drive Israel into the sea, are for now over. The glee with which Gazans and West Bankers met the news of mass murder, mutilation, hostage-taking, rape, and the desecration of bodies is proof enough that these dictatorial governments probably do represent the majority of their citizens.

Most Gazans were giddy on hearing of the macabre methods of Hamas, and only wished that there had been more opportunity to spit on hostages, poke captive women, kick corpses, and torment the child and female trophies brought back from Israel. The Gazan delight in the grotesque was reminiscent of some medieval pogrom, or the Roman triumphs of old with their files of enslaved captives. And perhaps the desire to take captives and pass them back through the killing fields to Gaza reminds of the Aztec practice of seeking to capture rather than just kill their enemies, in order to have plenty of bodies for the human sacrifices on Templo Major.

The old idea of Gaza—self-governed since 2005-2006 by “one man, one vote, once” Hamas—as a possible “Singapore” with Hyatt and Four Seasons beaches, flush with hundreds of billions of dollars from the Gulf, Europe, the U.S. and the UN, is finally revealed as the farce it always was. That fantasy was simply antithetical to the Hamas nihilist charter, the logical manifestation of which was the slaughter inside Israel of hundreds of civilians.


BLM was always a corrupt, disingenuous operation—the craftier successor to the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton 1980s corporate shake-downs. But it is has finally jumped the shark with its sick support for Hamas murderers (note its recent posters glorifying Hamas’s hang-gliding butchery).

Its pro-death advocacy of Hamas is the pièce de résistance to the corruption and abdication of its leadership, the Kendi-con, and the lethal crime wave it helped spawn in major cities. Its racist agendas may linger for a while. But BLM is going the way of the 1960s Black Panthers—that is, one leading to general disgust, then to irrelevance, and finally to nothingness.

The still-remaining BLM murals in our major downtowns are already embarrassments and eroding reminders of the insanity that swept the country from 2020 to the present.


Universities have now crossed the Rubicon in de facto condoning their crazed students cheering on mass death. They made the argument after George Floyd that the country must listen to their pseudo-moral lectures, and now they unashamedly broadcast what they have become—traitors to the idea of an enlightened free society, and kindred spirits to the anti-Semitism, intolerance, and fascism of 1930s German universities.

Degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Stanford will soon become, not resume badges, but either embarrassments or certifications of a mediocre education. Or both.

Universities all rushed to embrace “decolonization”, starting with empty and ahistorical virtue signals and ending up paralyzed, as thousands of their own students showed the world how ecstatic they were over news that babies were murdered and women raped.

In response, their invertebrate administrators and faculty sat frozen for days, calculating how best to issue “on the one hand…on the other hand” mush. The first serious politician who calls for the taxing of the huge incomes of their endowments, for yanking the government out of the student loan business and returning the moral hazard to the universities who impoverish their own students, will win overwhelming support.

The Gaza of Hamas is going down, but so are a lot of corrupt institutions and ideas that threw in with its lot.

I would recommend against the Nazi reference: the Nazis didn’t deny knowledge of atrocities until *after the war*, making them a bad contrast to current Palestinians.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 20:35

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