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Futures Surge After EU Reaches “Truly Historic” Pandemic Bailout Deal

Futures Surge After EU Reaches "Truly Historic" Pandemic Bailout Deal



Futures Surge After EU Reaches "Truly Historic" Pandemic Bailout Deal Tyler Durden Tue, 07/21/2020 - 07:51

S&P futures and global markets jumped on Tuesday after EU leaders clinched an “historic” deal on a massive €750BN ($860BN) recovery plan for their coronavirus-throttled economies in the early hours of Tuesday, after a turbulent, seemingly endless summit lasting almost five days.

Eminis also got a boost to surpass their June 8 highs thanks to a better-than-expected quarterly profit from IBM, a beat from Coke and on hopes for even more domestic stimulus to prop up an economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU agreement paves the way for the European Commission to raise billions of euros on capital markets on behalf of all 27 states, an unprecedented act of solidarity in almost seven decades of European integration. Summit chairman Charles Michel called the accord, reached at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT), “a pivotal moment” for Europe.

European shares rallied to four-month highs on Tuesday with the Euro Stoxx 50 rising as much as 1.9% during London morning, and the euro touched a four-month high of $1.1470 as both the rumor and the news of the EU deal were bought. Stocks in Italy, likely the biggest beneficiary, added more than 2% and led gains among local exchanges that mostly outperformed U.S. equity futures. Norway’s Adevinta ASA surged as much as 39% after agreeing to buy EBay’s online classifieds business for $9.2 billion.

Many had warned that a failed summit amid the coronavirus pandemic would have put the bloc’s viability in serious doubt after years of economic crisis and Britain’s recent departure.  “This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action,” a jubilant Michel told reporters. French President Emmanuel Macron, who spearheaded a push for the deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hailed it as “truly historic”.

European politicians hope the 750 billion euro ($857.33 billion) recovery fund and its related 1.1 trillion euro 2021-2027 budget will help repair the continent’s deepest recession since World War Two after the coronavirus outbreak shut down economies. Germany Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that, with the agreement, the chances of “a cautious, slow recovery” in the second half of this year had increased enormously.

We'll see how that goes: it won't be the first time Europe was optimistic about a major deal only to see it all come crashing down. For now, markets like it and a gauge of risk in Europe’s investment-grade debt dropped to the lowest since February. The euro steadied after a recent rally, with some taking modest profits on the Stimulus deal.

Meanwhile, in the US IBM jumped 5.3% premarket after it beat sharply lowered EPS and revenues and signaled higher demand in its cloud computing business, as large corporations accelerate their digital shift. The S&P 500 closed higher for the year and the Nasdaq notched another record closing high on Monday after promising early data from trials of three potential vaccines and a boost from high-flying companies including and Microsoft.

“The market, particularly tech stocks, is rallying on both good news and bad news, that tells us it’s all about momentum and not about the facts,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty. “There are concerns we could see significant pullbacks before we make further gains, but at the moment you can’t stand in front of the train that is the Nasdaq 100 Index."

Stocks have been marching higher globally on the back of more government stimulus and a seemingly unstoppable advance in tech names. And speaking of even more stimulus, advisers to President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats were set to discuss the next steps in responding to the coronavirus crisis on Tuesday, with congressional Republicans saying they were working on a $1 trillion relief bill. Meanwhile, new infections raged in Florida on Monday, while California saw improvement, with cases and hospitalizations beginning to stabilize after a surge. Trump also said he would resume holding regular COVID-19 news briefings on Tuesday.

Among other stocks, oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron rose 2.2% and 1.4%, respectively, on prospects of higher fuel demand. Other companies reporting stronger than expected data today included Coca-Cola (Q2 EPS 0.42, Exp. 0.41) and Marlboro maker Philip Morris International (Q2 EPS 1.29, Exp. 1.10).

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks gained, led by communications and IT, after rising in the last session. The Topix gained 0.4%, with GMO Cloud KK and Stella Chemifa rising the most. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2%, with Jiangsu High Hope and Beh-Property posting the biggest advances. Record-High Asia Tech at Risk of Running Too Hot: Taking Stock Here are some notable movers in the region.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for a third day, dropping below 1,200 for the first time in 5 weeks, as risk-sensitive currencies advanced on improved global investor sentiment after European Union leaders reached an agreement on a stimulus package, sending a dollar gauge toward a six-week low. As noted above, the euro first hit a fresh four-month high, before erasing the advance as traders took profits on long positions. The euro was sold by investors that were long against the pound and yen after the deal was reached, according to traders. That resulted in the dollar paring its earlier losses against most commodity currencies. The Australian dollar led gains, climbing 0.8% to a one-year high of 0.7071; Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said earlier the currency was broadly in line with fundamentals.

In rates, the 10Y Treasury was almost unchanged for another day as the Fed's takeover of bond markets makes it virtually impossible for bonds to move; in Europe the spread between Italian and German bonds narrowed to the tightest since February amid optimism that more debt will somehow fix what is a problem caused by record debt. US Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve as E-mini futures extended gains. Treasury losses led by long end, cheapening 10- to 30-year yields higher by more than 1bp; 10-year at 0.622% kept pace with bunds while Italian bonds outperform by 2.5bp. 

In commodities, WTI and Brent rallied this morning with sentiment in general bolstered post the European Council coming to agreement overnight. Price action has seen WTI and  Brent September futures hit highs of USD 42.02/bbl and USD 44.60/bbl respectively so far. Newsflow for the complex itself has once again been very sparse with no scheduled events for the complex this week aside from the weekly releases which see the private inventory report tonight; some expectations looking for a draw of 750k, compared to the previous weeks draw of 8.3mln. As a reminder for the complex today the Aug’20 WTI future is set to expire. Turning to spot gold, the precious metal itself not far from the September 2011 high of USD 1827.88/oz; currently, the sessions peak is USD 1824.55/oz.  Upward price action assisted by total gold ETF holdings increasing for 17 continuous days by ~2.68mln/oz, via ING.

Looking at the day ahead, data highlights include UK public sector borrowing for June, Canada’s retail sales for May, and from the US there’s the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for June. Central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, while earnings releases feature The Coca-Cola Company, Texas Instruments, Philip Morris and Lockheed Martin.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 3,267.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 379.60
  • MXAP up 1.5% to 167.70
  • MXAPJ up 2.1% to 556.00
  • Nikkei up 0.7% to 22,884.22
  • Topix up 0.4% to 1,582.74
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.3% to 25,635.66
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,320.90
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 37,856.41
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 2.6% to 6,156.30
  • Kospi up 1.4% to 2,228.83
  • German 10Y yield unchanged at -0.461%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.1437
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 6.5 bps to 0.978%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 0.329%
  • Brent futures up 2.3% to $44.27/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,823.31
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.76

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • European Union leaders agreed on an unprecedented stimulus package worth 750 billion euros ($860 billion) to pull their economies out of the worst recession in memory and tighten the financial bonds holding their 27 nations together
  • Hong Kong is facing its worst coronavirus outbreak, and the city is woefully unprepared for the surge
  • A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc showed promising results in early human testing, and is now set to move into larger trials that are likely to be decisive on how effective they truly are
  • The world’s major central banks aren’t purchasing debt fast enough, leaving almost $1 trillion of new sovereign bonds looking for buyers in the months ahead
  • Senior U.S. lawmakers, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, will seek to use today’s London visit to press Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take an even harder stance on China
  • Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled a $775 billion plan to bolster child care and care for the elderly that would be financed by taxes on real estate investors as well increased tax compliance by high-income earners

Asia-Pac bourses traded firmer across the board following strong handover from Wall Street, as tech shares pushed the SPX into positive territory for the year, whilst Amazon shares gained almost 8%, Tesla over 9%, and IBM rose some 6% after hours following a beat on both top and bottom lines, but notably, the Co. reported an improvement in three out of five units over the past quarter. ASX 200 (+2.6%) was bolstered by its tech and material stocks in what was an in-fitting performance with its peers State-side, albeit BHP shares failed to gain much traction in Aussie trade after reporting a quarterly copper production decline whilst noting 2021 copper output volumes will be slightly lower YY. Nikkei 225 (+0.7%) also felt the tech euphoria, but with upside somewhat hampered by currency dynamics. Elsewhere, Shanghai Comp (+0.2%) took a breather after yesterday’s rally and as the PBoC’s operation resulted in a modest net daily drain of CNY 20bln. Hang Seng (+2.3%) saw a strong performance from the cash open as a number of its large cap stocks remained in firm positive territory, whilst reports yesterday noted the Hang Seng will launch a tech index next Monday to track the 30 largest eligible stocks listed in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, Alibaba’s Hong Kong listing soared over 5% as its founder’s newest venture looks towards a record USD 200bln IPO. Note: Taiwan’s chip giant TSMC rose over 4% amid tailwinds from IBM’s earnings.

Top Asian News

  • China Probes Car Inc. Shareholder Linked to Luckin Founder

European equities (Eurostoxx 50 +1.5%) trade on the front-foot as markets react to the historical EU Council agreement overnight which saw EU leaders agree on a EUR 750bln recovery fund (390bln grants, 360bln loans) and EUR 1.074trl 2021-27 budget. The DAX (+1.7%) is currently outperforming its peers as the index briefly returned to marginal positive territory for the year and is now around 4% away from its all-time high posted on February 19th. Aside from events in Brussels, support for the index has also emanated from the autos & parts sector with Continental (+3.8%) a noteworthy outperformer after prelim Q2 revenues exceeded expectations, furthermore, index-heavyweight Bayer (+1.4%) have been granted some reprieve this morning amid a 92% reduction in the Roundup Weedkiller verdict. Elsewhere from a sectoral standpoint, banks sit at the top of the leaderboard following the aforementioned EU agreement, whilst UBS (+3.5%) have also lent a helping hand to the industry after with its Q2 decline in net profit was not as bad as some had feared. Healthcare names are the laggard in Europe (albeit marginally positive on the session) with AstraZeneca (-1.3%) taking a breather from yesterday’s COVID-19-induced gains. Other notable movers include Novartis (-0.9%) after Q2 revenues and EPS fell short of expectations, whilst GVC (-11.7%) sit at the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after HMRC announced it is to expand the scope of an investigation into its former Turkish Business.

Top European News

  • Continental Sales Beat Estimates, But Car Supplier Is Wary
  • Danske Seen Axing at Least 1,000 Jobs in ‘Significant’ Move
  • Ladbrokes Owner GVC Plunges as U.K. Widens Turkish Investigation
  • Coal’s Demise Forces $1 Billion Writedown for Swedish Utility

In FX, another upturn in broad risk sentiment, partly tech sector driven, but also backed up by ongoing strength in precious metals, has helped the Aussie extend gains across the board with Aud/Usd eyeing the current 2020 high at 0.7063 and Aud/Nzd rebounding through 1.0700. However, the latest advances were also forged in wake of RBA minutes and comments from Governor Lowe, as the former underlined stabilisation in the economy after a less severe than previously envisaged downturn and the latter stated a desire to see a weaker Aud, but no intention to intervene. Moreover, the Minister for Resources flagged record Chinese demand despite the spat as reason for Australia gleaning protection from even worse post-coronavirus conditions, albeit not accounting for the more recent outbreak in Victoria.

  • CAD/NOK/SEK/GBP - The next best performing majors, and ensuring that the DXY remains depressed below 96.000, as the Loonie probes above 1.3500 ahead of Canadian retail sales data with some support from firm crude prices, while the Norwegian and Swedish Crowns continue their ascent vs the US Dollar and Euro, with Eur/Nok now under 10.5100 and Eur/Sek approaching 10.2400. Similarly, Sterling is gathering fresh technical momentum and Cable has probed 1.2700 on the way through the 200 DMA before drifting back, with Eur/Gbp hovering near the base of a 0.9050-10 range as the single currency pares initial gains made on the EU Recovery Fund deal.
  • NZD/CHF/JPY/EUR/USD - Relative G10 laggards, with the Kiwi capped ahead of 0.6600, Franc unable to bounce far from 0.9400, Yen caught in a narrow sub-107.00 corridor and Euro waning between 1.1470-24 parameters even though the Greenback has sustained more losses overall. In terms of more specific impulses, Swiss trade data revealed a wider trade surplus and less steep slide in watch exports, Usd/Jpy may be influenced by decent option expiry interest from 107.30 to 107.40 (1.5 bn) and the single currency seems prone to further buy rumour, sell fact trade after the aforementioned EU package that was largely as expected in terms of size and structure. Back to the Buck, some respite after the index dipped below Fib support at 95.622 to 95.610, but not enough to reclaim 96.000 in the run up to June’s national activity index and Redbook sales.
  • EM - No real surprise to see the Rand revel in Gold’s illustrious performance and the Rouble rally with Brent, but the Mexican Peso is also benefiting from the rebound in oil.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have rallied somewhat this morning with sentiment in general bolstered post the European Council coming to agreement overnight. Price action has seen WTI & Brent September futures hit highs of USD 42.02/bbl and USD 44.49/bbl respectively so far, levels which we remain in relative proximity to at present. Newsflow for the complex itself has once again been very sparse with no scheduled events for the complex this week aside from the weekly releases which see the private inventory report tonight; some expectations looking for a draw of 750k, compared to the previous weeks draw of 8.3mln. As a reminder for the complex today the Aug’20 WTI future is set to expire. Turning to spot gold, where the metal remains elevated with the DXY firmer but still capped by 96.00 with the precious metal itself not far from the September 2011 high of USD 1827.88/oz; currently, the sessions peak is USD 1824.55/oz. Upward price action assisted by total gold ETF holdings increasing for 17 continuous days by ~2.68mln/oz, via ING. Elsewhere, overnight updates from mining names including Vale who see iron ore production at the lower end of guidance as the most probable scenario and BHP seeing copper production volumes slightly lower in 2021.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 4, prior 2.6

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

First though let’s look at the news that EU leaders have finally reached a deal overnight on the EU recovery fund. The confirmed final deal includes €390bn of grants, down from the initial €500bn, along with €360bn of low-interest loans. Leaders also agreed on the EU’s next seven-year budget, worth over €1tn. European Council President Michel, said in a press conference following confirmation, that “Europe is strong. Europe is united” and “we have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget. These were of course difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans. This is a good deal. This is a strong deal”.

In terms of the details, to assuage the Frugal 4 the plan will see Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden get a boost to their budget rebates, as had been expected. According to the FT, Netherlands PM Rutte also secured a condition that would allow any country to raise concerns that another was not honoring promises to reform its economy and temporarily halt transfers of EU recovery money. The plan also includes a condition to allow a weighted majority of EU governments to block payments to a particular country over rule-of-law violations.

The euro is trading little changed at $1.143 as we go to print which reflects the fact that much of this was already priced in. DAX futures and STOXX 50 futures are up a little over +0.50% and that follows a broadly positive tone across Asia too where the Nikkei (+0.68%), Hang Seng (+1.88%), Shanghai Comp (+0.07%), Kospi (+1.56%) and ASX (+2.03%) are all up. Futures on the S&P 500 are also up +0.15%.

European markets closed ahead of the summit conclusion, but the reaction was positive as investors priced in the strong chance of an agreement given that leaders had been prepare to extend this far. Sovereign debt rallied across the continent, with peripheral debt (in particular Italy’s) leading the advance. In fact by the close, the spread of Italian (-5.3bps) and Spanish (-4.1bps) 10yr yields over bunds had fallen to their lowest levels in over 4 months, with 2y BTP yields actually closing in negative territory again for the first time since early March. Meanwhile the euro itself rose for the 6th time in the last 7 sessions against the US dollar, reaching a 4-month high of $1.145, just shy of the $1.145 closing high for the year reached back in March.

In terms of the broader moves yesterday, equities generally moved higher on both sides of the Atlantic as the promising news on the recovery fund and vaccine developments (more below) came through. By the end of the session the S&P 500 (+0.84%) and the STOXX 600 (+0.75%) had both reached a new post-pandemic high, with tech stocks among the outperformers as the NASDAQ achieved yet another all-time high after the small underperformance last week, gaining +2.51%. Even with the mostly positive vaccine news, the S&P was led by the stay-at-home trade with AMZN (+7.93%), Citrix (+7.64%), and ServiceNow (+6.51%) the best performing stocks in the index, while airlines such as United Airlines were among the worst performers (-4.69%). US Treasuries rallied along with their European counterparts with 10yr yields falling -1.6bps.

On the coronavirus, the main development yesterday came from the Oxford vaccine trial, where results published in The Lancet journal showed that the vaccine led to increased levels of antibodies and T-cells, and did not cause serious adverse side effects. This was as part of the Phase 1 trial that involved 1,077 adults back in April-May. In response to the news, AstraZeneca shares surged to an intraday high of +10.16%, although they later gave up those gains to close just +1.45% higher. It seems it might have been a case of buy the rumor, sell the fact as these results were hyped up last week and perhaps didn’t exceed expectations.

There is no doubt the news over the last few weeks on vaccine developments have been incrementally positive. However it is still likely to be some months before the leaders complete the trial stages and are in a position for mass distribution if we get that far. And with society still needing to find a way to live with the coronavirus, news came through yesterday of further restrictions in the US, with Chicago announcing they were retightening restrictions on bars and restaurants, and NY Governor Cuomo threatening to close all bars and restaurants if social distancing rules continued to be broken. That said, in three of the worst affected states, case growth was below the previous 7-day average, with Florida (3% vs. 3.8% previously), California (2.3% vs. 2.7%) and Arizona (1.1% vs. 2.3% previously) seeing a slowdown in the number of new cases. The US overall saw cases rise by 1.5% vs. the weekly average of 1.9%. There continues to be some Monday effects as states try and catch up from lower testing levels on the weekend, however 7-day averages for these states continue to slow slightly from what we saw 1-2 weeks back. The attention now moves to how the states’ economies have been affected and how quickly they can more fully suppress the spread.

Against this backdrop, and worries that rising case growth in the southern US has in turn led to a reversal in the economic recovery, US stimulus talks have taken front stage as there will be concerns for how much financial conditions could tighten in the US if something is not done by the end of the month. Yesterday, White House officials met with senior Republican Congress officials to hammer out details of the newest relief bill. U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that the next round of stimulus will focus on incentives for getting children back to school and workers back to their jobs. He noted that Republicans are “starting with another trillion dollars”, which is a change from senators who said $1tr was their ceiling. House Republican leader McCarthy, told reporters that the initial Republican proposal would include cutting the payroll tax, which has been a central demand of President Trump, and will include another round of direct stimulus payments to individuals. Though the direct payments may be more tailored this time around. One big sticking point for the GOP and Democrats will be any additional aid for state and local governments, and Democratic proposals to keep supplemental payments for unemployment insurance at the $600. Overnight, Bloomberg has reported that Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will meet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today afternoon to start negotiations on the stimulus bill.

In other news, Bloomberg has reported that Judy Shelton, President Donald Trump’s pick to join the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, was poised to clear a key hurdle to confirmation after Louisiana Senator John Kennedy said overnight that he would back Shelton. Shelton and fellow nominee Christopher Waller, director of research at the St. Louis Fed, will finally receive their committee votes more than five months after appearing before the panel to answer questions. The committee will meet at 2 pm Washington time.

Back to markets and another asset class that performed strongly yesterday were precious metals, which have done well this year on the back of demand for haven assets and high central bank liquidity. By the close, gold had reached a fresh 8-year high of $1,818, with the advance cementing its performance as one of the top assets on an YTD basis, being up +19.80% since the start of the year. Meanwhile, silver advanced +3.01% to reach a 3-year high, and both platinum (+0.98%) and palladium (+1.49%) recorded strong performances. Other commodities had a more subdued performance however, with Brent Crude (+0.32%) and WTI (+0.54%) both just slightly higher.

There wasn’t a great deal on the data front yesterday, though Germany’s PPI reading showed producer prices falling by -1.8% year-on-year in June (vs. -1.7% expected). The other data out was the Euro Area current account balance, with the current account surplus in May coming in at €8.0bn, which was its lowest level since June 2015.

To the day ahead now, and data highlights include UK public sector borrowing for June, Canada’s retail sales for May, and from the US there’s the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for June. Central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, while earnings releases feature The Coca-Cola Company, Texas Instruments, Philip Morris and Lockheed Martin.

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US Confirms 2nd Carrier Group En Route To “Deter Hostile Actions Against Israel”

US Confirms 2nd Carrier Group En Route To "Deter Hostile Actions Against Israel"

Update (2100ET): The Pentagon has ordered a second carrier…



US Confirms 2nd Carrier Group En Route To "Deter Hostile Actions Against Israel"

Update (2100ET): The Pentagon has ordered a second carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to two US officials, as Israel prepares to expand its Gaza operations.

The first carrier strike group, led by the USS Gerald R. Ford, arrived off the coast of Israel earlier this week.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Saturday night that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrying nine aircraft squadrons, as well as two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser, will soon join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier group in the region to “deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas's attack on Israel.”

The Biden administration made clear that the carrier, and its accompanying force, are not there to engage in combat activities on behalf of Israel but rather to deter others from entering the conflict, including Hezbollah.

“The increases to US force Posture signal the United States' ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war,” Austin stated.


Additionally, the US administration has so far ruled out sending military personnel into Gaza as part of any Israeli ground invasion or attempt to free American hostages there, only aiding the IDF with intelligence and operation planning.

*  *  *

Update (1330ET): The Israeli military has announced it is prepared for a coordinated air, ground and naval offensive in the Gaza Strip "very soon," according to reports from AP.

In a nationally broadcast address Saturday night, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari issued a new appeal to residents to move to the southern Gaza Strip.

“We are going to broadly attack Gaza City very soon,” he said.

He accused Hamas of trying to use civilians as human shields.

Meanwhile, the social media rhetoric between leaders has gone to '11'...

Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei expects a "complete victory"...

Calling on all Muslims to join the fight...

Israeli PM Netanyahu made his views very clear:

Live feeds below on Gaza: 

*  *  *

Israeli media is reporting a "greenlight" has been given for the expected major Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip as massive convoys of Palestinian civilians have been observed fleeing to the southern part of the densely populated strip. So far there has been limited ground incursions by the army into the strip, targeting Hamas operatives and reportedly to gain intelligence on the whereabouts of hostages. 

The United Nations has issued a report saying at least 423,000 Palestinians have already been internally displaced within Gaza and this massive figure is expected to ratchet further. Likely it has surpassed a half-million as of Saturday, following the Israeli-issued evacuation order, which included dropping thousands of leaflets and warnings over Gaza City. 

Via The Guardian

The UN said it "considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences." Middle East Eye and other regional sources have said over 700 Palestinian children were killed in one week of fighting. As of Friday Israel authorities tallied that over 1,300 Israelis were killed by the Hamas terror attacks on the southern settlements and the music festival, and rocket fire, with at least 3,200 wounded. 27 among the dead were Americans.

Middle East Eye on Saturday reports the following of the mounting Palestinian death toll in both Gaza and the West bank as follows:

Israel has killed at least 2,215 people in Gaza over the past week, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Of those killed, 724 are children and 458 are women. Some 8,714 people have been wounded in the besieged enclave in that time, it added. 

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have killed 54 people and wounded 1,100 others in the occupied West Bank.

According to a review of the last hours of developments, the population is about to run out of water as the remaining supply dwindles after Israel cut off external supply sources

  • UN agency for Palestinian refugees says its shelters in Gaza “are not safe anymore” as it warns water running our for besieged enclave’s residents.
  • More than 320 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours, including many women and children killed in Israeli air raids on convoys fleeing Gaza City, according to health officials.
  • The rising toll comes as Israel continues bombing Gaza a day after telling 1.1 million residents to head south ahead of a looming ground offensive following Hamas’s attack inside Israel last week.
  • At least 2,215 Palestinians have been killed and 8,714 wounded in Israeli air attacks on Gaza. The number of people killed in Israel has reached 1,300, with more than 3,400 wounded.
  • In the occupied West Bank, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the past week has topped 50. More than 1,000 have been wounded and hundreds arrested.

The fate of the estimated 100 to 200 hostages in Hamas captivity still remains largely unknown, but Hamas in statements which have been underreported in Western press has claimed that over two dozen of the hostages have been killed by the IDF's ongoing aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip

Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said nine more captives were killed in indiscriminate Israeli shelling in the last 24 hours, including a number of foreigners

Qassam has previously announced the death of 17 captives in Israeli air stikes in Gaza over the past week. 

Sky News and others are also reporting, based on Israeli sources, that bodies of hostages have been recovered after some of the initial IDF infantry cross-border raids which began Friday into Saturday:

Raids carried out on the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces discovered human remains of those who had been missing since Hamas's attack last weekend, local media is reporting.

According to Haaretz, armed forces entered an enclave where it is thought up to 200 people were being held hostage by Hamas, and retrieved the bodies of several people.

Items belonging to the missing people were also discovered. 

The US said Friday it chartered its first successful evacuation flight, with talk of more to come.

TOI: A military official at the forensic center at the Military Rabbinate's headquarters in Ramle stands in front of the remains of the victims of Hamas's October 7 shock onslaught in Israel, October 13, 2023. Flash90

There are Americans (many of them likely dual nationals) among the population of Gaza, which Washington says it is trying to facilitate safe exit for as Israeli airstrikes continue. Dangerously, the lone Raffah border crossing into Egypt has at this point been bombed several times. 

But regional media is reporting there's been a diplomatic breakthrough on this front, as Israel, Egypt, and the United States have forged an agreement to let foreigners residing in Gaza pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Scene from the frontlines as the IDF build-up outside Gaza continues:

Huge civilian convoys have been witnessed fleeing to the southern half of Gaza, creating bottlenecks...

The Times of Israel cites a senior Egyptian official as follows:

The official says Israel has agreed to refrain from striking areas the foreigners would pass through on their way out of the besieged Palestinian territory. He adds that Qatar was involved in the negotiations and the participants received approval from the Palestinian terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The agreement  does not deal with hostages being held by Hamas.

A second official at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing point says they received “instructions” to reopen it on Saturday afternoon for foreigners coming from Gaza.

But Egypt is by and large not letting Gazans exit, even erecting bigger concrete barriers of extra border protection, amid what's setting up to be a catastrophic humanitarian crisis as the Israeli pressure ratchets.

The IDF says it is about to attack the northern half of the Gaza Strip with "great force" - while the US and other countries are urging for caution regarding Palestinian civilians. Below is rare footage of an elite Israeli rescue squad in action (intentionally blurred by IDF sources):

Washington has still all the while said it "stands with Israel" - and has not tried to actually halt the unrelenting IDF bombardment of civilian areas.

Meanwhile, things continue ratcheting in south Lebanon, with reports of new strikes being exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah, and other pro-Palestinian factions.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/14/2023 - 21:00

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Ukraine Vs Israel: Can The West Arm Both?

Ukraine Vs Israel: Can The West Arm Both?

Authored by William Van Wagenen via The Cradle,

Just three days after the Hamas-led Palestinian…



Ukraine Vs Israel: Can The West Arm Both?

Authored by William Van Wagenen via The Cradle,

Just three days after the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance launched an unprecedented military offensive against Israeli military posts and settlements by land, sea, and air, Israeli officials began begging their US sponsors for additional weapons. Politico reported this week that according to a senior Pentagon official, "The Biden administration is surging weapons to Israel, rapidly sending air defenses and munitions in response to Israeli officials’ urgent requests for aid."

“Planes have already taken off,” the senior official told reporters. Amidst this escalating crisis for the occupation state, it's worth pondering a crucial question: Can the US sustain a commitment to two significant existential conflicts involving vital allies in separate geographies simultaneously? 

The answer is likely no. Washington has already devoted over $100 billion in military aid to Ukraine to fight Russia, while facing a national debt spiraling out of control and spiking inflation.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Ukraine war was meant to be easier; the isolation and economic unraveling of its Russian adversary, was a cinch. Instead, 18 months on, the US is struggling to support Ukraine in a bloody war of attrition. Worse yet, Kiev’s well-publicized spring offensive that was meant to flip those odds has come to naught in the face of Russia’s overwhelming advantage in artillery and advanced missiles. 

AFP/Getty Images

Little territory has changed hands since Russian forces withdrew from Kharkiv and Kherson in late 2022, but the Ukrainian army has since been decimated by Russian artillery in theatres such as Bakhmut. 

"We think that Ukrainians have lost somewhere between 300 to 350 thousand dead, maybe more, hundreds of thousands of wounded," retired US Colonel Douglas Macgregor bluntly stated in August. "These attacks have utterly bled Ukraine white."

This grim reality has given rise to what the BBC has described as "Ukraine's army of amputees." In the first half of this year alone, some 15,000 soldiers joined their ranks, surpassing the total amputees the UK produced over six years during World War II.

While Ukraine faces a severe manpower shortage, western powers find themselves faced with a dearth of available weaponry to send to Kiev. Admiral Rob Bauer, NATO's highest-ranking military official, candidly admitted on October 3rd, "The bottom of the barrel is now visible" concerning the west's ammunition stockpile.

In a sign of the mounting strain, the US began transferring to Ukraine 300,000 155-millimeter shells it had stored in Israel as part of the War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSAI) program.

According to one Israeli officer, “Officially, all of this equipment belongs to the US military …. If, however, there is a conflict, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] can ask for permission to use some of the equipment.”

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder claimed the US would replenish these stocks of artillery shells stored in Israel. But the US does not have the ability to do so, as Ukraine has been using between 3,000 and 6,000 rounds per day, a quarter of what Russia has used on the battlefield.

CNN reported at the time that “The strain on weapons stockpiles – and the ability of the US industrial base to keep up with demand – is one of the key challenges facing the Biden administration.”

Israel's plea for US weapons

The US military-industrial complex is heavily geared to produce high-cost weapons systems and hardware, like the $412 billion F-35 warplane. While these programs undoubtedly benefit weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, they fall short in delivering the essential artillery required in vast quantities for a war of attrition against a formidable military.

Now that war has broken out between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, Kiev faces a competitor not only in Moscow, but in Tel Aviv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on 9 October expressed the fear that US and European support would shift away from Ukraine and toward Israel, and claimed on the social media platform X:

“We have data very clearly proving that Russia is interested in inciting war in the Middle East so that a new source of pain and suffering would erode global unity and exacerbate cleavages and controversies, helping Russia in destroying freedom in Europe.”

While the Ukraine lobby enjoys clout in Washington, the Israel lobby reigns supreme. It is unlikely the former will be able to override the efforts of the latter to redirect what few US weapons remain available away from the defense of the Jewish state.

Israel had consistently refused to send weapons to Ukraine...

That Israel is begging for US weapons just days into a conflict with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is alarming for the occupation state’s supporters, considering that none of the remaining Axis of Resistance members, including Hezbollah, Syria, Ansarallah, Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Iran, have yet formally entered the conflict.

Should Hezbollah fully join the fight, Israeli planners expect the Lebanese resistance movement to fire 4,000 missiles a day from northern Lebanon and send thousands of elite troops into Israel to take over towns or military bases.

Lessons from the 2006 war with Hezbollah 

Israel and Hezbollah fought a major battle in 2006, which forced the Israeli military to wage war against a more “conventional” military opponent, in contrast to the Palestinians it confronts daily in the West Bank and Gaza.

According to Matt Mathews of the US Army’s Combat Studies Institute, Israel was woefully unprepared to fight a “real war” in that conflict. He notes that as a result, Mossad Chief Meir Degan and the head of Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, pointedly told then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “the war was a national catastrophe and Israel suffered a critical blow.”

The 2006 war also exposed Israel’s reliance on US weapons, which nevertheless proved insufficient to defeat Hezbollah. During the war, Israel requested to access the WRSAI stockpile and that the US expedite the delivery of precision-guided munitions to Israel. Within just 10 days of fighting, Israel used most of its ammunition stock.

Years later, in July 2014, during Israeli military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel was again forced to rely on the WRSAI stockpile to replenish 120-mm tank rounds and 40-mm illumination rounds fired from grenade launchers.

The problems Israel faced in 2006 and 2014 will be compounded if the Axis of Resistance now takes the step of initiating its “unification of the fronts” campaign.

David Wurmer, Middle East adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney, told the Wall Street Journal on 10 October that “The nightmare scenario for the Israelis is that they go a week or two shooting down 6,000 to 10,000 Hamas missiles, and then they have nothing left to stop the Hezbollah missiles.” 

The silent threat of Iran’s missiles 

The situation for Israel becomes even more challenging if Iran joins the conflict, as the Islamic Republic possesses substantial stocks of short-range and medium-range missiles capable of reaching both Israel and US bases in the region.

The US and Israel often warn of the alleged threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, despite its civilian orientation, but seldom mention the threat posed by Iran’s burgeoning conventional missile program.

Israel’s actions express its worries more clearly than its words: in February of this year, Israel launched a drone attack against an Iranian military facility in Isfahan. According to Danny Yatom, a former head of the Mossad, the attack targeted a facility developing hypersonic missiles, which the New York Times described as “long-range munitions capable of traveling up to 15 times the speed of sound with terrifying accuracy.” 

A very different Palestinian resistance

In 1993, when Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn with President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Soviet Union had recently collapsed, while Iran was recovering from a bloody war with US-backed Iraq that killed one million people on both sides.

When Arafat signed the accords, accepting US and Israeli promises that they would pave the way for a future Palestinian state, the Palestinians had few allies they could rely on and were blindsided by Tel Aviv's actual intentions to fragment and destroy the Palestinian nation.

Through Oslo, the US and Israel created the “shared fiction,” to use New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s words, that a Palestinian state would be established at some future date. According to Friedman, this allowed Israel to continue to confiscate land to build Jewish settlements, while the US could keep “peace hopes there just barely alive,” as cover.

But now, more than 40 years later, the Palestinians are not alone. They are part of a region-wide Resistance Axis that has defeated US and Israeli agendas in a number of West Asian states, gaining invaluable fighting, organizational, and planning experience alongside reliable allies. 

Meanwhile, the pile of recent US-side failures keeps mounting: Russia's global clout spiked during the US proxy war in Ukraine; US adversaries China and Russia forged a multipolar world when Washington came at them; economic sanctions designed to cripple Russia and Iran only strengthened both states and sparked military collaborations. 

Crucially, Russia and Iran today possess the industrial capabilities to produce the military firepower the US and NATO cannot provide to allies in either Tel Aviv or Kiev.

Israel has already started the fight it may not be able to finish by declaring total war on Gaza’s civilian population, killing over 1,000, including hundreds of women and children, and flattening large swathes of the Gaza Strip in airstrikes. 

For Tel Aviv, Gaza has always been low-hanging fruit - the punching bag it seeks when it needs to look tough. But today, one misstep, one badly aimed missile, or one step too far, and Israel will face a regional war it cannot withstand for any significant period of time.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/14/2023 - 21:00

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Leftist Media Call Trump-Supporters “Far-Right”… For What?

Leftist Media Call Trump-Supporters "Far-Right"… For What?

Authored by Jack Hellner via,

As far as I can tell, anyone…



Leftist Media Call Trump-Supporters "Far-Right"... For What?

Authored by Jack Hellner via,

As far as I can tell, anyone who supports Trump - say, Jim Jordan - is labeled hard right. 

So which policies made Trump far-right, according to the media and other Democrats?

Enforcing border laws that Congress passed and building a wall?  The public seems to support that, so that would be a middle-of-the-road policy. 

Opposes sanctuary cities and states.  It appears that the leftists who claimed they were sanctuaries are rethinking their disastrous policies.

Being tough on crime instead of supporting soft-on-crime D.A.s.  That is not unpopular. 

Supporting limits on abortion.  Two thirds of Americans support limiting abortion to the first thirteen or fifteen weeks, just like Europe. 

Supporting lower tax rates and fewer regulations.  Those are not unpopular positions.  In fact, they lifted up the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.  Real wages rose rapidly, and poverty hit a record low at the end of 2019.  How can that be hard right? 

Opposing the teaching that the U.S. is a racist country.

Trump repeatedly denounced white supremacists just like almost all Americans. 

Trump didn’t want people to be fired for refusing to take a vaccine just like most Americans. 

Trump moved rapidly to get schools and businesses back open after the initial shutdown.  That is certainly not a far-right position. 

Trump supports school choice for the poor, just like the majority of Americans, especially minorities.  

Trump opposes allowing men to compete against women, just like most Americans.  He opposes allowing men to expose themselves in women’s locker rooms.

Trump supported drilling and energy independence.  That kept inflation low and helped the poor, the middle class, and small businesses. 

Trump does not believe that climate change is the greatest existential threat. 

Trump sought to make NATO pay what they were supposed to.  Why would that be an unpopular policy or far-right? 

Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, just as Congress and previous presidents had promised. 

Trump put a squeeze on Iran.  Why would it be far-right to cut off funding from a country that pledges death to America and death to Israel? 

Trump and his son-in-law made great progress in the Middle East with the Abraham accords.  That certainly is not hard-right. 

Trump challenged the 2020 election, just like how Democrats challenged the 2000, 2004, and 2016 election.  There is nothing far-right about challenging elections. 

Trump told people to march peacefully and patriotically to the capital to protest the election.  What is far-right about peace and patriotism?

Trump told the Germans they were stupid to rely on Russia for their energy.  He was right. 

Putin has attacked Ukraine while Obama and Biden were president, not Trump. 

Trump asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for corruption.  It would be a dereliction of duty for a president to learn of corruption and not investigate.  Sadly, the media and other Democrats impeached him for doing his job. 

Basically, Republicans like Trump and Jordan are called far-right by the media and other Democrats to intentionally mislead the public, just as they did with the fictional Russian collusion story. 

Democrats don’t want to debate their leftist policies because they are unpopular so they always go to the same playbook.  Call Republicans sexists, bigots, racists, and far- or hard-right.  They sure don’t care that the corrupt Clintons and Bidens have lined their pockets with illegal kickbacks for years. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/14/2023 - 18:40

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