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Key Events This Week: Retail Sales, Retail Earnings And Lots Of Fed Speakers

Key Events This Week: Retail Sales, Retail Earnings And Lots Of Fed Speakers

After several busy weeks, and with some 90% of S&P companies…



Key Events This Week: Retail Sales, Retail Earnings And Lots Of Fed Speakers

After several busy weeks, and with some 90% of S&P companies having already reported Q1 earnings, newsflow slows down and there are no blockbuster US data releases, but US retail sales (tomorrow) and a selection of US housing data will be the highlights. Across the globe, we will also see the monthly China economic activity data dump (tomorrow), GDP and CPI reports from Japan (Wednesday and Friday), along with labor market reports in the UK (tomorrow). In addition, there are a lot of central bank speakers, especially from the Fed. Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde both speak on Friday with the latter also up tomorrow.

Elsewhere the latest G7 summit starts on Friday in Hiroshima and earnings season still lingers with notable companies reporting being US retailers Walmart and Home Depot, along with China's tech giants Alibaba and Tencent.

Taking a more detailed look at the data, DB's Jim Reid starts with his preview of US retail sales tomorrow, where DB economists expect the headline to print at +0.7% in April, up from -0.6% previously, or +0.5% vs -0.4% ex autos (we will have a detailed retail sales preview later in the day). Headline will likely be boosted by strong auto sales in the month. The gain in ex-autos sales is likely to be gas price related while economists expect a flat reading on retail control (unch. vs. -0.3%), which is the direct input into GDP for goods spending. So consumption is grinding lower after a strong start to the year, something we detailed over the weekend in "There Goes The US Consumer: Card Data Reveal First Drop In Household Spending In Two Years As Upper-Income Wages Tumble, Unemployment Benefits Soar." Investors will also get a read on the US consumer from US retailers which report earnings, including Walmart (Thursday), Target (Wednesday) and Home Depot (tomorrow).

Tomorrow's NAHB housing market index (DB at 44 vs. 46) starts the week for US housing data and will be followed by Wednesday's housing starts and permits and then Thursday's existing home sales.

Thursday's jobless claims will be more important than usual for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is the survey week for the next payrolls release and secondly we saw it confirmed on Friday that a decent slug of the recent rise in claims were likely due to fraudulent filings in Massachusetts. This state seems to have accounted for around half the +23% rise in the 4-week moving average claims number from the late January lows. The 4-week moving average for continuing claims is up around 10% this year so the labor market is easing but not quite as much as the raw claims numbers had suggested.

In Europe, the UK labor market data tomorrow will be interesting following last week's twelfth consecutive BoE meeting hike. Whether the data shows persistent wage pressures, following the last hot print, will likely contribute to whether a pause is feasible at the next meeting on June 22, although another round of wages and inflation data will be due by then as well. The house view is that they will hike another 25bps in June which will be the last for the cycle but with the risks that there'll be more.  Elsewhere in Europe, key indicators include the ZEW survey (tomorrow) and the PPI report (Friday) for Germany and Q1 GDP, trade balance for March (tomorrow) and industrial production (today) for the Eurozone.

This week will also be a busy one for the major Asian economies. Starting with Japan, Q1 GDP will be released on Wednesday, trade balance data on Thursday, and the CPI report on Friday.

In China, investors will be focused on the latest economic activity signals tomorrow, with the release of retail sales, industrial production and property investment data. Amid base effects, our economists expect +11% and +21% YoY growth in industrial production and retail sales, respectively (vs 3.9% and 10.6% in March). The industrial production print and its contrast with retail sales will be especially in focus given flailing momentum in the former. New home prices data are due on Wednesday.

China will also be in the spotlight for corporate earnings this week. Its tech giants, including Alibaba (Thursday), Tencent (Wednesday) and Baidu (Tuesday) will be among the most anticipated reports. The full day-by-day week ahead in at the end as usual.

Q1 earnings season is in its final stages, with 80-90% of companies having reported in the US and in Europe. Earnings growth came in better than consensus expected, at -3% y/y in the US, and +3% y/y in Europe, which is a positive surprise factor of 7% and 10% vs IBES estimates, respectively. The low hurdle rate entering the reporting season, combined with the improving fundamentals during the quarter, has likely helped S&P500 blended EPS inflect higher. The last week of earnings as usual focuses on retailers, and we will hear from Walmart (Thursday), Target (Wednesday) and Home Depot (tomorrow).

Source: earnings whispers

Below is a day-by-day calendar of events courtesy of DB:

Monday May 15

  • Data: US May Empire manufacturing index, Japan April PPI, machine tool orders, Italy March general government debt, Eurozone March industrial production, Canada March wholesale trade sales, April housing starts, existing home sales
  • Central banks: Fed's Bostic, Kashkari and Cook speak, ECB's Nagel speaks, BoE's Pill speaks
  • Earnings: Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho, Catalent

Tuesday May 16

  • Data: US May New York Fed services business activity, NAHB housing market index, April retail sales, industrial production, capacity utilization, March business inventories, China April retail sales, industrial production, property investment, UK Q1 output per hour, March average weekly earnings, employment change, April payrolled employees monthly change, Germany and Eurozone May ZEW survey, Eurozone Q1 GDP, employment, March trade balance, Canada April CPI, March manufacturing sales
  • Central banks: Fed's Mester, Logan and Williams speak, Fed's Barr testifies before House Financial Services Committee, ECB's Lagarde and Makhlouf speak
  • Earnings: Home Depot, Baidu, Vodafone
  • Others: Joe Biden meets with Congressional Republicans to try to hammer out a deal on the debt ceiling. As covered above, this will be the key theme for the week. We will also see industrial production and retail sales numbers out of China (will that consumer-led revival materialize?) UK employment data, the German ZEW survey, US retail sales and Canadian CPI. ECB Chief Christine Lagarde will be providing comment, as will the ECB’s Makhlouf and a slew of Fed speakers that includes Mester, Barr, Williams, Goolsbee and Bostic.

Wednesday May 17

  • Data: US April housing starts, building permits, China April new home prices, Japan Q1 GDP, Japan March capacity utilization, Italy March trade balance, France Q1 ilo unemployment rate, EU27 April new car registrations
  • Central banks: Fed's Bostic and Goolsbee speak, ECB's Guindos speaks
  • Earnings: Target, TJX, Cisco, Take-Two, Tencent, Siemens
  • Other: Wednesday: Preliminary 1st quarter GDP data for Japan will kick off a relatively quiet day. The market is looking for a read of 0.2% q-o-q for GDP and 2.1% y-o-y for the price deflator. We will get US housing numbers for April later in the day where starts are seen falling slightly to 1400 for the month. De Cos, Elderson Centeno, Rehn and Guindos will all be in action for the ECB.

Thursday May 18

  • Data: US May Philadelphia Fed business outlook, April leading index, existing home sales, initial jobless claims, Japan April trade balance
  • Central banks: Fed's Jefferson and Logan speak, Fed's Barr testifies before Senate Banking Committee, BoE's Pill speaks, BoC's Financial System Review
  • Earnings: Alibaba, Walmart, Applied Materials, SQM, BT, easyJet
  • Other: Thursday is Aussie jobs Day. The expectation is for 25,000 new positions added in April with the unemployment rate to remain steady at 3.5% and participation also steady at 66.7%. US initial jobless claims will be released later in the day. Expectation there is for a figure of 252,000, well down on the prior read of 264,000. We will also get the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for May and the Bank of Canada’s Financial System Review. In terms of central bank speakers, human headline Huw Pill will be in action, as will BOE Governor Andrew Bailey, De Guindos from the ECB and the Fed’s Jefferson, Barr and Logan will also be speaking.

Friday May 19

  • Data: UK May GfK consumer confidence, Japan April CPI, March tertiary industry index, Germany April PPI, Canada March retail sales
  • Central banks: Fed's Powell, Williams and Bowman speak, ECB's Lagarde, De Cos and Schnabel speak, BoE's Haskel speaks
  • Earnings: Deere
  • Other:  Kiwi trade balance numbers start us off on Friday. Bloomberg provides no estimates for this, but another atrocious number seems a safe bet given recent form.  Japanese CPI figures will be out next with the market expecting prices to have risen 3.5% y-o-y in April (up three ticks from the previous month). Out of the UK we will get consumer confidence figures (likely diabolical) and the results of the Bloomberg economic survey, while in Germany we will see April PPI figures and over in the US we will also get results for the Bloomberg economic survey. The Bank of England’s Haskell will be speaking, as will the Fed’s Williams and Bowman. Later on Jerome Powell will be speaking on a panel with Ben Bernanke, while from the ECB we will hear from Lagarde, Schnabel and de Cos.

* * *

Finally, focusing on just the US, Goldman writes that the key economic data releases this week are retail sales on Tuesday and the Philly Fed manufacturing index on Thursday. There are many speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell; Vice Chair Nominee Jefferson; governors Cook, Barr, and Bowman; and presidents Bostic, Goolsbee, Kashkari, Mester, Williams, and Logan.

Monday, May 15

  • 07:30 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will participate in an interview with CNBC. On April 20, Bostic said, “Our policy works with the lag. We’ll have moved firmly into restrictive space. And then I think it’s time for us to let the restrictive action work its way through. And that will take some time.”
  • 08:30 AM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in an interview with CNBC. On May 10, Goolsbee said, “You don’t want to land the plane nose down. So we’re trying to balance off — can we slow the inflation without sending it into a recession…We’ve had some promising indicators on that front, but it’s always a possibility.” On May 8, he said, “I am certainly getting vibes…in the market and in the business context that a credit crunch or, at least, a credit squeeze, is beginning.”
  • 08:30 AM Empire State manufacturing survey, May (consensus -4.0, last +10.8)
  • 08:45 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will deliver welcoming remarks at the Atlanta Fed’s annual financial markets conference.
  • 09:15 AM Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari (FOMC voter) speaks: Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will participate in a moderated discussion at the ACEC's Minnesota Transportation Conference & Expo. Q&A with audience is expected. On May 11, Kashkari said, “Inflation has come down but it’s still well above our 2% target. We have seen some softening in wage growth nationally, but it’s very mixed…We’ve been surprised at how high it got, we’ve been surprised at how persistent it’s been. And it’s coming down – there is some evidence that it’s coming down. But so far it’s been pretty darn persistent. That means we’re going to keep at it for an extended period of time.”
  • 02:00 PM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will participate in an interview with Bloomberg TV at 2:00 PM and hold a media Q&A at the Atlanta Fed’s financial markets conference at 3:00 PM.
  • 05:00 PM Fed Governor Cook speaks: Fed Governor Lisa Cook will deliver a commencement address at the U.C. Berkeley Spring 2023 Economics Commencement. Speech text is expected. On April 21, Cook said, “Currently, with the federal funds rate target near 5%, I am looking at what rate will be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation down to 2%, over time…If tighter financing conditions are a significant headwind on the economy, the appropriate path of the federal funds rate may be lower than it would be in their absence. But if data show continued strength in the economy and slower disinflation, we may have more work to do.”

Tuesday, May 16

  • 08:15 AM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will discuss the economic and policy outlook at a Global Interdependence Center event hosted by the Central Bank of Ireland. Speech text and a Q&A with the audience are expected. On April 20, Mester said, “I anticipate that monetary policy will need to move somewhat further into restrictive territory this year, with the fed funds rate moving above 5% and the real fed funds rate staying in positive territory for some time. Precisely how much higher the federal funds rate will need to go from here and for how long policy will need to remain restrictive will depend on economic and financial developments.”
  • 08:30 AM Retail sales, April (GS +1.3%, consensus +0.8%, last -0.6%); Retail sales ex-auto, April (GS +0.8%, consensus +0.4%, last -0.4%) ;Retail sales ex-auto & gas, April (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.2%, last -0.3%); Core retail sales, April (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.3%, last -0.3%): We estimate core retail sales rebounded by 0.5% in April (ex-autos, gasoline, and building materials; mom sa). Our forecast reflects a rebound in high-frequency consumer spending data, including in mall-based categories such as clothing stores. However, we expect another month of flat-to-down grocery spending due to the expiration of pandemic food stamp benefits. We estimate a 1.3% rise in headline retail sales, reflecting higher auto sales and gasoline prices.
  • 09:15 AM Industrial production, April (GS +0.2%, consensus flat, last +0.4%); Manufacturing production, April (GS +0.3%, consensus +0.1%, last -0.5%); Capacity utilization, April (GS 79.8%, consensus 79.7%, last 79.8%): We estimate industrial production increased 0.2% in April, as stronger auto production is partially offset by weaker natural gas utilities. We estimate capacity utilization remained at 79.8%.
  • 10:00 AM Business inventories, March (consensus flat, last +0.2%)
  • 10:00 AM NAHB housing market index, May (consensus 45, last 45)
  • 10:00 AM Fed Governor Barr speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr will testify before the House Financial Services Committee in its Semiannual Hearing on Supervision and Regulation. Speech text will be available.
  • 12:15 PM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will participate in a moderated discussion on the economic outlook and monetary policy at an event hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands. On May 9, Williams said, “We haven't said we are done raising rates…We've made incredible progress" but "if additional policy firming is appropriate, we'll do that.” He added, “In my forecast I see a need to keep a restrictive stance of policy in place for quite some time to make sure we really bring inflation down from 4% all the way to 2%. I do not see in my baseline forecast any reason to cut interest rates this year.”
  • 02:30 PM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
  • 03:15 PM Dallas Fed President Logan (FOMC voter) speaks: Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will moderate a panel discussion at the Atlanta Fed's Financial Markets Conference. Q&A with audience is expected. On April 20, Logan said, “Over the past six weeks, I’ve also been closely watching the effects of stresses in the banking system—both on the macroeconomy and on local communities, especially here in Texas where small and midsize banks are so important. Smaller banks are particularly significant in small business, rural, middle-market, and commercial real estate lending.”
  • 07:00 PM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) and Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speak: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in a moderated discussion on the economic outlook during the Atlanta Fed’s annual financial markets conference. On May 10, Goolsbee said, “You don’t want to land the plane nose down. So we’re trying to balance off — can we slow the inflation without sending it into a recession…We’ve had some promising indicators on that on that front, but it’s always a possibility.” On May 8, he said, “I am certainly getting vibes…in the market and in the business context that a credit crunch or, at least, a credit squeeze, is beginning.”

Wednesday, May 17

  • 08:30 AM Housing starts, April (GS -1.1%, consensus -1.4%, last -0.8%): Building permits, April (consensus flat, last -7.7%)

Thursday, May 18

  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended May 13 (GS 240k, consensus 252k, last 264k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended May 6 (consensus 1,818k, last 1,813k): We estimate that initial jobless claims fell to 240k in the week ended May 13. Last week’s jump in initial claims partly reflected fraudulent filings in Massachusetts. Our forecast assumes that those fraudulent filings—which we estimate could be boosting the level of claims by roughly 20-30k—are curtailed. While the annual seasonal factor revisions that took place last month appear to have resolved most of the seasonal distortions in initial claims, we believe the revisions may have intensified the distortions in continuing claims. Those distortions have likely contributed to the net decline over the last few prints, and we estimate they could exert a cumulative drag on the level of continuing claims of up to 400k between April and September.
  • 08:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, May (GS -16.0, consensus -19.8, last -31.3): We estimate that the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rebounded 15.3 points to -16 in May, reflecting the gradual rebound in East Asian trade and industrial activity following weakness in the winter.
  • 09:05 AM Fed Governor Jefferson speaks: Fed Governor Philip Jefferson will deliver a speech on the economic outlook at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) International Insurance Forum. Speech text is expected. On May 9, Jefferson said, “The economy has started to slow in an orderly fashion...I am of the view that inflation will start to come down and the economy will have the opportunity to continue to expand.” President Biden will nominate Jefferson as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve.
  • 09:30 AM Fed Governor Barr speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr will testify before the Senate Banking Committee in its Semiannual Hearing on Supervision and Regulation. Speech text will be made available. Barr released the review of the Fed’s supervision and regulation of Silicon Valley Bank on April 28.
  • 10:00 AM Dallas Fed President Logan (FOMC voter) speaks: Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will deliver a speech, followed by moderated Q&A with audience, at Texas Bankers Association’s annual convention.
  • 10:00 AM Existing home sales, April (GS -5.0%, consensus -3.2%, last -2.4%)

Friday, May 19

  • 08:45 AM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will deliver a keynote address at a monetary policy research conference hosted by the Fed.
  • 09:00 AM Fed Governor Bowman speaks: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will participate in a discussion at the Texas Bankers Association Annual Convention. Speech text and a moderated Q&A are expected. On May 12, Bowman said, “Should inflation remain high and the labor market remain tight, additional monetary policy tightening will likely be appropriate to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance of monetary policy to lower inflation over time. I also expect that our policy rate will need to remain sufficiently restrictive for some time to bring inflation down and create conditions that will support a sustainably strong labor market.”
  • 11:00 AM Fed Chair Powell speaks: Fed Chair Jerome Powell and former chair Ben Bernanke will participate in a panel discussion during a monetary policy research conference hosted by the Fed. At the May FOMC meeting, Powell said that he does not expect a recession, unlike the Fed staff, and he made his clearest statement so far that he thinks a soft landing is possible and finds the labor market rebalancing to date encouraging, views that we share. We see this as dovish too—if Powell thinks that a recession is not necessary to solve the inflation problem, he will be reluctant to deliver future hikes that he thinks would materially raise the risk of pushing the economy into a recession.

Source: DB, Goldman, Rabobank, BofA

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/15/2023 - 10:15

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Four Years Ago This Week, Freedom Was Torched

Four Years Ago This Week, Freedom Was Torched

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

"Beware the Ides of March,” Shakespeare…



Four Years Ago This Week, Freedom Was Torched

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

"Beware the Ides of March,” Shakespeare quotes the soothsayer’s warning Julius Caesar about what turned out to be an impending assassination on March 15. The death of American liberty happened around the same time four years ago, when the orders went out from all levels of government to close all indoor and outdoor venues where people gather. 

It was not quite a law and it was never voted on by anyone. Seemingly out of nowhere, people who the public had largely ignored, the public health bureaucrats, all united to tell the executives in charge – mayors, governors, and the president – that the only way to deal with a respiratory virus was to scrap freedom and the Bill of Rights. 

And they did, not only in the US but all over the world. 

The forced closures in the US began on March 6 when the mayor of Austin, Texas, announced the shutdown of the technology and arts festival South by Southwest. Hundreds of thousands of contracts, of attendees and vendors, were instantly scrapped. The mayor said he was acting on the advice of his health experts and they in turn pointed to the CDC, which in turn pointed to the World Health Organization, which in turn pointed to member states and so on. 

There was no record of Covid in Austin, Texas, that day but they were sure they were doing their part to stop the spread. It was the first deployment of the “Zero Covid” strategy that became, for a time, official US policy, just as in China. 

It was never clear precisely who to blame or who would take responsibility, legal or otherwise. 

This Friday evening press conference in Austin was just the beginning. By the next Thursday evening, the lockdown mania reached a full crescendo. Donald Trump went on nationwide television to announce that everything was under control but that he was stopping all travel in and out of US borders, from Europe, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. American citizens would need to return by Monday or be stuck. 

Americans abroad panicked while spending on tickets home and crowded into international airports with waits up to 8 hours standing shoulder to shoulder. It was the first clear sign: there would be no consistency in the deployment of these edicts. 

There is no historical record of any American president ever issuing global travel restrictions like this without a declaration of war. Until then, and since the age of travel began, every American had taken it for granted that he could buy a ticket and board a plane. That was no longer possible. Very quickly it became even difficult to travel state to state, as most states eventually implemented a two-week quarantine rule. 

The next day, Friday March 13, Broadway closed and New York City began to empty out as any residents who could went to summer homes or out of state. 

On that day, the Trump administration declared the national emergency by invoking the Stafford Act which triggers new powers and resources to the Federal Emergency Management Administration. 

In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a classified document, only to be released to the public months later. The document initiated the lockdowns. It still does not exist on any government website.

The White House Coronavirus Response Task Force, led by the Vice President, will coordinate a whole-of-government approach, including governors, state and local officials, and members of Congress, to develop the best options for the safety, well-being, and health of the American people. HHS is the LFA [Lead Federal Agency] for coordinating the federal response to COVID-19.

Closures were guaranteed:

Recommend significantly limiting public gatherings and cancellation of almost all sporting events, performances, and public and private meetings that cannot be convened by phone. Consider school closures. Issue widespread ‘stay at home’ directives for public and private organizations, with nearly 100% telework for some, although critical public services and infrastructure may need to retain skeleton crews. Law enforcement could shift to focus more on crime prevention, as routine monitoring of storefronts could be important.

In this vision of turnkey totalitarian control of society, the vaccine was pre-approved: “Partner with pharmaceutical industry to produce anti-virals and vaccine.”

The National Security Council was put in charge of policy making. The CDC was just the marketing operation. That’s why it felt like martial law. Without using those words, that’s what was being declared. It even urged information management, with censorship strongly implied.

The timing here is fascinating. This document came out on a Friday. But according to every autobiographical account – from Mike Pence and Scott Gottlieb to Deborah Birx and Jared Kushner – the gathered team did not meet with Trump himself until the weekend of the 14th and 15th, Saturday and Sunday. 

According to their account, this was his first real encounter with the urge that he lock down the whole country. He reluctantly agreed to 15 days to flatten the curve. He announced this on Monday the 16th with the famous line: “All public and private venues where people gather should be closed.”

This makes no sense. The decision had already been made and all enabling documents were already in circulation. 

There are only two possibilities. 

One: the Department of Homeland Security issued this March 13 HHS document without Trump’s knowledge or authority. That seems unlikely. 

Two: Kushner, Birx, Pence, and Gottlieb are lying. They decided on a story and they are sticking to it. 

Trump himself has never explained the timeline or precisely when he decided to greenlight the lockdowns. To this day, he avoids the issue beyond his constant claim that he doesn’t get enough credit for his handling of the pandemic.

With Nixon, the famous question was always what did he know and when did he know it? When it comes to Trump and insofar as concerns Covid lockdowns – unlike the fake allegations of collusion with Russia – we have no investigations. To this day, no one in the corporate media seems even slightly interested in why, how, or when human rights got abolished by bureaucratic edict. 

As part of the lockdowns, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which was and is part of the Department of Homeland Security, as set up in 2018, broke the entire American labor force into essential and nonessential.

They also set up and enforced censorship protocols, which is why it seemed like so few objected. In addition, CISA was tasked with overseeing mail-in ballots. 

Only 8 days into the 15, Trump announced that he wanted to open the country by Easter, which was on April 12. His announcement on March 24 was treated as outrageous and irresponsible by the national press but keep in mind: Easter would already take us beyond the initial two-week lockdown. What seemed to be an opening was an extension of closing. 

This announcement by Trump encouraged Birx and Fauci to ask for an additional 30 days of lockdown, which Trump granted. Even on April 23, Trump told Georgia and Florida, which had made noises about reopening, that “It’s too soon.” He publicly fought with the governor of Georgia, who was first to open his state. 

Before the 15 days was over, Congress passed and the president signed the 880-page CARES Act, which authorized the distribution of $2 trillion to states, businesses, and individuals, thus guaranteeing that lockdowns would continue for the duration. 

There was never a stated exit plan beyond Birx’s public statements that she wanted zero cases of Covid in the country. That was never going to happen. It is very likely that the virus had already been circulating in the US and Canada from October 2019. A famous seroprevalence study by Jay Bhattacharya came out in May 2020 discerning that infections and immunity were already widespread in the California county they examined. 

What that implied was two crucial points: there was zero hope for the Zero Covid mission and this pandemic would end as they all did, through endemicity via exposure, not from a vaccine as such. That was certainly not the message that was being broadcast from Washington. The growing sense at the time was that we all had to sit tight and just wait for the inoculation on which pharmaceutical companies were working. 

By summer 2020, you recall what happened. A restless generation of kids fed up with this stay-at-home nonsense seized on the opportunity to protest racial injustice in the killing of George Floyd. Public health officials approved of these gatherings – unlike protests against lockdowns – on grounds that racism was a virus even more serious than Covid. Some of these protests got out of hand and became violent and destructive. 

Meanwhile, substance abuse rage – the liquor and weed stores never closed – and immune systems were being degraded by lack of normal exposure, exactly as the Bakersfield doctors had predicted. Millions of small businesses had closed. The learning losses from school closures were mounting, as it turned out that Zoom school was near worthless. 

It was about this time that Trump seemed to figure out – thanks to the wise council of Dr. Scott Atlas – that he had been played and started urging states to reopen. But it was strange: he seemed to be less in the position of being a president in charge and more of a public pundit, Tweeting out his wishes until his account was banned. He was unable to put the worms back in the can that he had approved opening. 

By that time, and by all accounts, Trump was convinced that the whole effort was a mistake, that he had been trolled into wrecking the country he promised to make great. It was too late. Mail-in ballots had been widely approved, the country was in shambles, the media and public health bureaucrats were ruling the airwaves, and his final months of the campaign failed even to come to grips with the reality on the ground. 

At the time, many people had predicted that once Biden took office and the vaccine was released, Covid would be declared to have been beaten. But that didn’t happen and mainly for one reason: resistance to the vaccine was more intense than anyone had predicted. The Biden administration attempted to impose mandates on the entire US workforce. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, that effort was thwarted but not before HR departments around the country had already implemented them. 

As the months rolled on – and four major cities closed all public accommodations to the unvaccinated, who were being demonized for prolonging the pandemic – it became clear that the vaccine could not and would not stop infection or transmission, which means that this shot could not be classified as a public health benefit. Even as a private benefit, the evidence was mixed. Any protection it provided was short-lived and reports of vaccine injury began to mount. Even now, we cannot gain full clarity on the scale of the problem because essential data and documentation remains classified. 

After four years, we find ourselves in a strange position. We still do not know precisely what unfolded in mid-March 2020: who made what decisions, when, and why. There has been no serious attempt at any high level to provide a clear accounting much less assign blame. 

Not even Tucker Carlson, who reportedly played a crucial role in getting Trump to panic over the virus, will tell us the source of his own information or what his source told him. There have been a series of valuable hearings in the House and Senate but they have received little to no press attention, and none have focus on the lockdown orders themselves. 

The prevailing attitude in public life is just to forget the whole thing. And yet we live now in a country very different from the one we inhabited five years ago. Our media is captured. Social media is widely censored in violation of the First Amendment, a problem being taken up by the Supreme Court this month with no certainty of the outcome. The administrative state that seized control has not given up power. Crime has been normalized. Art and music institutions are on the rocks. Public trust in all official institutions is at rock bottom. We don’t even know if we can trust the elections anymore. 

In the early days of lockdown, Henry Kissinger warned that if the mitigation plan does not go well, the world will find itself set “on fire.” He died in 2023. Meanwhile, the world is indeed on fire. The essential struggle in every country on earth today concerns the battle between the authority and power of permanent administration apparatus of the state – the very one that took total control in lockdowns – and the enlightenment ideal of a government that is responsible to the will of the people and the moral demand for freedom and rights. 

How this struggle turns out is the essential story of our times. 

CODA: I’m embedding a copy of PanCAP Adapted, as annotated by Debbie Lerman. You might need to download the whole thing to see the annotations. If you can help with research, please do.

*  *  *

Jeffrey Tucker is the author of the excellent new book 'Life After Lock-Down'

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 23:40

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CDC Warns Thousands Of Children Sent To ER After Taking Common Sleep Aid

CDC Warns Thousands Of Children Sent To ER After Taking Common Sleep Aid

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




CDC Warns Thousands Of Children Sent To ER After Taking Common Sleep Aid

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) paper released Thursday found that thousands of young children have been taken to the emergency room over the past several years after taking the very common sleep-aid supplement melatonin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 23, 2020. (Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images)

The agency said that melatonin, which can come in gummies that are meant for adults, was implicated in about 7 percent of all emergency room visits for young children and infants “for unsupervised medication ingestions,” adding that many incidents were linked to the ingestion of gummy formulations that were flavored. Those incidents occurred between the years 2019 and 2022.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the human body to regulate its sleep cycle. Supplements, which are sold in a number of different formulas, are generally taken before falling asleep and are popular among people suffering from insomnia, jet lag, chronic pain, or other problems.

The supplement isn’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not require child-resistant packaging. However, a number of supplement companies include caps or lids that are difficult for children to open.

The CDC report said that a significant number of melatonin-ingestion cases among young children were due to the children opening bottles that had not been properly closed or were within their reach. Thursday’s report, the agency said, “highlights the importance of educating parents and other caregivers about keeping all medications and supplements (including gummies) out of children’s reach and sight,” including melatonin.

The approximately 11,000 emergency department visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestions by infants and young children during 2019–2022 highlight the importance of educating parents and other caregivers about keeping all medications and supplements (including gummies) out of children’s reach and sight.

The CDC notes that melatonin use among Americans has increased five-fold over the past 25 years or so. That has coincided with a 530 percent increase in poison center calls for melatonin exposures to children between 2012 and 2021, it said, as well as a 420 percent increase in emergency visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion by young children or infants between 2009 and 2020.

Some health officials advise that children under the age of 3 should avoid taking melatonin unless a doctor says otherwise. Side effects include drowsiness, headaches, agitation, dizziness, and bed wetting.

Other symptoms of too much melatonin include nausea, diarrhea, joint pain, anxiety, and irritability. The supplement can also impact blood pressure.

However, there is no established threshold for a melatonin overdose, officials have said. Most adult melatonin supplements contain a maximum of 10 milligrams of melatonin per serving, and some contain less.

Many people can tolerate even relatively large doses of melatonin without significant harm, officials say. But there is no antidote for an overdose. In cases of a child accidentally ingesting melatonin, doctors often ask a reliable adult to monitor them at home.

Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, with the Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington, told CNN that parents should speak with a doctor before giving their children the supplement.

“I also tell families, this is not something your child should take forever. Nobody knows what the long-term effects of taking this is on your child’s growth and development,” she told the outlet. “Taking away blue-light-emitting smartphones, tablets, laptops, and television at least two hours before bed will keep melatonin production humming along, as will reading or listening to bedtime stories in a softly lit room, taking a warm bath, or doing light stretches.”

In 2022, researchers found that in 2021, U.S. poison control centers received more than 52,000 calls about children consuming worrisome amounts of the dietary supplement. That’s a six-fold increase from about a decade earlier. Most such calls are about young children who accidentally got into bottles of melatonin, some of which come in the form of gummies for kids, the report said.

Dr. Karima Lelak, an emergency physician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the lead author of the study published in 2022 by the CDC, found that in about 83 percent of those calls, the children did not show any symptoms.

However, other children had vomiting, altered breathing, or other symptoms. Over the 10 years studied, more than 4,000 children were hospitalized, five were put on machines to help them breathe, and two children under the age of two died. Most of the hospitalized children were teenagers, and many of those ingestions were thought to be suicide attempts.

Those researchers also suggested that COVID-19 lockdowns and virtual learning forced more children to be at home all day, meaning there were more opportunities for kids to access melatonin. Also, those restrictions may have caused sleep-disrupting stress and anxiety, leading more families to consider melatonin, they suggested.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 21:40

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Red Candle In The Wind

Red Candle In The Wind

By Benjamin PIcton of Rabobank

February non-farm payrolls superficially exceeded market expectations on Friday by…



Red Candle In The Wind

By Benjamin PIcton of Rabobank

February non-farm payrolls superficially exceeded market expectations on Friday by printing at 275,000 against a consensus call of 200,000. We say superficially, because the downward revisions to prior months totalled 167,000 for December and January, taking the total change in employed persons well below the implied forecast, and helping the unemployment rate to pop two-ticks to 3.9%. The U6 underemployment rate also rose from 7.2% to 7.3%, while average hourly earnings growth fell to 0.2% m-o-m and average weekly hours worked languished at 34.3, equalling pre-pandemic lows.

Undeterred by the devil in the detail, the algos sprang into action once exchanges opened. Market darling NVIDIA hit a new intraday high of $974 before (presumably) the humans took over and sold the stock down more than 10% to close at $875.28. If our suspicions are correct that it was the AIs buying before the humans started selling (no doubt triggering trailing stops on the way down), the irony is not lost on us.

The 1-day chart for NVIDIA now makes for interesting viewing, because the red candle posted on Friday presents quite a strong bearish engulfing signal. Volume traded on the day was almost double the 15-day simple moving average, and similar price action is observable on the 1-day charts for both Intel and AMD. Regular readers will be aware that we have expressed incredulity in the past about the durability the AI thematic melt-up, so it will be interesting to see whether Friday’s sell off is just a profit-taking blip, or a genuine trend reversal.

AI equities aside, this week ought to be important for markets because the BTFP program expires today. That means that the Fed will no longer be loaning cash to the banking system in exchange for collateral pledged at-par. The KBW Regional Banking index has so far taken this in its stride and is trading 30% above the lows established during the mini banking crisis of this time last year, but the Fed’s liquidity facility was effectively an exercise in can-kicking that makes regional banks a sector of the market worth paying attention to in the weeks ahead. Even here in Sydney, regulators are warning of external risks posed to the banking sector from scheduled refinancing of commercial real estate loans following sharp falls in valuations.

Markets are sending signals in other sectors, too. Gold closed at a new record-high of $2178/oz on Friday after trading above $2200/oz briefly. Gold has been going ballistic since the Friday before last, posting gains even on days where 2-year Treasury yields have risen. Gold bugs are buying as real yields fall from the October highs and inflation breakevens creep higher. This is particularly interesting as gold ETFs have been recording net outflows; suggesting that price gains aren’t being driven by a retail pile-in. Are gold buyers now betting on a stagflationary outcome where the Fed cuts without inflation being anchored at the 2% target? The price action around the US CPI release tomorrow ought to be illuminating.

Leaving the day-to-day movements to one side, we are also seeing further signs of structural change at the macro level. The UK budget last week included a provision for the creation of a British ISA. That is, an Individual Savings Account that provides tax breaks to savers who invest their money in the stock of British companies. This follows moves last year to encourage pension funds to head up the risk curve by allocating 5% of their capital to unlisted investments.

As a Hail Mary option for a government cruising toward an electoral drubbing it’s a curious choice, but it’s worth highlighting as cash-strapped governments increasingly see private savings pools as a funding solution for their spending priorities.

Of course, the UK is not alone in making creeping moves towards financial repression. In contrast to announcements today of increased trade liberalisation, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has in the recent past flagged his interest in tapping private pension savings to fund state spending priorities, including defence, public housing and renewable energy projects. Both the UK and Australia appear intent on finding ways to open up the lungs of their economies, but government wants more say in directing private capital flows for state goals.

So, how far is the blurring of the lines between free markets and state planning likely to go? Given the immense and varied budgetary (and security) pressures that governments are facing, could we see a re-up of WWII-era Victory bonds, where private investors are encouraged to do their patriotic duty by directly financing government at negative real rates?

That would really light a fire under the gold market.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 19:00

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