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US Issues ‘Worldwide Caution’ For All Americans Overseas Amid Growing Gaza-Related Unrest

US Issues ‘Worldwide Caution’ For All Americans Overseas Amid Growing Gaza-Related Unrest

Following on the heels of the US Embassy in Beirut…



US Issues 'Worldwide Caution' For All Americans Overseas Amid Growing Gaza-Related Unrest

Following on the heels of the US Embassy in Beirut urging all American citizens out of Lebanon on Thursday, the US State Department has issued a "worldwide caution alert" for all US national traveling abroad, related to the war in Gaza.

The new alert cites the "potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests," and calls on Americans overseas to exercise increased caution

Clashes near the US embassy in Beirut on Wednesday, via AP.

The earlier updated travel alert for Lebanon had described "the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah or other armed militant factions."

The US government has further directed all Americans seeking to depart Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza as well to immediately fill out a "crisis intake form". 

There have been continuing protests and clashes with police by anti-Israel demonstrators in the neighborhood of the Beirut suburb where the US embassy is located. In Lebanon's south, exchanges of fire are growing between Hezbollah and the Israeli Army, with Friday reports of Hezbollah having launched multiple guided missiles.

As we've detailed before, major unrest and protests have popped up across the region, and into North Africa, and even Europe. The new US State Department advisory appears in response to growing anti-American sentiment due to Washington's staunch support to Israel, which has involved billions in aid and military equipment and ammunition transfers.

Meanwhile, CNN has produced the following alarming headline on Friday: The US is dangerously close to being pulled into a Middle East war. The report reviews of the past 48 hours of rapidly moving events:

A US navy ship intercepts missiles launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Two American bases in Syria come under fire. In Iraq, drones and rockets fired at US forces.

Gaza may be where the war is happening now, but across the Middle East the warning lights of more trouble to come are blinking red.

The US has deployed two carrier groups to the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran and its allies Syria and Hezbollah from opening new fronts against Israel. Two thousand US Marines are on hard standby for deployment to the region.

A lot will be determined by whether or not a full-fledged war opens with Hezbollah on Israel's northern border. If it does, it becomes increasingly likely that the US would jump in both against Hezbollah and possibly the Syrian Army, which cooperates closely with Iranian groups.

Anger grows against US media correspondents & teams in the region as well...

Additionally, the moment it becomes clear that Israel's expected ground invasion of Gaza goes into full effect, there will likely be retaliation by outside groups, Hezbollah among them. On Thursday it was widely reported that a US warship off Yemen's coast intercepted north-bound rockets fired by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis. Israeli officials believe the missiles were meant to target Israel.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/20/2023 - 12:05

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A Year-End Rally In Europe Seems Like Wishful Thinking

A Year-End Rally In Europe Seems Like Wishful Thinking

By Michael Msika, Bloomberg Markets Live reporter and strategist

Soaring bond yields,…



A Year-End Rally In Europe Seems Like Wishful Thinking

By Michael Msika, Bloomberg Markets Live reporter and strategist

Soaring bond yields, a conflict in the Middle East and a tricky earnings season to navigate have cemented market strategists’ view that a year-end rally in European stocks isn’t on the cards.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index is expected to end the year at 450 points, according to the average of 16 strategists in a Bloomberg survey — just 1% above Wednesday’s close. Britain’s FTSE 100 is forecast to end 2023 pretty much where it is now, while the Euro Stoxx 50 and Germany’s DAX are seen rising by less than 3%.

With the global economy expected to slow, and with so many moving parts in the market, the average target hasn’t changed much from predictions made a month ago. Among those surveyed, the two most bearish firms — Bank of America and TFS — raised their targets by as much as 5%, while four firms cut their forecasts by a similar magnitude.

"With the relative valuation of equities to bonds at levels not seen since the great financial crisis, and earnings momentum in negative territory, we expect European equities to remain under pressure from any further increase in bond yields,” says Societe Generale head of European equity strategy Roland Kaloyan. He reiterated his Stoxx 600 year-end target of 440 points, but expects further downside in the first half of 2024 as the economy weakens.

For many strategists, stocks will be in a holding pattern while bond yields remain high, and the earnings season just kicking off has the potential to disappoint.

“The European macro backdrop has been weakening for some time and the third quarter was no exception,” says UBS strategist Gerry Fowler. He says results may show company margins are starting to contract as the economy stalls. “More sectors are not only reporting very weak new orders but also more recently, weakening backlogs of work too. This is a sign of imminent profit warnings.”

At the same time, the recent spike in bond yields is unlikely to reverse quickly, implying valuations are now slightly expensive in Europe. “Valuations can’t bail out weaker earnings until we are closer to ECB/Fed rate cuts in the middle of 2024,” Fowler says.

This round of forecasts comes after almost three months of declines for European stocks. The market has been paring its year-to-date gain amid a steep bond selloff that sent US benchmark Treasury yields to the highest level since July 2007, causing cracks for equities. Economic data has also been a headwind, with contracting PMIs in Europe and disappointing numbers out of China.

The latest risk that strategists are considering is war in the Middle East. While it isn’t seen as a significant threat to markets by most, it is an additional risk in the event of a major escalation.

“The geopolitical risk premium is unlikely to go away quickly,” say Barclays strategists led by Emmanuel Cau. He recommended that investors look at hedges like increasing allocation to energy, and reiterated a 490 target for the Stoxx 600. That’s the highest in the survey and implies a 10% rally into year end.

On the buy-side, investors are still bearish in the near term. The Bank of America fund manager survey in October showed that 55% see downside for European equities over the next few months because of high interest rates and falling earnings in the region. Still, more than half expect some upside over the next year.

BofA strategists are also cautious on the trajectory of earnings in the region. They see nearly 15% downside for the Stoxx 600 12-month forward EPS by the third quarter of next year, with strategists led by Sebastian Raedler saying that weakening global growth momentum and fading inflation support are growing headwinds. Their 410 target for the Stoxx 600 implies about 8% downside.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/20/2023 - 12:25

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Two US Hostages Released For Humanitarian Reasons, Hamas Says, After Israel Tells Troops They’ll See Gaza “From The Inside”

Two US Hostages Released For Humanitarian Reasons, Hamas Says, After Israel Tells Troops They’ll See Gaza "From The Inside"




Two US Hostages Released For Humanitarian Reasons, Hamas Says, After Israel Tells Troops They'll See Gaza "From The Inside"

Update(1308ET): With Israeli infantry and tank forces states at the border, having been given the green light to enter Gaza by the Netanyahu government, there's been a potential breakthrough related to American hostages held by Hamas. A Hamas spokesman has announced the release of two US hostages:

The spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, has said that the group has released two US captives for humanitarian reasons.

“In response to Qatari efforts, Al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens (a mother and her daughter) for humanitarian reasons,” Abu Obaida said in a statement.

He added that the move aimed “to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless”.

The announcement has not received immediate government confirmation from the US side. But Israeli officials appear to be confirming:

The Israeli military earlier in the day announced that it believes the majority of the some 200 hostages in Gaza are still alive. This as the defense minister also told troops massed that the border that they will soon see the Gaza Strip "from the inside"

If the hostage release is confirmed, this could be a move by Hamas to buy more time before the large Israeli ground incursion, which is likely to result in high casualties among both sides. Meanwhile, President Biden has said Friday that the first Gaza aid trucks are likely to cross into Gaza from Egypt in the 'next 24 to 48 hours'. Washington is also leaning on Israel to see if more hostages can be negotiated for, prior to the ground assault:


* * *

Just ahead of President Biden's Thursday night speech wherein he made the case for the US keeping up funding both for Ukraine and Israel as it launches its war in Gaza, Axios issued a report detailing that Washington is preparing to divert ammunition meant for Kiev to the Israelis

"The Pentagon plans to send Israel tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that had been destined for Ukraine from U.S. emergency stocks several months ago, three Israeli officials with knowledge of the situation tell Axios," journalist Barak Ravid wrote.

Image via Kyiv Post

These 155mm artillery shells, which Ukraine has been badly in need of given Russian artillery supplies have been steady and far superior, will be shipped "in the coming weeks" instead to Israel in order to fill the depleted emergency stocks the US keeps there.

Under a long-standing bilateral agreement, the Pentagon stores ammunition on Israeli soil. While it belongs to and is overseen by the US military, part of the agreement is that Israel's Armed Forces (IDF) can access it under US approval in a war scenario.

Starting at some point in late 2022, these emergency stockpiles of artillery shells held in Israel began being sent to Ukraine. But now, with the Gaza war entering full swing, Israel will get the extra supplies instead

This move without doubt is yet another blow to the Zelensky government, which has retreated from the media spotlight ever since the Hamas terror attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7. International press has focused on 24/7 Israel-Gaza coverage. A key part of Ukraine's strategy of keeping up constant support, which has included tens of billions in aid flowing in from the West, has been to keep Zelensky and the Ukrainian cause center stage in terms of global awareness. Now those days appear over.

Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder sought to defend the move, stressing "we can support both Ukraine and Israel in terms of their defensive needs," in line with other top US officials.

"We are engaged in comprehensive coordination across the Department of Defense," an unnamed US defense official had told Axios. "This includes working closely with our combatant commands to ascertain which munitions and equipment from the U.S. inventory can be quickly made available for Israel’s needs."

Biden's Thursday night speech sought to continue the theme, which had also been laid out earlier this month by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Biden also said that both Putin and Hamas want "annihilation". According to a summary of Biden's main points:

Biden said he will ask Congress on Friday to authorize more spending for the Ukraine war and “unprecedented” military aid for Israel. Media reports say the request will be for about $100 billion and will also include aid for Taiwan, which China will view as highly provocative, and funding for border security.

About $60 billion is expected to be for Ukraine as the White House wants to pass a spending package on the war that will last through the 2024 election. Israel is set to receive about $10 billion in military aid, and the rest will go toward the border, Taiwan, and potentially other areas in the Asia Pacific.

In his speech, President Biden attempted to draw comparisons between Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy, completely annihilate it,” he said.


But no matter Biden's superficial attempts to draw comparisons between the two conflicts and how it's somehow America's 'duty' to jump into supporting both wars, Ukraine is clearly no longer the number one priority for US defense planners.

Already, poll after poll has shown the American public to be "war-fatigued" as well. Popular support for funding Kiev has been waning, also in Europe. The Pentagon itself has lately admitted that money to Ukraine will not be "indefinite"

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/20/2023 - 13:08

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Copper Is Critical For America’s New Energy Economy

Copper Is Critical For America’s New Energy Economy

Authored by Andy Kireta, Jr. via RealClear Wire,

The U.S. Department of Energy’s…



Copper Is Critical For America’s New Energy Economy

Authored by Andy Kireta, Jr. via RealClear Wire,

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new designation of copper as a critical material follows the lead of the EU, China, Japan, and others in labeling the metal as critical – and shows copper is on the cusp of a generational shift from an everyday material to a geopolitically significant commodity.

This new strategic importance stems from copper’s criticality to a wide range of clean and renewable energy technologies, such as waste heat recovery and electric vehicles, which can reduce global GHG emissions by two-thirds. As a result, experts estimate copper demand is set to double between 2035 and 2050 as industries work to meet their climate goals.

It is no wonder, then, that some are referring to copper as “the new oil.” To reflect this new reality, policymakers in Washington must treat copper as a critically important commodity.

This need has become even more urgent due to the government’s own sustainability ambitions, which will drive copper demand for years to come. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act both contain billions of dollars in funding for technologies to power the U.S. economy, from the increased copper needs of electric vehicles to renewable energy generation from solar and wind sources.

Adding copper to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) list of critical minerals is, therefore, an incredibly important step in the process of treating the material with the strategic importance it deserves. Although the 2022 list did not include copper—despite its meeting every component of the USGS’s definition of a critical material—a bipartisan group of senators, congressmen and governors are calling on the USGS to add copper to the list as soon as possible.

The critical materials designation from DOE is a strong step in the right direction, but joining the USGS list – and the authority and benefits it provides – is crucial.

To advance the energy transition in the U.S. and beyond, a series of continued investments and lasting regulatory changes must be made.

Crucially, regulatory certainty and labelling copper as a critical mineral will help secure the copper supply needed to meet the U.S.’s clean energy goals. However, more can be done – not only within the U.S. but also globally – to drive the transition to a green future.

The copper industry is committed to meeting demand sustainably. Continued investment by members of the of the International Copper Association (ICA), which represents some of the world's largest copper producers, showcases a determination to go beyond expectations to take a leadership role in the energy transition.

To achieve this, ICA and its members launched Copper—The Pathway to Net Zero earlier this year, a roadmap outlining a collective ambition among ICA’s members to reach net zero in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2050, with Scope 3 reductions as close as possible to net zero over the same timeframe.

As directed by the ICA roadmap, companies will rely on a variety of abatement levers to make this happen – from equipment electrification and energy efficiency to alternative fuels and the decarbonization of local grids. ICA members have already started on these initiatives: Freeport-McMoRan has cut carbon emissions by 21% with innovative grinding rolls, and Rio Tinto has shut down the last coal power plant at its Kennecott mine and is purchasing renewable energy certificates totalling 1.5 million Megawatt hours.

Copper is an important industry in the U.S. with global influence. Not only is it the world’s fifth-largest copper producer, but the U.S. also holds the world’s sixth-largest copper reserves. Copper’s importance will continue to increase, and industry is playing a strategic role in this process.

The shift from a global economy built entirely on oil to a digitized and electrified future, with copper at its foundation, has already begun. If Washington wants the U.S. to lead this global shift, it must recognize copper as a critical material for the nation’s future economic and national security.

Andy Kireta, Jr., is the President and CEO of the Copper Development Association and the North American Regional Director of the International Copper Association. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/20/2023 - 13:00

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