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Victor Davis Hanson: How Corrupt Is A Corrupt Media?

Victor Davis Hanson: How Corrupt Is A Corrupt Media?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

The media has ceased to exist,…

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Victor Davis Hanson: How Corrupt Is A Corrupt Media?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

The media has ceased to exist, and the public plods on by assuming as true whatever the media suppresses and as false whatever the media covers.

The current “media”—loosely defined as the old major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, the network news channels, MSNBC and CNN, PBS and NPR, the online news aggregators like Google, Apple, and Yahoo, and the social media giants like the old Twitter and Facebook—are corrupt. 

They have adopted in their news coverage a utilitarian view that noble progressive ends justify almost any unethical means to obtain them. The media is unapologetically fused with the Democratic Party, the bicoastal liberal elite, and the progressive agenda. 

The result is that the public cannot trust that the news it hears or reads is either accurate or true. The news as presented by these outlets has been carefully filtered to suppress narratives deemed inconvenient or antithetical to the political objectives of these entities, while inflating themes deemed useful. 

This bias now accompanies increasing (and increasingly obvious) journalistic incompetence. Lax standards reflect weaponized journalism schools and woke ideology that short prior basic requisites of writing and ethical protocols of quoting and sourcing. In sum, a corrupt media that is ignorant, arrogant, and ideological explains why few now trust what it delivers.

Suppression

Once a story is deemed antithetical to left-wing agendas, there arises a collective effort to smother it. Suppression is achieved both by neglect, and by demonizing others who report an inconvenient truth as racists, conspiracist “right-wingers,” and otherwise irredeemable. 

The Hunter Biden laptop story is the locus classicus. Social media branded the authentic laptop as Russian disinformation. That was a lie. But the deception did not stop them from censoring and squashing those who reported the truth. 

Instead of carefully examining the contents of the laptop or interrogating Biden-company players such as Tony Bobulinksi, the media hyped the ridiculous disinformation hoax as a mechanism for suppressing the damaging pre-election story altogether.

Joe Biden’s cognitive state was another suppression story. The media simply stifled the truth that 2020 candidate Biden was unable to conduct a normal campaign due to his frailty and non-compos-mentis status. Few fully reported his often cruel and racist outbursts of the “lying-dog-faced-pony-soldier” and “you ain’t black”/“terrorist” sort. 

The #MeToo media predictably quashed the Tara Reade disclosure. In fact, journalists turned on her in the manner that they previously had insisted was sexist and defamatory “blame-the-victim” smearing. 

Joe Biden has long suffered from a sick tic of creepily intruding into the private space of young women and preteen girls: blowing their hair, talking into their ears, squeezing their necks, hugging in full body embraces—all for far too long. In other words, Biden should have expected the Charlie Rose or the Donald Trump Access Hollywood media treatment. Instead, he was de facto exonerated by collective media silence. To this day, despite staffers’ efforts to corral his wandering hands and head, he occasionally reverts to form with his creepy fixations with younger women. 

Ask the media today which administration surveilled journalists and they will likely cry “Trump!” Yet their own sensationalist reporting that the IRS was weaponized by Trump was proven a lie when the inspector general notedTrump never went after either James Comey or Andrew McCabe. And it was an untruth comparable to the smear that “nuclear secrets” and “nuclear codes” were hidden away at Mar-a-Lago or that Donald Trump sought to profit from the trove. Nor does anyone remember that Barack Obama went after the Associated Press reporters and Fox News Channel’s James Rosen. Nor do they care that Biden sought to birth an Orwellian Ministry of Truth censorship bureau.

Fantasy

The media does not just suppress, but concocts. The entire Russian-collusion hoax—Robert Mueller’s vain 22-month and $40 million investigation—was a complete waste of time on the one hand, but on the other an effective effort to destroy the effectiveness of an elected president. 

How many print and television celebrity journalists declared that Trump would shortly resign, be jailed, or impeached over the pee-pee tape or Christopher Steele’s other mishmash of lies? The problem for the media in promoting the fallacious dossier was not just that it was untrue, but that it was so awfully written, so obviously poorly sourced, and so Drudge Report-like amateurishly sensational that it could not be appear factual to any sane person—other than an agenda-driven and addled journalist who found it useful.

Do we remember the Hillary Clinton-approved Alfa Bank/Trump Tower fable that is now resurfacing for a second try? 

Or the Jussie Smollett caper that trumped even the Brett Kavanaugh-as-teenage-assaulter and rapist lie? Or the Covington kids fabrications that trumped the Duke lacrosse hoax that trumped the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” myth that trumped the “white Hispanic,” doctored photo/edited 911 call smear about George Zimmerman? 

Recall Trump’s supposed “immigration jails” and “kids in cages” at the border—in truth both not cages and in fact birthed by Obama

Then there was Trump’s supposedly impeachable offense of purportedly canceling military aid to Ukraine so that he could allegedly hound the innocent Biden family—rather than delaying, but not canceling, offensive arms vetoed by the Obama Administration for the prescient worry that the Biden family had left a trail of corruption in Ukraine.  

Who ran with the “voter suppression” untruth that Stacey Abrams was the “real” governor of Georgia or the yarn that Donald Trump was illegitimately elected? How exactly did Jeffery Epstein and Harvey Weinstein operate as sexual perverts and high-profile, liberal-benefacting deviants for years without media scrutiny? Who created the cable news myth of now-felon Michael Avenatti as presidential timber? 

Chronological Manipulation

Why, after the midterms, did we suddenly learn that Donald Trump did not, as in the case of Barack Obama’s Lois Lerner skullduggery, manipulate the IRS for political purposes to go after James Comey and Andrew McCabe? Why suddenly post-election did we read that his presidential papers at Mar-a-Lago really did not contain “nuclear codes” and “nuclear secrets” or stuff intended for sale? Why did we learn after November 8 that a special counsel was suddenly appointed? Why did we discover the Ponzi scheme of Sam Bankman-Fried only after the midterms and why is he treated as an aw-shucks teen in bum drag rather than a calculating and conniving crook?

The answer is the same as why, just days before the 2016 election, we were assured suddenly by the media that the DNC’s planted stories about Christopher Steele’s dossier “proved” that Trump was a Russian stooge. 

Asymmetry 

When did the media finally dribble out that Obama’s memoir Dreams From My Father was chock full of lies and thus was intended all along to be read as “impressionistic” rather than factual? 

We only learned belatedly that Hillary Clinton did not brave the front lines in virtual combat in Bosnia. We were assured that she was completely out of the loop on the Uranium One deal and thus knew nothing about the cash that poured into the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s honoraria from Russian sources

Did the media ever fully report that Hillary Clinton: 1) broke the law by using a personal server to communicate while Secretary of State; 2) lied about the missing emails by claiming they were all personal about “yoga” and “weddings” and such; 3) destroyed subpoenaed evidence by smashing her devices; 4) had her husband accidently bump into Attorney General Loretta Lynch on a Phoenix tarmac who was supposedly investigating Clinton at the time; and 5) became our first major election denialist by declaring “Russian collusion” to be true, Donald Trump to be illegitimately elected, and the 2016 balloting to be “rigged”?

Unethical Behavior 

Our once lions of network news were long ago revealed to have feet of clay. Dan Rather insisted that “fake but true” memos “proved” George W. Bush got special exemptions from military service. Brian Williams fabricated an entire Walter-Mitty fantasy existence with ease. The Wiki Leaks Podesta trove revealed blue-chip reporters checking in with the Clinton campaign and the DNC to “fact check” and brainstorm their pre-publication puff pieces. 

Throughout the Obama years, Ben Rhodes, the failed novelist and deputy national security advisor distorted U.S. foreign policy, as CBS News, overseen by his brother, warped its coverage of him. 

Do we remember the commentary on MSNBC of the brilliant Vanderbilt professor and MSNBC “analyst,” presidential historian Jon Meacham? He periodically praised Joe Biden’s eloquence and moving addresses without informing his audience that he contributed to or indeed helped write what he gushed about. No problem. Even after finally being fired, Meacham is still at it, offering his input on Biden’s September 1, Phantom-of-the-Opera “un-American” rant.

CNN Sums It Up

The long, slow death of Jeffery Zucker’s CNN is emblematic of all the mortal sins listed above of our present-day corrupt media.

It is ancient history now and thus forgotten that the self-righteous MSNBC anchorman Lawrence O’Donnell falsely claimed that Deutsche Bank documents would prove that Russian oligarchs co-signed a loan application for Donald Trump. 

Over a decade ago, CNN’s Candy Crowley—remember this impartial “moderator” of the second 2012 presidential debate?—infamously transformed before our very television eyes into an active and shameless partisan by attacking candidate Mitt Romney. CNN commentator Donna Brazile topped Crowley when she unethically leaked primary-debate questions to candidate Hillary Clinton. When pressed, Brazile serially denied her role.

CNN’s former Obamaite Jim Sciutto is known as a serial offender of journalistic ethics and was recently the subject of an internal investigation. Sciutto has also alleged, falsely, that the CIA had yanked a high-level spy out of Moscow because of President Trump’s supposedly dangerously reckless handling of classified information. Sciutto joined CNN’s Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen to falsely report that Lanny Davis’ client Michael Cohen would soon assert that Trump had prior knowledge of an upcoming meeting between his son and Russian interests.

Another CNN trio of Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Harris were forced out from CNN for their mythologies that the Trump-hating Anthony Scaramucci was directly involved in a $10 billion Russian fund.

CNN’s Julian Zelizer fabricated his own tall tale that Donald Trump never reiterated America’s commitment to honor NATO’s critical Article 5 guarantee. The quartet of CNN’s Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper, and Brian Rokus all were exposed wrongly assuring that former FBI director James Comey would unequivocally contradict President Trump’s prior assertion that Comey had told him he was not under investigation. 

CNN reporter Manu Raju in December 2017 trafficked in lots of fake news stories that Donald Trump, Jr. supposedly had prior access to the hacked WikiLeaks documents. And he offered another fable that Trump, Jr. would be indicted by Mueller’s special-counsel investigation. But then, who at CNN did not blast out such “bombshells” and “walls are closing in” lies?

The once supposedly great Chris Cuomo—finally fired for softball incestuous interviews with his brother Andrew while serving as confidant to his sibling’s sexual-harassment dilemmas—had been caught on tape screaming obscenities. He also lied on the air when he assured a CNN audience in 2016 that it was illegal for citizens to examine the just-released WikiLeaks emails.

Julia Ioffe was eagerly hired by CNN after Politico fired her for tweeting that the president and his daughter Ivanka might have had an incestuous sexual relationship. CNN Anderson Cooper was every bit as creepy. He harangued a pro-Trump panelist with “If he [Trump] took a dump on his desk, you would defend it!”

Erstwhile CNN religious “expert” Reza Aslan was not so subtle. He trashed Trump as “this piece of sh**.” The late CNN cooking show guru Anthony Bourdain openly joked about poisoning Trump with hemlock. Recall CNN New Year’s Eve host Kathy Griffin posing with a bloody facsimile of Trump’s severed head. Was there something in the CNN contract that stipulated CNN journalists had to be obscene, vulgar, and threatening? 

The CNN circus also hired as a “security analyst” the admitted liar James Clapper. So, was it any surprise that on spec Clapper did what he was hired to do—by falsely claiming that President Trump was a veritable Russian asset?

But for that matter, former CIA director Michael Hayden preposterously alleged that Trump’s immigration policies resembled those in the death camps of Nazi Germany. Was it any wonder either that CNN host Sally Kohn and her roundtable panelists raised their hands to reverberate the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie of the Ferguson shooting?

Do the bias, invective, and lack of ethics of the media even matter anymore? 

In truth, media corruption has changed the course of recent history. 

Had the true nature of the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop been reported, the 2020 voters have polled that the revelation may well have made a difference because they would not have voted for a candidate so clearly compromised by foreign interests. 

Tell the full story of death, destruction, arson, looting, and injured police of the post-George Floyd rioting and what emerges is not the MSNBC denial of violence or the August 2020 CNN lie of a “fiery but mostly peaceful” sort of idealistic protestors.

The Kavanaugh and Smollett fake news accounts helped further to tear apart the country and greenlighted the new assaults on the Supreme Court, from Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) rants and threats to the would-be assassin who turned up near the Kavanaugh residence. 

The Russian collusion hoax and the first impeachment media hysteria virtually ruined a presidency and have had grave foreign-policy consequences vis à vis Russia.

The media, moreover, matter-of-factly assumed Twitter was an arm of the Democratic Party. Mark Zuckerberg and the FBI worked together to suppress any news embarrassing to the Biden campaign. Do not expect much media coverage of Elon Musk’s serial disclosures of Twitter’s efforts to suppress free communications.

No thanks to the media, after nearly three years we are finally learning that the Wuhan Lab proved the likely source of the COVID pandemic and that the media-sainted Dr. Anthony Fauci subsidized gain-of-function viral research in Wuhan. 

Despite the lies, Americans assumed that Officer Brian Sicknick was not killed by Trump supporters as reported. The public shrugged “of course” when the media did its best to suppress the name of the Capitol policeman who lethally shot Ashli Babbitt for attempting to go through a broken window inside the Capitol. And on and on.

In sum, there is no media. It has ceased to exist, and the public plods on by assuming as true whatever the Pravda-like news outlets suppress and as false whatever they cover.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 22:20

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EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A

EY noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the…

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A recent trickle of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) announcements in the billion-dollar-and-up range suggests that biopharma may be ready to resume dealmaking this year—although the value and number of deals isn’t expected to return to the highs seen just before the pandemic.

2022 ended with a handful of 10- and 11-figure M&A deals, led by Amgen’s $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon Therapeutics, announced December 13. The dealmaking continued into January with three buyouts announced on the first day of the recent J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference: AstraZeneca agreed to acquire CinCor Pharma for up to $1.8 billion, while Chiesi Farmaceutici agreed to shell out up to $1.48 billion cash for Amryt, and Ipsen Group said it will purchase Albireo Pharma for $952 million-plus.

Biopharmas generated about $88 billion in M&A deals in 2022, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. The number of biopharma deals fell 17%, to 75 deals from 90. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine. [EY]
EY—the professional services firm originally known as Ernst & Young—recently noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021 [See Chart]. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. That $135 billion figure is less than half the record-high $313 billion recorded in 2019, including $261 billion in 70 biopharma deals.

The number of biopharma deals fell 17% to 75 deals from 90. EY’s numbers include only deals greater than $100 million. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine.

We expect this to be a more active year as the sentiment starts to normalize a little bit,” Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader, told GEN Edge.

Baral is not alone in foreseeing a comeback for biopharma M&A.

John Newman, PhD, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, predicted last week in a research note that biopharma companies will pursue a growing number of smaller cash deals in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion this year. He said rising interest rates are discouraging companies from taking on larger blockbuster deals that require buyers to take on larger sums of debt.

“We look for narrowing credit spreads and lower interest rates to encourage larger M&A ($50 billion and more) deals. We do not anticipate many $50B+ deals that could move the XBI +5%,” Newman said. (XBI is the SPDR S&P Biotech Electronic Transfer Fund, one of several large ETFs whose fluctuations reflect investor enthusiasm for biopharma stock.)

Newman added: “We continue to expect a biotech swell in 2023 that may become an M&A wave if credit conditions improve.”

Foreseeing larger deals than Newman and Canaccord Genuity is PwC, which in a commentary this month predicted: “Biotech deals in the $5–15 billion range will be prevalent and will require a different set of strategies and market-leading capabilities across the M&A cycle.”

Those capabilities include leadership within a specific therapeutic category, for which companies will have to buy and sell assets: “Prepared management teams that divest businesses that are subscale while doubling down on areas where leadership position and the right to win is tangible, may be positioned to deliver superior returns,” Glenn Hunzinger, PwC’s U.S. Pharma & Life Science Leader, and colleagues asserted.

The Right deals

Rising interest and narrowing credit partially explain the drop-off in deals during 2022, EY’s Baral said. Another reason was sellers adjusting to the drop in deal valuations that resulted from the decline of the markets which started late in 2021.

Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader

“It took a little bit longer to realize the reality of the market conditions on the seller side. But on the buyer side, the deals that they were looking at were not just simply a valuation issue. They were looking at the quality of the assets. And you can see that the quality deals—the right deals, as we call them—are still getting done,” Baral said.

The right deals, according to Baral, are those in which buyers have found takeover targets with a strong, credible management team, solid clinical data, and a clear therapeutic focus.

“Rare disease and oncology assets are still dominating the deal making, particularly oncology because your addressable market continues to grow,” Baral said. “Unfortunately, what that means is the patient population is growing too, so there’s this increased unmet need for that portfolio of assets.”

Several of 2022’s largest M&A deals fit into that “right” category, Baral said—including Amgen-Horizon, Pfizer’s $11.6-billion purchase of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals and the $6.7-billion purchase of Arena Pharmaceuticals (completed in March 2022); and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $4.1-billion buyout of Turning Point Therapeutics.

“Quality companies are still getting funded one way or the other. So, while the valuation dropped, people were all expecting a flurry of deals because they are still companies with a shorter runway of cash that will be running to do deals. But that really didn’t happen from a buyer perspective,” Baral said. “The market moved a little bit from what was a seller’s market for a long time, to what we would like to think of as the pendulum swinging towards a buyers’ market.”

Most biopharma M&A deals, he said, will be “bolt-on” acquisitions in which a buyer aims to fill a gap in its clinical pipeline or portfolio of marketed drugs through purchases that account for less than 25% of a buyer’s market capitalization.

Baral noted that a growing number of biopharma buyers are acquiring companies with which they have partnered for several years on drug discovery and/or development collaborations. Pfizer acquired BioHaven six months after agreeing to pay the company up to $1.24 billion to commercialize rimegepant outside the U.S., where the migraine drug is marketed as Nurtec® ODT.

“There were already some kind of relationships there before these deals actually happened. But that also gives an indication that there are some insights to these targets ahead of time for these companies to feel increasingly comfortable, and pay the valuation that they’re paying for them,” Baral said.

$1.4 Trillion available

Baral sees several reasons for increased M&A activity in 2023. First, the 25 biopharma giants analyzed by EY had $1.427 trillion available as of November 30, 2022, for M&A in “firepower”—which EY defines as a company’s capacity to carry out M&A deals based on the strength of its balance sheet, specifically the amount of capital available for M&A deals from sources that include cash and equivalents, existing debt, and market cap.

That firepower is up 11% from 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $1.22 trillion in 2014, the first year that EY measured the available M&A capital of large biopharmas.

Unlike recent years, Baral said, biopharma giants are more likely to deploy that capital on M&A this year to close the “growth gap” expected to occur over the next five years as numerous blockbuster drugs lose patent exclusivity and face new competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars.

“There is not enough R&D in their pipeline to replenish a lot of their revenue. And this growth gap is coming between 2024 and 2026. So, they don’t have a long runway to watch and stay on the sidelines,” Baral said.

This explains buyers’ interest in replenishing pipelines with new and innovative treatments from smaller biopharmas, he continued. Many smaller biopharmas are open to being acquired because declining valuations and limited cash runways have increased investor pressure on them to exit via M&A. The decline of the capital markets has touched off dramatic slowdowns in two avenues through which biopharmas have gone public in recent years—initial public offerings (IPOs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

EY recorded just 17 IPOs being priced in the U.S. and Europe, down 89% from 158 a year earlier. The largest IPO of 2022 was Prime Medicine’s initial offering, which raised $180.3 million in net proceeds for the developer of a “search and replace” gene editing platform.

Another 12 biopharmas agreed to SPAC mergers with blank-check companies, according to EY, with the largest announced transaction (yet to close at deadline) being the planned $899 million merger of cancer drug developer Apollomics with Maxpro Capital Acquisition.

“For the smaller players, the target biotech companies, their alternate source of access to capital pathways such as IPOs and SPACs is shutting down on them. So how would the biotech companies continue to fund themselves? Those with quality assets are still getting funded through venture capital or other forms of capital,” Baral said. “But in general, there is not a lot of appetite for the biotech that is taking that risk.

Figures from EY show a 37% year-to-year decline in the total value of U.S. and European VC deals, to $16.88 billion in 2022 from $26.62 billion in 2021. Late-stage financing rounds accounted for just 31% of last year’s VC deals, down from 34% in 2021 and 58% in 2012. The number of VC deals in the U.S. and Europe fell 18%, to 761 last year from 930 in 2021.

The decline in VC financing helps explain why many smaller biopharmas are operating with cash “runways” of less than 12 months. “Depending on the robustness of their data, their therapeutic area, and their management, there will be a natural attrition. Some of these companies will just have to wind down,” Baral added.

M&A headwinds

Baral also acknowledged some headwinds that are likely to dampen the pace of M&A activity. In addition to rising interest rates and inflation increasing the cost of capital, valuations remain high for the most sought-after drugs, platforms, and other assets—a result of growing and continuing innovation.

Another headwind is growing regulatory scrutiny of the largest deals. Illumina’s $8 billion purchase of cancer blood test developer Grail has faced more than two years of challenges from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and especially the European Commission—while Congress acted last year to begin curbing the price of prescription drugs and insulin through the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Those headwinds may prompt many companies to place greater strategic priority on collaborations and partnerships instead of M&A, Baral predicted, since they offer buyers early access to newer technologies before deciding whether to invest more capital through a merger or acquisition.

“Early-stage collaboration, early minority-stake investment becomes increasingly important, and it has been a cornerstone for early access to these technologies for the industry for a long, long time, and that is not changing any time soon,” Baral said. “On the other hand, even on the therapeutic area side, early-stage development is still expensive to do in-house for the large biopharma companies because of their cost structure.

“So, it is efficient cost-wise and speed-wise to buy these assets when they reach a certain point, which is probably at Phase II onward, and then you can pull the trigger on acquisitions if needed,” he added.

The post EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

The International Monetary Fund published its latest World Economic Outlook on Monday,…

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IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

The International Monetary Fund published its latest World Economic Outlook on Monday, painting a slightly less gloomy picture than three and a half months ago, as inflation appears to have peaked in 2022, consumer spending remains robust and the energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been less severe than initially feared.

But, as Statista's Felix Richter notes, that’s not to say the outlook is rosy, as the global economy still faces major headwinds.

However, the IMF predicts the slowdown to be less pronounced than previously anticipated.

Global growth is now expected to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.9 percent this year, before rebounding to 3.1 percent in 2024.

The 2023 growth projection is up from an October estimate of 2.7 percent, as the IMF sees far fewer countries facing recession this year and does no longer anticipates a global downturn.

Infographic: IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast as Inflation Cools | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

One of the reasons behind the cautiously optimistic outlook is the latest downward trend in inflation, which suggests that inflation may have peaked in 2022.

The IMF predicts global inflation to cool to 6.6 percent in 2023 and 4.3 percent in 2024, which is still above pre-pandemic levels of about 3.5 percent, but significantly lower than the 8.8 percent observed in 2022.

“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s chief economist, wrote in a blog post released along with the report.

“Inflation, too, showed improvement, with overall measures now decreasing in most countries—even if core inflation, which excludes more volatile energy and food prices, has yet to peak in many countries.”

The risks to the latest outlook remain tilted to the downside, the IMF notes, as the war in Ukraine could further escalate, inflation continues to require tight monetary policies and China’s recovery from Covid-19 disruptions remains fragile. On the plus side, strong labor markets and solid wage growth could bolster consumer demand, while easing supply chain disruptions could help cool inflation and limit the need for more monetary tightening.

In conclusion, Gourinchas calls for multilateral cooperation to counter “the forces of geoeconomic fragmentation”.

“This time around, the global economic outlook hasn’t worsened,” he writes. “That’s good news, but not enough. The road back to a full recovery, with sustainable growth, stable prices, and progress for all, is only starting.”

However, just because the 'trend' has shifted doesn't mean it's mission accomplished...

That looks an awful lot like Central Bankers' nemesis remains - global stagflation curb stomps the dovish hopes.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/31/2023 - 14:45

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Nike Escalates Design Battle Against Lululemon

The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

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The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

The Gucci loafers. The Burberry  (BBRYF) trench coat. When it comes to fashion, having a unique design is everything. This is why brands spend millions both creating and protecting their signature looks and the reason, as in the case of Adidas  (ADDDF) , extricating a brand's design from creators who behave badly is a costly and difficult process.

There is also the constant effort to release new styles without infringing on another group's style. This week, sportswear giant Nike  (NKE) - Get Free Report filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon  (LULU) - Get Free Report of infringing on its patents in the shoe line that the Vancouver-based activewear company launched last spring.

After years of selling exclusively clothing, accessories and the odd yoga mat, lululemon expanded into the world of footwear with a running shoe it dubbed Blissfeel last March. These were soon followed by training shoe and pool slide styles known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel -- all three of the designs (including a Chargefeel Low and a Chargefeel Mid design) have been mentioned in the lawsuit as causing "economic harm and irreparable injury" to Nike.

Nike's History Of Suing Lululemon Over Design

The specific issue lies in the technology used to build the shoes. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, certain knitted elements, webbing and tubular structures are too similar to ones that had been used by Nike earlier.

Nike is keeping the amount it hopes to receive from lululemon under wraps but is insisting the company infringed on its patent when releasing a shoe line too similar to its own. Lululemon had previously talked about how its shoe line "far exceeded" its leaders' expectations both in terms of sales and ability to expand.

In a Q1 earnings call, chief executive Calvin McDonald said that the line "definitely had a lot more demand than we anticipated."

Nike has already tried to go after lululemon through the courts once before. In January 2022, it accused the company of infringing on six patents over its at-home Mirror Home Gym. As the world emerged out of the pandemic, lululemon has been billing it as a hybrid model between at-home and in-person classes. 

The lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan but ultimately fizzled out.

When it comes to the shoe line lawsuit, Lululemon has been telling media outlets that "Nike's claims are unjustified" and the company "look[s] forward to proving [their] case in court."

Lululemon

Some More Examples Of Prominent Design Battles

In the fashion industry, design infringement accusations are common and rarely lead to high-profile rulings. While Nike has gone after the technology itself in both cases, lawsuits more often focus on the style or pattern on a given piece.

Shein, a China-based fast-fashion company that took on longtime leaders like H&M  (HNNMY)  and Fast Retailing  (FRCOF) 's Uniqlo with its bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, has faced numerous allegations from smaller and independent designers over the copying of designs -- in some cases not even from fashion designers but artists painting in local communities.

"They didn't remotely bother trying to change anything," U.K.-based artist Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian after seeing her painting of a local church appear on a sweater on Shein's website. "The things I paint are my garden and my little village: it’s my life. And they’ve just taken my world to China and whacked it on an acrylic jumper."

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