Connect with us


Week Ahead – Inflation remains key

US This week’s main event will be when a little inflation report comes out. The US CPI report for December is expected to show disinflation trends remain…




This week’s main event will be when a little inflation report comes out. The US CPI report for December is expected to show disinflation trends remain firmly in place.  The year-over-year CPI reading is expected to cool from 7.1% to 6.6%, while the monthly reading is expected to remain flat. At the end of the week, the University of Michigan sentiment report is expected to show a modest improvement and could show inflation expectations continue to come down.  

Earnings season begins on Friday, and everyone will pay close attention to what the banks say about the economy.  Recession calls could get a major boost if JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo turn pessimistic about the consumer.  

US politics will dominate weekend headlines as Republicans try to elect a speaker.  The House can’t function without a speaker and this impasse has implications for national security-related briefings and oversight.


A quiet week in store with only a few relatively small data points due, the most notable of which being the unemployment report for the eurozone. All eyes now on the ECB meeting early next month after the December inflation data showed price growth slowing considerably but underlying core prices rising.


A few Bank of England policymakers are due to speak over the next week, including Catherine Mann on Saturday and Huw Pill on Sunday which may help set the tone for the week. Governor Andrew Bailey will also make an appearance on Tuesday so we could get a better idea of where they stand in the new year. 

That aside it’s pretty quiet from a UK data standpoint with monthly GDP figures on Friday the only notable releases as we look for confirmation of the economy being in recession.


A quiet one next week with inflation data on Wednesday the only notable release. Focus remains on the war in Ukraine and what the next development in that will be.

South Africa

Government efforts to amend the mandate of the SARB have not been greeted well by the markets, the view being that any changes could weaken its inflation commitment and blur the lines between the institutions. The currency has weakened in response to the reports although any changes are not likely to occur any time soon and probably not at all if past attempts are anything to go by. The government doesn’t have the super-majority required to make the constitutional changes without help from opposition parties. 


Unemployment and industrial production figures are the only notable releases next week. 


A very quiet week with unemployment the only release of note.


In the last week of 2022, China announced that people entering the country would no longer be required to undergo quarantine. It’s one of the most important steps the world’s second-largest economy has taken toward reopening to the world since the start of the pandemic. China has resumed its international contact with countries around the world.

At the same time, China will also relax the Covid controls for international arrivals from 8 January 2023, downgrading Covid management from Category A to Category B. The most important measure is that international arrivals will no longer be subject to testing and quarantine. International arrivals will only be required to have a negative PCR test within 48 hours prior to departure. They will no longer need to apply for a health code, as travelers will only need to declare their health status on their customs cards.

The centralized quarantine system has also been lifted in China, and the movement of people within the country is about to return to pre-pandemic conditions. Health authorities in China and abroad are concerned about the lack of herd immunity in China due to the long-standing zero-Covid policy and the relatively low vaccination rate of high-risk groups in the country over the past three years. A number of countries have now introduced certain restrictions on the entry of Chinese tourists in terms of testing and quarantine measures. The Chinese government’s subsequent response to a large number of confirmed new cases will be one of the risk events that the market will be watching. 

As several countries and regions worldwide may enter a recession in 2023, external demand will decline, and export-related activities, including manufacturing, may slow down, hindering China’s economic recovery. China’s economic recovery may only get going in the second half of this year. The Chinese government is expected to increase its financial strength to support the domestic economy by continuing to build unfinished domestic projects and perhaps developing more transport, energy, and technology infrastructure.

Next week brings CPI data for December which is expected to have little impact on the market.


A few releases of note next week including inflation and industrial output on Thursday.

Australia & New Zealand

China has recently eased the domestic and international Covid policy and the rebound in the economy is expected to boost demand for commodities such as iron ore. This could be supportive for commodity currencies this year.

Australian retail sales and the RBA CPI  are eyed for further guidance on whether the inflation level has improved.


The Bank of Japan unexpectedly adjusted its government bond yield curve control on 20 December, triggering a spike in the yen. In response, the December summary of opinions stated that the revision of the YCC would help improve market functioning, that it was not an exit policy shift, and that Quantitative and Qualitative Easing (QQE) and YCC should continue if needed. Traders are not convinced.

Next week focuses on the Japan Tokyo CPI, core CPI, and CPI excluding fresh food for further guidance on the level and path of inflation in Japan.

Economic Calendar

Saturday, Jan. 7

Economic Events

BOE’s Mann speaks on the world economy

Sunday, Jan. 8

BOE’s Pill speaks on monetary policy at the AEA meeting in New Orleans

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and Swedish PM Kristersson speak at the Security Policy conference Folk och Forsvar in Sweden

Monday, Jan. 9

Economic Data/Events

Australia foreign reserves

Singapore foreign reserves

Australia building approvals

China aggregate financing, money supply, new yuan loans

Czech Republic GDP

Eurozone unemployment

France trade

Germany industrial production

Italy unemployment

Mexico CPI

Thailand consumer confidence

Fed’s Bostic in moderated discussion on the economy at the Rotary Club of Atlanta

BOE’s Pill speaks on the UK economic and monetary policy outlook at Money Marketeers event

Norwegian Petroleum Directorate annual report  

Swiss National Bank releases 2022 results

Tuesday, Jan. 10

Economic Data/Events

US wholesale inventories

Colombia retail sales

France industrial production

Japan household spending, Tokyo CPI

Mexico international reserves

New Zealand house sales

Philippines trade

South Korea BoP

South Africa manufacturing production

Spain industrial production

Turkey industrial production

Symposium at Riksbank in Stockholm. Speeches by Fed Chair Powell, BOE Governor Bailey, ECB’s Schnabel, de Cos, and Knot

World Bank expected to release global economic prospects report

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Economic Data/Event

Australia retail sales, CPI, job vacancies

China FDI

Japan leading index

Mexico industrial production

New Zealand home sales, commodity prices

Turkey current account

ECB’s Holzmann and Vujcic speak in Vienna at the Euromoney CEE conference

Bank of Italy releases banks and money monthly statistics

Thursday, Jan. 12

Economic Data/Events

US CPI, initial jobless claims

India CPI

Australia trade

China CPI, PPI

India industrial production

Japan BoP

New Zealand building permits

Fed’s Bullard discusses the economy and monetary policy at a virtual event hosted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association

Fed’s Barkin speaks at VBA/VA Chamber

ECB consumer expectations survey for November, and economic bulletin

USDA releases monthly world agricultural supply/demand estimates (WASDE)

Friday, Jan. 13

Economic Data/Events

US University of Michigan consumer sentiment

France CPI

Poland CPI

Russia CPI 

Australia home loans

Canada existing home sales

China trade

Eurozone industrial production

India trade

Italy industrial production

Japan money stock

Thailand forward contracts, foreign reserves

UK industrial production

Czech Republic presidential elections first round voting starts

Earnings Season Reports from: BlackRock, Citigroup, Delta Air Lines, Didi Global, First Republic, JPMorgan Chase, UnitedHealth Group, and Wells Fargo

Italy’s Istat releases monthly economic note

Sovereign Rating Updates

Poland (Fitch)

Spain (Moody’s)

Iceland (Moody’s)

Ireland (DBRS)

Read More

Continue Reading


Beloved mall retailer files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, will liquidate

The struggling chain has given up the fight and will close hundreds of stores around the world.



It has been a brutal period for several popular retailers. The fallout from the covid pandemic and a challenging economic environment have pushed numerous chains into bankruptcy with Tuesday Morning, Christmas Tree Shops, and Bed Bath & Beyond all moving from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

In all three of those cases, the companies faced clear financial pressures that led to inventory problems and vendors demanding faster, or even upfront payment. That creates a sort of inevitability.

Related: Beloved retailer finds life after bankruptcy, new famous owner

When a retailer faces financial pressure it sets off a cycle where vendors become wary of selling them items. That leads to barren shelves and no ability for the chain to sell its way out of its financial problems. 

Once that happens bankruptcy generally becomes the only option. Sometimes that means a Chapter 11 filing which gives the company a chance to negotiate with its creditors. In some cases, deals can be worked out where vendors extend longer terms or even forgive some debts, and banks offer an extension of loan terms.

In other cases, new funding can be secured which assuages vendor concerns or the company might be taken over by its vendors. Sometimes, as was the case with David's Bridal, a new owner steps in, adds new money, and makes deals with creditors in order to give the company a new lease on life.

It's rare that a retailer moves directly into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and decides to liquidate without trying to find a new source of funding.

Mall traffic has varied depending upon the type of mall.

Image source: Getty Images

The Body Shop has bad news for customers  

The Body Shop has been in a very public fight for survival. Fears began when the company closed half of its locations in the United Kingdom. That was followed by a bankruptcy-style filing in Canada and an abrupt closure of its U.S. stores on March 4.

"The Canadian subsidiary of the global beauty and cosmetics brand announced it has started restructuring proceedings by filing a Notice of Intention (NOI) to Make a Proposal pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). In the same release, the company said that, as of March 1, 2024, The Body Shop US Limited has ceased operations," Chain Store Age reported.

A message on the company's U.S. website shared a simple message that does not appear to be the entire story.

"We're currently undergoing planned maintenance, but don't worry we're due to be back online soon."

That same message is still on the company's website, but a new filing makes it clear that the site is not down for maintenance, it's down for good.

The Body Shop files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

While the future appeared bleak for The Body Shop, fans of the brand held out hope that a savior would step in. That's not going to be the case. 

The Body Shop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States.

"The US arm of the ethical cosmetics group has ceased trading at its 50 outlets. On Saturday (March 9), it filed for Chapter 7 insolvency, under which assets are sold off to clear debts, putting about 400 jobs at risk including those in a distribution center that still holds millions of dollars worth of stock," The Guardian reported.

After its closure in the United States, the survival of the brand remains very much in doubt. About half of the chain's stores in the United Kingdom remain open along with its Australian stores. 

The future of those stores remains very much in doubt and the chain has shared that it needs new funding in order for them to continue operating.

The Body Shop did not respond to a request for comment from TheStreet.   

Read More

Continue Reading


Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

Read More

Continue Reading


Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

Read More

Continue Reading