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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)

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As We Sell Off Our Strategic Oil Reserves, Ponder This

As We Sell Off Our Strategic Oil Reserves, Ponder This

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

One of Biden’s answers to combating…



As We Sell Off Our Strategic Oil Reserves, Ponder This

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

One of Biden's answers to combating higher gas prices has been to tap into America's oil reserves. While I was never a fan of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) program, it does have a place in our toolbox of weapons. We can use the reserve to keep the country running if outside oil supplies are cut off. Still, considering how out of touch with reality Washington has become, we can only imagine the insane types of services it would deem essential next time an oil shortage occurs.

Sadly, some of these reserves found their way into the export market and ended up in China. We now have proof that the President's son Hunter had a Chinese Communist Party member as his assistant while dealing with the Chinese. Apparently, he played a role in the shipping of American natural gas to China in 2017. It seems the Biden family was promising business associates that they would be rewarded once Biden became president. Biden's actions could be viewed as those of a traitor or at least disqualify him from being President.

The following information was contained in a letter from House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, R-Ky. to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dated Sept. 20. 

"The President has not only misled the American public about his past foreign business transactions, but he also failed to disclose that he played a critical role in arranging a business deal to sell American natural resources to the Chinese while planning to run for President.”

Joe Biden, Comer said, was a business partner in the arrangement and had office space to work on the deal, and a firm he managed received millions from his Chinese partners ahead of the anticipated venture. While part of what Comer stated had previously been reported in the news, the letter, cited whistleblower testimonies, as well as emails, a corporate PowerPoint presentation, and a screenshot of encrypted messages. These as well as  bank documents that committee Republicans obtained suggest Biden’s knowledge and involvement in the plan dated back to at least 2017.

The big point here is;

  • The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established in 1975 due to the 1973 oil embargo, is now at its lowest level since December 1983.

In December 1975, with memories of gas lines fresh on the minds of Americans following the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, Congress established the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). It was designed “to reduce the impact of severe energy supply interruptions.” What are the implications of depleting the SPR and is it still important?

The U.S. government began to fill the reserve and it hit its high point in 2010 at around 726.6 million barrels. Since December 1984, this is the first time the level has been lower than 450 million barrels. Draining the SPR has been a powerful tool for the administration in its effort to tame the price of gasoline. It also signaled a "new era" of intervention on the part of the White House. 

This brings front-and-center questions concerning the motivation of those behind this action. One of the implications of Biden's war on high oil prices is that it has short-circuited the fossil investment/supply development process.  Capital expenditures among the five largest oil and gas companies have fallen as the price of oil has come under fire. The current under-investment in this sector is one of the reasons oil prices are likely to take a big jump in a few years. Production from existing wells is expected to rapidly fall.

The Supply Of Oil Is Far More Constant And Inelastic Than Demand

It is important to remember when it comes to oil, the supply is far more constant and inelastic than the demand. This means that it takes time and investment to bring new wells online while demand can rapidly change. This happened during the pandemic when countries locked down and told their populations and told them to stay at home. This resulted in the price of oil temporarily going negative because there was nowhere to store it.

Draining oil from the strategic reserve is a short-sighted and dangerous choice that will impact America's energy security at times of global uncertainty. In an effort to halt inflationary forces, Biden released a huge amount of crude oil from the SPR to artificially suppress fuel prices ahead of the midterm elections. 

To date, Biden has dumped more SPR on the market than all previous presidents combined reducing the reserves to levels not seen since the early 1980s. In spite of how I feel about the inefficiencies of this program, it does serve a vital role. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of a country's ability to rapidly increase its domestic flow of oil. This defensive action protects its economy and adds to its resilience. 

Biden's actions have put the whole country at risk. Critics of his policy pointed out the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was designed for use in an emergency not as a tool to manipulate elections. Another one of Biden's goals may be to bring about higher oil prices to reduce its use and accelerate the use of high-cost green energy.

Either way, Biden's war on oil has not made America's energy policies more efficient or the country stronger.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/25/2023 - 18:30

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The Disinformation-Industrial Complex Vs Domestic Terror

The Disinformation-Industrial Complex Vs Domestic Terror

Authored by Ben Weingarten via,

Combating disinformation…



The Disinformation-Industrial Complex Vs Domestic Terror

Authored by Ben Weingarten via,

Combating disinformation has been elevated to a national security imperative under the Biden administration, as codified in its first-of-its-kind National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, published in June 2021.  

That document calls for confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.

In connection therewith, it cites as a key priority “addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence.” 

Media literacy specifically is seen as integral to this effort. The strategy adds that: “the Department of Homeland Security and others are either currently funding and implementing or planning evidence–based digital programming, including enhancing media literacy and critical thinking skills, as a mechanism for strengthening user resilience to disinformation and misinformation online for domestic audiences.” 

Previously, the Senate Intelligence Committee suggested, in its report on “Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 Election” that a “public initiative—propelled by Federal funding but led in large part by state and local education institutions—focused on building media literacy from an early age would help build long-term resilience to foreign manipulation of our democracy.” 

In June 2022, Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act, which – citing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report – would fund a media literacy grant program for state and local education agencies, among other entities. 

NAMLE and Media Literacy Now, both recipients of State Department largesse, endorsed the bill. 

Acknowledging explicitly the link between this federal counter-disinformation push, and the media literacy education push, Media Literacy Now wrote in its latest annual report that ... 

... the federal government is paying greater attention to the national security consequences of media illiteracy.

The Department of Homeland Security is offering grants to organizations to improve media literacy education in communities across the country. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is incorporating media literacy into standard troop training, and the State Department is funding media literacy efforts abroad.

These trends are important for advocates to be aware of as potential sources of funding as well as for supporting arguments around integrating media literacy into K-12 classrooms. 

When presented with notable examples of narratives corporate media promoted around Trump-Russia collusion, and COVID-19, to justify this counter-disinformation campaign, Media Literacy Now president Erin McNeill said: “These examples are disappointing.”

The antidote, in her view is, “media literacy education because it helps people not only recognize the bias in their news sources and seek out other sources, but also to demand and support better-quality journalism.” (Emphasis McNeill’s)

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/25/2023 - 17:30

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G7 Vs BRICS – Off To The Races

G7 Vs BRICS – Off To The Races

Authored by Scott Ritter via,

An economist digging below the surface of an IMF report has…



G7 Vs BRICS - Off To The Races

Authored by Scott Ritter via,

An economist digging below the surface of an IMF report has found something that should shock the Western bloc out of any false confidence in its unsurpassed global economic clout...

G7 leaders meeting on June 28, 2022, at Schloss Elmau in Krün, Germany. (White House/Adam Schultz)

Last summer, the Group of 7 (G7), a self-anointed forum of nations that view themselves as the most influential economies in the world, gathered at Schloss Elmau, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to hold their annual meeting. Their focus was punishing Russia through additional sanctions, further arming of Ukraine and the containment of China.

At the same time, China hosted, through video conference, a gathering of the BRICS economic forum. Comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, this collection of nations relegated to the status of so-called developing economies focused on strengthening economic bonds, international economic development and how to address what they collectively deemed the counter-productive policies of the G7.

In early 2020, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had predicted that, based upon purchasing power parity, or PPP, calculations projected by the International Monetary Fund, BRICS would overtake the G7 sometime later that year in terms of percentage of the global total.

(A nation’s gross domestic product at purchasing power parity, or PPP, exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States and is a more accurate reflection of comparative economic strength than simple GDP calculations.)

Then the pandemic hit and the global economic reset that followed made the IMF projections moot. The world became singularly focused on recovering from the pandemic and, later, managing the fallout from the West’s massive sanctioning of Russia following that nation’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The G7 failed to heed the economic challenge from BRICS, and instead focused on solidifying its defense of the “rules based international order” that had become the mantra of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.


Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an ideological divide that has gripped the world, with one side (led by the G7) condemning the invasion and seeking to punish Russia economically, and the other (led by BRICS) taking a more nuanced stance by neither supporting the Russian action nor joining in on the sanctions. This has created a intellectual vacuum when it comes to assessing the true state of play in global economic affairs.

U.S. President Joe Biden in virtual call with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Feb. 24. (White House/Adam Schultz)

It is now widely accepted that the U.S. and its G7 partners miscalculated both the impact sanctions would have on the Russian economy, as well as the blowback that would hit the West.

Angus King, the Independent senator from Maine, recently observed that he remembers

“when this started a year ago, all the talk was the sanctions are going to cripple Russia. They’re going to be just out of business and riots in the street absolutely hasn’t worked …[w]ere they the wrong sanctions? Were they not applied well? Did we underestimate the Russian capacity to circumvent them? Why have the sanctions regime not played a bigger part in this conflict?”

It should be noted that the IMF calculated that the Russian economy, as a result of these sanctions, would contract by at least 8 percent. The real number was 2 percent and the Russian economy — despite sanctions — is expected to grow in 2023 and beyond.

This kind of miscalculation has permeated Western thinking about the global economy and the respective roles played by the G7 and BRICS. In October 2022, the IMF published its annual World Economic Outlook (WEO), with a focus on traditional GDP calculations. Mainstream economic analysts, accordingly, were comforted that — despite the political challenge put forward by BRICS in the summer of 2022 — the IMF was calculating that the G7 still held strong as the leading global economic bloc.

In January 2023 the IMF published an update to the October 2022 WEO,  reinforcing the strong position of the G7.  According to Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s chief economist, the “balance of risks to the outlook remains tilted to the downside but is less skewed toward adverse outcomes than in the October WEO.”

This positive hint prevented mainstream Western economic analysts from digging deeper into the data contained in the update. I can personally attest to the reluctance of conservative editors trying to draw current relevance from “old data.”

Fortunately, there are other economic analysts, such as Richard Dias of Acorn Macro Consulting, a self-described “boutique macroeconomic research firm employing a top-down approach to the analysis of the global economy and financial markets.”

Rather than accept the IMF’s rosy outlook as gospel, Dias did what analysts are supposed to do — dig through the data and extract relevant conclusions.

After rooting through the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Data Base, Dias conducted a comparative analysis of the percentage of global GDP adjusted for PPP between the G7 and BRICS, and made a surprising discovery: BRICS had surpassed the G7.

This was not a projection, but rather a statement of accomplished fact:

BRICS was responsible for 31.5 percent of the PPP-adjusted global GDP, while the G7 provided 30.7 percent.

Making matters worse for the G7, the trends projected showed that the gap between the two economic blocs would only widen going forward.

The reasons for this accelerated accumulation of global economic clout on the part of BRICS can be linked to three primary factors:

  • residual fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic,

  • blowback from the sanctioning of Russia by the G7 nations in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a growing resentment among the developing economies of the world to G7 economic policies and

  • priorities which are perceived as being rooted more in post-colonial arrogance than a genuine desire to assist in helping nations grow their own economic potential. 

Growth Disparities

It is true that BRICS and G7 economic clout is heavily influenced by the economies of China and the U.S., respectively. But one cannot discount the relative economic trajectories of the other member states of these economic forums. While the economic outlook for most of the BRICS countries points to strong growth in the coming years, the G7 nations, in a large part because of the self-inflicted wound that is the current sanctioning of Russia, are seeing slow growth or, in the case of the U.K., negative growth, with little prospect of reversing this trend.

Moreover, while G7 membership remains static, BRICS is growing, with Argentina and Iran having submitted applications, and other major regional economic powers, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, expressing an interest in joining. Making this potential expansion even more explosive is the recent Chinese diplomatic achievement in normalizing relations between Iran and Saudia Arabia.

Diminishing prospects for the continued global domination by the U.S. dollar, combined with the economic potential of the trans-Eurasian economic union being promoted by Russia and China, put the G7 and BRICS on opposing trajectories. BRICS should overtake the G7 in terms of actual GDP, and not just PPP, in the coming years.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for mainstream economic analysts to reach this conclusion. Thankfully, there are outliers such as Richard Dias and Acorn Macro Consulting who seek to find new meaning from old data. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/25/2023 - 07:00

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