Skeptical comments

Posted in: Social media sites have become a phenomenal means of communication for hate groups, conspiracy theorists and deranged individuals and groups. Do you agree with this statement? See in context

It may be useful to consider individual susceptibility in this discussion. I would point to a reasoned study in 2020 that talked about susceptibility to social influence as a key metric in understand the degree of influence that social platforms have in the real world. Two Swiss researchers found that susceptibility to normative influence, in particular, predicts how users of platforms will conform their behaviors to that seen on the platform, particularly regarding buying, voting, or visiting what other users post. The authors, appropriately enough, urge education and awareness of potential susceptibility of individuals in different situations and scenarios, and to provide some strategies to resist the allure of what is acknowledged to be sophisticated psychological targeting in a marketplace of ideas and concepts. I see little difference between being a smart and savvy shopper in the market, and being a smart and savvy consumer over all things the Internet. In short, I feel that what I read and give any weight to, is (and always has been) up to me. . Overall, a good read for the weekend.

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Posted in: New technology installed beneath Detroit street can charge electric vehicles as they drive See in context

For readers interested in what happened to the National City Lines, and the decline and fall of the LA streetcars, and how the principal investors in National City Lines "engaged in an “aggressive campaign” to sell public transportation equipment to companies that were otherwise reluctant to purchase it," I would recommend an excellent writeup, entitled Did a conspiracy really destroy LA’s huge streetcar system? ( Not nearly as interesting or sensational, but then again, reality often is.

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Posted in: Kishida pledges at climate summit to phase out coal-fired power See in context

At the same time, Reuters told us just this past week that China, in the third quarter of this year, has permitted more new coal-fired plants than in all of 2021 combined. Plus, more than 95% of all global coal plant capacity that began construction this year was in China. And that their coal-fired power capacity is on track to rise by more than 200 GW by the end of the decade, which will be more than all of the power capacity currently in Canada. And coal-fired power makes up about 70% of their current emissions (not counting emissions from other coal usage, such as steel production). Added to all of this, two months ago their climate envoy told diplomats that their energy security concerns meant that phasing out fossil fuels was "unrealistic". China is heading in the wrong direction, and resulting in more harm for the rest of the world.

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Posted in: Climate activists fear COP28 clampdown in UAE See in context

When you travel to another country, you are expected to conduct yourself according to their laws and regulations. Whether you personally agree with them or not. The alternative being, of course, not to go at all, and stay home to protest in your own country, the way you like. And if you expect to go anyway, and protest or otherwise engage others, you must conform yourself to the laws and rules, and have your conduct monitored. Disappointed? Your message not being heard the way you want it to? Well, tough.

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Posted in: On COP28 sidelines, philanthropies invest $450 million to help tackle methane See in context

We can note, with approval and considerable relief, a recent study that advances our understanding of atmospheric methane. This is important, as previous studies show that a high percentage of atmospheric methane is derived from oceans, from both the waters and the floors; up to half attributed to 53% mean, from anthropogenic and natural sources (but varying widely).

The newest study, as reported last month in PNAS, indicates that methane has unique isotope characteristics that can be used in a practical way to trace samples back to an origin point source. But it also can be used to understand how long methane does linger in the atmosphere (data varies widely on this), and can be applied on old samples to review the accuracy of past methane modeling (some of which is decades old, and is past due for fresh validation). The authors urge further development on this, as indicators support, overall, recent data that increases in microbial emissions are driving the most recent rise in atmospheric methane. Overall a very good read for the weekend.

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Posted in: Sports Illustrated latest media company damaged by AI experiment gone wrong See in context

AI has apparently been widely deployed in many regular news and feature services. Being an avid reader, I've recently noticed some of the unmistakable signs of machine writing. It is a concern to the extent that professional journalists subscribe to one or more ethical codes over how they do their jobs. And I have yet to read how any AI writers can acknowledge, let alone subscribe, to any of the same ethical standards. I say that journalism belongs to remain in the hands of professional journalists.

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Posted in: New technology installed beneath Detroit street can charge electric vehicles as they drive See in context

This might have been more impressive, were it not for the fact that it was brought by, and installed by, and doubtless will be maintained by, a state agency that has a long-standing reputation for not being capable of filling potholes.

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Posted in: COP28 kicks off with climate disaster fund victory See in context

But some groups were cautious about celebrating the fund's early adoption, noting there were still unresolved issues including how the fund would be financed in the future.

Not an inconsequential concern, altogether. But another area of contention lises ahead, in that intentions have already been announced to funnel some of the funds towards 'marginalized groups.' But so far, at least, just who those groups are, remains to be firmly established, and has been skipped and shelved, and given a we'll-cross-that-bridge-later treatment. I'm pretty sure that sources of the funds would much prefer sooner than later.

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Posted in: Social media sites have become a phenomenal means of communication for hate groups, conspiracy theorists and deranged individuals and groups. Do you agree with this statement? See in context

I am passingly familiar with studies and surveys done in this area, but I cannot easily remember some of the statistics. At least in regard to the three types mentioned here (hate groups, conspiracy theorists and the deranged).

But I do recall that influence upon the reading public is highly dependent on the subject matter, content, context, and whether the content is angled towards a particular reader demographic. I do not easily recall how sticky the influence was; that is, whether it formed counter opinions or views that lasted to the voting booth, my quarterly financial planning, or (for that matter) even survived recall into the next day. I do recall that, for awhile at least, there was a loose movement by some (I do not recall who) that urged people not to read comments in outlets such a JT. But it seems to have gradually faded off the radar, as reader comments were (perhaps) recognized (perhaps grudgingly, since moderating comments must be a labor-intentive task; but also perhaps for click-count value in the marketplace) as a useful and valuable resource to springboard ideas in the direction of a particular target demographic, and to tailor future content in in context to comments received and discussions resulting. Would you care for a quick example? I am pleased and honored to say that I have been on a team that authored several published articles (not in this particular area) in the past. And I took time to track comments made in journals that were printed following release. They proved helpful, overall, as I prepared myself to discuss the work before colleagues and engage the public. Perhaps I was fortunate not to have run into many, as you say, the hate groups, conspiracy theorists and deranged. To that, I am grateful.

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Posted in: China says it is against supply chain decoupling See in context

For Mr. Stormcrow: This is one of my favorite Lincoln era quotes, but it deserves to be attributed to the brillant writer and orator, Robert Green Ingersoll. He used the like-verbage when introducing a speaker, who in turn was speaking about Lincoln, and then wrote this in one of his books:

Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except on the side of mercy.

But nothing can (or should) diminish the power and truth of a statement about a great man.

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Posted in: Many voters weary about Biden-Trump rematch in 2024 See in context

Speaking as an independent (non-party aligned) voter. This year's lineup of candidates is very disappointing. I would like to see more choice than the ones that seem to be in line already. But as it stands right now, I will probably vote, but frankly I am an inch away from allowing my deep disappointment from turning me away completely from the voting booth, since I simply despise voting for the lesser of evils.

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Posted in: Heat, disease, air pollution: How climate change impacts health See in context

Pew conducted some research earlier this year, and reported on overall attitudes in the US over climate change. Those interviewed indicated some measure of suspicion and mistrust, driven by several reasons but mostly because of a disconnect between the crisis rhetoric and their own knowledge and experiences. They further indicated a preference towards hearing from the individual climate scientists, themselves, instead of having information channeled and interpreted through media outlets. And they further indicated increased willingness to consider the issues when put in a local community context. And while willing to consider renewables, they also wanted to stress respecting individual freedom and choice in the marketplace.

I think that this information presents some valid perspectives that COP28 delegates - and those that report from the summit - would do well to take into account. And I would also add my own desire to see those on both sides of the debate to do their best to maintain civility and respectful consideration towards each other, and towards the rest of us. Especially as we measure in our own lives how this may affect our personal finances and choices in the marketplace.

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Posted in: China says it is against supply chain decoupling See in context

Supply chains are expected to be a topic of considerable concern at this COP28. Within the context of the Bridgetown Initiative, and what some delegate countries anticipate will end up being an endorsement that countries adopt the broad concepts of the Initiative. One of which stresses the need that all global supply chains must be made secure and resilient. And how this must happen to combat climate change, while retooling Globalization. And China is reasonably expected, by many to try to write the rules in a non-hedgemonic sort of a way, which logically should put them as the primary driver of all-things globalization in it's next phase. And to cease the previous policy of friend-shoring and near-shoring entirely, naturally for the good of the global environment. Let’s watch what comes ultimately out of COP28.

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Posted in: Asian shares mixed, oil steady ahead of July 4 holiday in U.S. See in context

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, advanced 40 cents to $112.03 per barrel.

Go ahead . . . tell them why.

Reuters reported over the weekend that output by OPEC+ members fell by 100K bpd to 28.52 million bpd in June, well off their pledged increase of about 275K bpd. Add to that, Libya's exports have dropped down about 865K bpd compared to normal levels, and about 130K bpd of Norway’s daily oil output will soon be lost due to a planned strike by Norwegian energy sector workers. Overall, oil prices are up almost 50% this year, with the only relief being seen by reduced demand typically seen at the start of a recession. Brent crude is currently trading at 113.08 USD/bbl, up 1.30% for the day, and 1.92% WoW.

Other big news today is gold. Gold edged down to below $1,810 an ounce, close to levels not seen in 5 months, pressured by a strong dollar, as the Federal Reserve leads a global wave of aggressive interest rate hikes by central banks to combat rising prices. It is currently trading at 1806.73, down -0.19% for the day and -0.87% WoW.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Asian shares mixed, oil steady ahead of July 4 holiday in U.S. See in context

The most optimistic scenario, a “Goldilocks outcome . . . is a tall order that is far from guaranteed at this point."

Not an understatement.

For those unaccustomed to the phrase usage in economics, economist David Shulman is widely considered to have coined the phrase in his 1992 study, "The Goldilocks Economy: Keeping the Bears at Bay." The U.S. economy in the middle to the late 1990s was considered a Goldilocks economy because it was "not too hot, not too cold, but just right."

This term describes an idealistic state for an economic system to be in, where there is full employment (the Fed believes a normal rate U2 to fall somewhere between 5% and 6.7%), economic stability, and stable GDP growth to prevent a recession, but not so hot as to push it into an inflationary status. The U.S. economy typically goes through five phases as part of the business cycle: growth or expansion, peak, recession or contraction, trough, and recovery. A Goldilocks economy may happen during the recovery and growth phases.

Most economists agree that central banks must use monetary policy tools to bring on and maintain a Goldilocks economy (welcome to Japan, Janet Yellen). They may raise interest rates to try to cool down the economy, but too much or too soon breaks one of the key pillars of the Goldilocks economy, and usually acts as a precursor to its end.

Because stubborn housing and energy inflation promises to continue to rise for the forseeable future, central banks will feel pressure to continue tightening to combat the biggest stressor seen on household incomes in generations. Consumer sentiment continues to plunge, jobless claims have surged since bottoming in late 1Q, leaving little doubt that recession is a reality. The only questions that remain is the length and depth.

Goldilocks must wait.

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Posted in: Asia stocks mixed after Wall Street down, China manufacturing up See in context

A monthly purchasing managers' index released Thursday by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group rose to 50.2 in June from 49.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate activity is increasing.

True, this was the first expansion in factory activity since February and the steepest pace in six months.

But the contrast is more news.

Flash data shows industrial production in Japan declined by -7.2% MoM in May, compared with consensus of a 0.3% fall and after a final 1.5% drop a month earlier; a second straight month of decrease in industrial output and the steepest pace since May 2020. Preliminary YoY figures showed -2.80% in Mayover the same month in the previous year.

The other big news from Japan was Japan's housing starts. Starts declined by -4.3% YoY in May 2022, much lower than forecasts for growth, and after a 2.2% gain the prior month. This was the first drop in dwelling starts since February 2021.

The Japanese yen hit 137 yesterday, for the first time since September 1998, before recouping some losses, back to 136.01.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Asian shares track Wall Street drop as inflation fears drag on See in context

The good news. The US GDP price index, measuring changes in the prices of goods and services produced, jumped 8.1% QoQ in the first three months of 2022, to 123.545 points, against an initial estimates of an 8% jump.

The bad news. The U.S. economy contracted an annualized -1.6% QoQ in the first three months of 2022, slightly worse than the -1.5% drop in the forcast estimate. It is the first contraction since 2020, due to a fall in exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending; while nonresidential fixed investment, PCE, and residential fixed investment increased.

The other anticipated news: U.S. Corporate Profits decreased -4.9% to 2402.90 USD Billion in 1Q 2022, from the previous +.2% of 2527.41 USD Billion in 4Q 2021. Forcast was for -4.3%.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Asian shares track Wall Street drop as inflation fears drag on See in context

Investors are awaiting remarks expected for midweek by central bank leaders . . . They will also get another update on U.S. economic growth on Wednesday when the Commerce Department releases a report on first-quarter gross domestic product.

Expectations ahead of time are going down.

Two bell weather indicators were reported yesterday.

The U.S. Dallas Fed Services Index, the general business activity index for services in Texas, slipped to -12.4 in June of 2022, from 1.5 in the previous month, and well off the forcast reading of +3. It was the lowest reading since July 2020, suggesting activity in the Texas service sector deteriorated significantly. Also the Richmond Fed Services Index, for Service Sector Activity in the US fifth district, fell to -7 in June of 2022 from 8 in May, the lowest since December 2020, and well off the forcast of a reading of +9.

We await the numbers and speeches.

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Posted in: Asian shares track Wall Street drop as inflation fears drag on See in context

Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index fell in June to its lowest level in more than a year, results that were much weaker than economists expected.

That in a moment.

First, the consumer confidence index in Japan dropped to an eighteen month low of 32.1 in June, down from May’s 34.1, and much lower than forcasts of 33. All sub-indexes were down. Employment perceptions were down 1.6 points to 37.4, consumer perceptions of overall livelihood were down 2.6 points to 29.8, views toward income growth were down 1.4 points to 35.8, and willingness to buy durable goods were down 2.6 points to 25.3. Reminder: A score above 50 indicates optimism, below 50 shows lack of confidence and 50 indicates neutrality.

Now the U.S. conference board. It came in at 98.7 for June, considerably lower than the forcast of 103.

Japan and the U.S. were not alone in declining consumer confidence. South Korea's consumer confidence fell by 6.2 points from the previous month to 96.4 in June, the lowest since January of 2021. Forcast was for 102,9. Declines were seen regarding current living standards, future outlook, prospective economic conditions, and prospective household income, while households’ inflation expectations for the year ahead rose to 3.9% from 3.3%, the highest since April 2012. CCSI above 100 indicates an improving outlook and below 100 a deteriorating outlook.

Consumers are generally looking ahead and not liking what they see.

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Posted in: Nikkei ends higher in 4-day rally on weak yen against U.S. dollar See in context

The U.S. dollar remained firm in the lower 135 yen range as an overnight rise in U.S. Treasury yields raised expectations that the interest rate gap between Japan and the United States would widen, dealers said.

Well, the yen is currently trading this hour at 136.114 up .53% for the day and 6.45% MoM, just off of the 24 year low of 136.7 hit earlier in June. Reflecting the reality that U.S. 10 year bonds are currently trading 3.2433, up 0.0493 overnight but down -0.03% WoW, mostly in anticipation of a host of U.S. reports due this week, along with preliminary inflation reports for major Euro Area countries this week. Japanese 10 year yield bonds are currently trading 0.2350, down -0.01% for the week.

Just today: the yield on the German 10 year Bund rose to above 1.65%, approaching an 8 1/2 year high of 1.926% hit on June 16th. This after ECB Chief Lagarde reaffirmed that the central bank would raise rates by 25bps in July, the first hike in 11 years. AND the yield on the Swiss 10-year government bond rose above the 1.4% level, edging closer to the 11 year high of 1.6% touched on June 16. AND the ECB will continue with its policy normalisation path to bring Euro Area inflation back to the 2% target, President Lagarde announced today. Lagarde confirmed that net asset purchases will end on July 1st and interest rates will be raised by 25bps in July, the first rate hike in 11 years.

Other currency news? The Indian rupee hit a fresh low of 78.9 against the US dollar, losing almost 6% YoY (currently trading at 78.9120, up 0.63% for the day) . This after the Reserve Bank of India, tracking other central banks, raised the repo rate by 50 bps in June and 40 bps in May.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Households becoming less tolerant of surging food prices: study See in context

The company also found a growing tendency to cut back on expenses for food and beverage.

It happened.

This survey, and similar results have finally been noticed. And in a big way.

Due largely to surging energy and food prices, resulting in the highest inflation seen for decades, the world's central bank's umbrella body, the Bank for

International Settlements (BIS), Sunday called for interest rates to be raised

"quickly and decisively" to prevent the surge in inflation turning into

something even more problematic.

"The key for central banks is to act quickly and decisively before inflation becomes entrenched," Agustín Carstens, BIS general manager, said as part of the body's post-meeting annual report published on Sunday. Carstens noted that BIS still thinks that an economic soft landing - where rates rise without triggering recessions - is still possible, but accepts that it is a difficult situation.

"If this tightening generates massive losses, generates massive asset corrections, and that contaminates consumption, investment and employment - of course, that is a more difficult scenario," Carstens said.

Carstens also said that though many global central banks and the BIS itself had significantly underestimated how quick global inflation has spiralled over the last six to 12 months, they weren't about to lose hard-earned credibility overnight.

"Yes, you can argue a little bit here about an error of timing of certain actions and the responses of the central banks. But by and large, I think that the central banks have responded forcefully in a very agile fashion," Carstens said.

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Posted in: Asian shares gain as investors shrug off downbeat data See in context

Market players . . . appeared to shrug off preliminary data showing a slowing of factory activity in several countries including Japan. The manufacturing manager surveys of “several developed economies came in lower-than-expected in both the manufacturing and services sector, which points to a broad-based moderation in economic activities," Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.

There is a little bit more to this. Than that.

The au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing PMI declined to 52.7 in May 2022 from a final 53.3 a month earlier, according to a flash reading announced Thursday, the lowest figure in four months, signaling the joint-softest operating conditions since last September. Output rose at the slowest rate in the current four-month sequence of growth, and buying levels eased, while new orders contracted for the first time in nine months. Delivery times lengthened further, due to persistent material shortages and pressure on supply chains, thus contributing to the strongest increase in output prices in the survey history.

Good news? Some. Employment growth accelerated, with backlogs of works accumulating at a slower rate; and input price inflation eased. Sentiment remained positive.

Services? Better. The au Jibun Bank Japan's flash reading from yesterday showed the Services PMI climbed to 54.2 in June of 2022 from a final 52.6 in May, the third straight month of expansion in services activity and the strongest pace since October 2013. New business rose at a moderate pace for the second straight month as demand conditions were bolstered by a resumption of activity in the tourism sector. On inflation, businesses recorded a fresh series record increase in input prices, contributing to an accelerated rise in output prices, which were up at the strongest rate since October 2019. Confidence strengthened further.

The yen is trading a minute ago at 134,780, -0.05% for the day, and -0.12% for the week. The ten year benchmark bond rate yield was 0.2270, up 0.008 for the day, but away away from the 0.25% implicit yield cap. BOJ this week left its key short-term interest rate unchanged at -0.1% and that for ten year bond yields around 0%.

U.S. news? The current account deficit in the US widened to a record high of $291.4 billion in Q1 2022, from an upwardly revised $224.8 billion in the previous period, above market expectations of $273.5 billion, mostly due to a surge in imports of goods (an increase by $71.1 billion to a record US$829.7 billion), with the biggest gains in consumer goods, industrial supplies and materials, and capital goods.

Also from the U.S.: The S&P Global US Composite PMI fell to a five-month low of 51.2 in June 2022, from 53.6 previously, according to preliminary estimates released yesterday. The S&P Global Flash US Manufacturing PMI fell to 52.4 in June 2022 from 57 in May, well below market expectations of 56 and pointing to the slowest growth in factory activity for almost two years as contractions in output and new orders weighed. Production and new sales declined for the first since the depths of the pandemic in mid-2020. Goods producers registered the lowest degree of confidence in the outlook for output over the coming year for 20 months in June.

Also from yesterday, the S&P Global US Services PMI fell to 51.6 in June of 2022 from 53.4 in May, the lowest in five months and well below forecasts of 53.5, according to preliminary estimates. Primary downward pressure came from a sharp fall in new orders, with demand falling for the first time since July 2020, while new export orders decreased at the fastest pace since December 2020. On top of that, the rate of job creation eased to the softest in four months. Sentiment remained positive but was at its lowest since September 2020

In the U.S., all eyes are on the Michigan consumer sentiment. Last time, Consumers' assessments of their personal financial situation worsened about 20%, and 46% of U.S. consumers attributed their overall negative views to inflation, the biggest share since 1981, during the Great Recession.

U.S. durable goods orders MoM are due Monday, while the Japanese consumer confidence index is due out Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

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Posted in: Japan inflation stays at 7-year high in May See in context

The core consumer price index, which excludes fresh food, jumped 2.1 percent year-on-year in May

Yes, well, what about food?

Actually, food inflation in Japan edged up to the highest seen in over seven years, to a high of 4.1% in May, from 4.0% the previous month. This is the 9th straight month of increases in cost of food, with increases seen in all sectors except for prices of alcoholic beverages, which dropped to -.3%, falling for the eighth straight month.

The annual inflation rate for Japan was 2.5% in May. The 9th straight month of rises in consumer prices. What sectors were included? Food (see above), cost of fuel, light and water charges (14.4%), clothes (0.9%), housing (0.5%), furniture (3.6%), education (0.8% ), culture & recreation (1.7% ), and miscellaneous (1.1%). Those sectors that saw decreases included transport (-0.8%) and medical care (-0.8%), mostly due to government interventions.

Thannks to the Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications.

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Posted in: For readers who are married to Japanese persons, how much does your spouse know about Japan's actions before and during World War II? See in context

This begs a followup question:

*For readers who are married to Japanese persons, how much do you know about Japan's actions before and during World War II? How much has your spouse contributed towards your knowledge and understanding of the era?*

Much of what is taught in schools up to the college level, in many countries, is either riddled with obvious errors and falsehoods, or is incomplete to the point of clouding many factors and realities that are still in play inside today's international relations.

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Posted in: Price of air tickets set to keep climbing See in context

To reduce carbon emissions, the industry focus is on sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), which are currently two to four times more expensive than fossil-based aviation fuel . . . On Tuesday, the IATA urged governments to provide subsidies to ensure SAF production reaches 30 billion liters in 2030, up from 125 million liters in 2021. It also wants price curbs.

This, at a time that the price of jet fuel is not only rising, but since 1Q has been rising much faster than the price of oil futures, largly due too the cost of refining jet.

For perspective, the price of jet fuel, world average as of last week, in USD per barrel was 177.08. Up .3% from the previous week, up 20.8% MoM, and up a whopping 128.9% YoY.

The IATA's own figures show that the global airline industry’s fuel bill amounts to a average quarter of operating costs.

The pledge that the industry made towards the Paris Agreement requires substantial government subsidities, as there is no where near the refining capacity required to implement SAFs on any scale.

The pledge is an example of one made by a well-intention industry, knowing - even back when it was made, as especially now - that it was going to be paid by someone else. Without regard to the contributing impact on the entire travel and hospitality industries, and on global stagflation and recession.

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Posted in: How much for gas? Around the world, pain is felt at the pump See in context

Gas watch in the U.S. continues.

Overnight gasoline futures extended losses toward $3.7 per gallon, the lowest in nearly a month. Gas futures are currently trading around 3.7178, down 2.12%. Uncertainty is the name of the game today, as the U.S. president is widely expected to announce a temporary suspension of the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline shortly. Headwind over news that gasoline stocks in the US likely fell 0.6 million barrels last week, the 12th straight week of falls, just at the start of the (normally busy) summer travel season. The wide fear is that rising gas prices combined with rising prices in all sectors will make all forms of travel more expensive, resulting in consumers delaying and cancelling vacation and travel plans. Thus adversly affecting the spending portion of the economy through 3Q 2022. Analysts predict that this spending, when adjusted for inflation, will not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Asian stocks rebound as Wall Street futures gain after holiday See in context

Good Wednesday evening.

Strange, but here we are. The Japanese depreciated past 136 per dollar, today sinking further to its lowest levels since 1998. At the hour it is trading at 136.151, down .17%.

Minutes from the last central bank meeting reaffirmed its firm towards it's low-yield, stimulative policy at a time other major central banks continue with interest rate hikes to curb inflation. BOJ left its key short-term interest rate unchanged at -0.1%, and the one for 10 year bond yields around 0% at its June meeting, along with the offer to buy unlimited amounts of the bonds to defend an implicit 0.25% cap every day, repeating the guidance on market operations it made back in April. The mimutes reflect an awareness of the impact of a weak yenis having on businesses and the broader economy, and reaffirmed the ability to take easing steps without hesitation, if needed.

Not alone. Today, the Indian rupee weakened past 78 against the US dollar, the lowest on record amid foreign fund outflows, firm crude oil prices, and general dollar strength. At this hour it is trading at 78.2920, up .22%. The central bank last raised the policy repo rate by 50bps to 4.9% in June, still remaining below its pre-pandemic level.

The New Zealand dollar depreciated past $0.63, sliding towards a two-year low hit last week. It is current trading at 0.62600, down 1.09% for the day. Analysts see t the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will more than double its rates to 4.25% by year-end, suggesting a series of half-point rate increases. The RBNZ raised the official cash rate by 50 basis points to 2% back in May, and said rates would need to rise “by more and sooner.” That was the second 50 bps rate increase in a row, following three 25 bps increases, as the central bank acted in the face of an inflation rate of 6.9% in 1Q 2022, much higher than the central bank target range of 1% to 3%.

The Australian dollar weakened to around $0.69, sliding towards a two-year low hit in May. It is currently trading at 0.69035, down .79% for the day. The Reserve Bank of Australia surprised markets with a 50 basis point rate hike to 0.85% at its June meeting, signaling more tightening ahead with forcasts seeing inflation hitting 7% by year-end.

Have a good day.

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Posted in: Asian stocks rebound as Wall Street futures gain after holiday See in context

Japan and China . . . have avoided joining in rate hikes. On Monday, China's central bank left its benchmark rates unchanged.

The People’s Bank of China held the 1 year loan prime rate steady at 3.7%, while the 5 year LPR stayed at 4.45%. China's approach to stimulus this year has relied mainly on targeted support for their crushed property sector lowering banks’ funding costs, and putting pressure on banks to make more loans. Many analysts expect a cut in the reserve requirement ratio to free up banks’ liquidity next, as a greater amount of one-year policy loans will mature in the second half of the year.

The yen is trading at 136.231 a few moments ago, up .86% for the day.

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Posted in: Nikkei ends at 5-week low on fears over U.S. rate hikes, economy See in context

One more. The Japanese yen is trading at 134.94 a moment ago, weakening towards 135 per dollar. It briefly hit 135.55 last Tuesday, the lowest in 24 years.

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Posted in: Nikkei ends at 5-week low on fears over U.S. rate hikes, economy See in context

Nikkei index ended at a five-week low on concerns over a worsening of the U.S. economy as the Federal Reserve is expected to maintain its aggressive rate hikes to tame soaring inflation.

That. And news that Japan's ten year government bond yield increased to .23% Monday after the BOJ’s purchase of government bonds last week totalling 10.9 trillion yen (81 billion USD), the most on record. This following benchmark yields breaching its 0.25% tolerated limit, amid global debt selloffs.

How much was that? To compare, European Central Bank asset purchases under the APP program was about 27 billion USD per month from the timeframe of January through May.

Under the radar: Anyone see that Michio Saito was appointed to the Finance Ministry? He will head a division that covers the bond market. Nicknamed, "Mr. JGB," his solid credentials date back to the market unrest felt back in the 1990s. His influence may be key, as cooperation between the ministry and BoJ will be important to ease BoJ from its huge bond purchase practices as of late.

Other big news today. Rice futures were trading around $16.22 per hundredweight, the lowest in eight weeks, on news of that India (world's biggest rice exporter) indicated that it has no plans to restrict exports. And also news that Thailand (second-largest exporter) expects to ship more than seven million tons of rice this year, exceeding its initial target. In the January to April period, the country exported over 2.2 million tons of rice, an increase of over 52%.

Have a good day.

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