June 2016 – ECONOMIC NEWS – The total amount of international sovereign debt producing negative yields is astronomical, says a new report from Fitch Ratings (via the Wall Street Journal). The analysis discovered that there’s more than $10 trillion of negative-yielding debt.
According to the report, which was released Thursday, found that 14 nations have $10.4 trillion in sovereign negative-yielding debt as of May 31. This is up five percent from $9.9 trillion on April 25.Of the total amount of debt, $7.3 trillion was long-term debt and $3.1 trillion was short-term debt. And Japan is the biggest culprit of this type of debt.
This comes as more central banks are implementing unconventional monetary policy directives, including subzero interest rates – a handful of central banks have adopted this policy, such as the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank. The United States is benefiting from this as more global investors are diving head first into U.S. Treasuries. Because U.S. Treasuries produce positive yields, there is a growing demand for the greenback. –ECN
LA VICTORIA, Venezuela — Unemployed construction worker Roberto Sanchez could hear a time bomb ticking as he waited in line with 300 people outside a grocery store this week, hoping that corn meal or rice might be delivered later in the afternoon.
He fears that Venezuela could explode at any minute into political and economic chaos. “We have no food. They are cutting power four hours a day. Crime is soaring. And (President Nicolás) Maduro blames everyone but himself for the mess we find ourselves in,” said Sanchez, 36. “We can’t go on like this forever. Something has to give.” The question is what will give first. As the economy spirals into deeper disarray, protests aimed at driving the unpopular president out of office are growing. Maduro responded over the weekend by declaring a 60-day state of emergency to combat what he said are U.S.-sponsored efforts to overthrow his socialist government.
The confrontation has spilled into the streets. On Wednesday, riot police in Caracas fired tear gas as they clashed with thousands of protesters seeking a recall referendum against Maduro. The anti-government protest was the third in a week. The unrest mounts as the country faces continuing shortages of essential food, medicine and toiletries. All the bakeries here in La Victoria, 55 miles southwest of Caracas, stopped producing bread last week because there is no flour. “People are hunting dogs and cats in the streets, and pigeons in the plazas to eat,” Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the Caracas district of Chacao, said this month in a tweet that was reported in many newspapers.
Although Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases that have cut off vital food and most other imports. The result has been a plunging economy and the world’s highest inflation rate — above 700%. Because Venezuela imports 70% of the goods it consumes, including most medicine, growing shortages of medicines for such ailments as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and HIV has created dire situations for many. –USA Today
Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist, George Soros, recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter. Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets. Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil. Hmmm – it sounds suspiciously like George Soros and Michael Snyder are on the exact same page as far as what is about to happen to the global economy. You know that it is very late in the game when that starts happening…
One thing that George Soros is particularly concerned about that I haven’t been talking a lot about yet is the upcoming Brexit vote. If the United Kingdom leaves the EU (and hopefully they will), the short-term consequences for the European economy could potentially be absolutely catastrophic. Mr. Soros also argues that there remains a good chance the European Union will collapse under the weight of the migration crisis, continuing challenges in Greece and a potential exit by the United Kingdom from the EU. “If Britain leaves, it could unleash a general exodus, and the disintegration of the European Union will become practically unavoidable,” he said.
The Brexit vote will be held two weeks from today on June 23rd, and we shall be watching to see what happens. But Soros is not just concerned about a potential Brexit. The economic slowdown in China also has him very worried, and so he has directed his firm to make extremely bearish wagers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the last time Soros made these kinds of bearish moves was back in 2007, and it resulted in more than a billion dollars of gains for his company. Of course Soros is not alone in his bearish outlook. In fact, Goldman Sachs has just warned that “there may be significant risk to the downside for the market.”
After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285k from April and down 552k from a year ago. Last week, the government issued the worst jobs report in nearly six years, and the energy industry continues to bleed good paying middle class jobs at a staggering rate. The following comes from oilprice.com. That may seem counter-intuitive in an industry that has been rapidly shedding workers, with more than 350,000 people laid off in the oil and gas industry worldwide. A mock ad for the fictitious Byzantium Security International, which offers security protection for the world’s elite one percent.
Texas is one place feeling the pain. Around 99,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Lone Star state have been eliminated since prices collapsed two years ago, or about one third of the entire industry. In April alone there were about 6,300 people in oil and gas and supporting services that were handed pink slips. Employment in Texas’ oil sector is close to levels not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. “We’re still losing big chunks of jobs with each passing month,” Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist, told The Houston Chronicle.
At this point it is so obvious that we have entered a new economic downturn that I don’t know how anyone can possibly deny it any longer. Unfortunately, the reality of what is happening has not sunk in with the general population yet. Just like 2008, people are feverishly racking up huge credit card balances even though we stand on the precipice of a major financial crisis…
American taxpayers are quick to criticize the federal government for its ever-increasing national debt, but a new study released Wednesday found taxpayers are also saddled with debt, and are likely to end 2016 with a record high $1 trillion in outstanding balances. Wallethub, a site that recommends credit cards based on consumers’ needs, said that will be the highest amount of credit card debt on record, surpassing even the years during and before the Great Recession. The site said the record high was in 2008, when people owed $984.2 billion on their credit cards. –Right Side News