Visualizing What $50k In Lumber Can Build Today Versus Last Year

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/05/09/visualizing-what-50k-in-lumber-can-build-today-versus-last-year/

Skyrocketing lumber prices have more than tripled over the past 12 months and made the cost associated with building an average new single-family home significantly rise. The folks at Visual Capitalist dove deeper into the lumber price storm to find out how many new single-family homes $50k…

Hedge Fund CIO: There Are Just Two Ways To Fix Today’s Imbalances – An Economic Depression Or Soaring Inflation

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/05/09/hedge-fund-cio-there-are-just-two-ways-to-fix-todays-imbalances-an-economic-depression-or-soaring-inflation/

As excerpted from the latest letter by Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management Late and Awkward: “The March 2020 downturn resembled a natural disaster rather than a recession that cleansed imbalances,” said Marcel, our […]

Swedish-Danish front at EU meeting: Stay away from our model | VikingLifeBlog

https://vikinglifeblog.wordpress.com/2021/05/09/swedish-danish-front-at-eu-meeting-stay-away-from-our-model/

Sweden and Denmark will unite during an EU social summit on Friday in defence of the labour market models unique to the two Nordic EU countries. The pressure from the other EU countries is considerable.

It is the struggle between, on the one hand, collective agreements that are well functioning in Denmark, Sweden and a few other EU countries, and, on the other hand, a statutory minimum wage.

  • We are driven by the same ambition: everyone must be able to live off their wages and live on it. But how do you get there? From the Swedish side and from the Danish side, we believe that it is best done according to each country’s culture and tradition. For us, it is collective agreements that are crucial, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told news agency TT on his way to the meeting.

In other words, keep your hands off our model. Labour market policy should not be a matter for the Eu ropean Union.

In recent weeks, there has been a tug-of-war between EU diplomats over what should be said about social policy in a statement from the Porto Summit.

It is currently a text that the two Nordic countries can live with, as nothing is promised or a path towards their wishes is indicated.

The Danish Government has stubbornly fought against measures that can sneak the EU in through the back door of labour market policy.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (Social Democratic Party) is confident that the Danish and Swedish models are not under threat as it stands.

  • I am in this way, and now I just greeted the responsible European Commissioner that I can feel a great awareness, and it is Denmark and Sweden in particular, that we have very strong labour market models that the EU must not be allowed to undermine, Frederiksen says.

On Friday, she will take part in a working session on social issues with other Heads of State or Government and representatives of the social partners.

  • I am very aware of this, and the Minister for Employment is very obscene about this, so that we do not suddenly get to say yes to something that could undermine our Danish labour market model. Because it’s world class. We should be allowed to keep it, says the Prime Minister.

The countries of the European Union can work well together in the social field, she stresses, but when it comes to labour market policy, it must remain a national matter

Don’t Fight The Fed’s Commodity “Put”

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/05/09/dont-fight-the-feds-commodity-put/

By Ryan Fitzmaurice of Rabobank Don’t fight the Fed Inflation remains a key concern for investors as was clear from Warren Buffett’s comments at the Berkshire Hathaway annual event this past weekend Commodity index inflows picked up substantially this week as institutional investors return to the alternative asset class…

Hey Fed, Explain Again How Making Billionaires Richer Creates Jobs, by Charles Hugh Smith | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

https://straightlinelogic.com/2021/05/08/hey-fed-explain-again-how-making-billionaires-richer-creates-jobs-by-charles-hugh-smith/

The Fed’s real job is to monetize the government’s debt at an acceptably low rate of interest. All this other economic and financial stuff is just window dressing. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Despite their hollow bleatings about ‘doing all we can to achieve full employment’, the Fed’s policies has been Kryptonite to employment, labor and the bottom 90%–and most especially to the bottom 50%, the working poor that one might imagine most deserve a leg up.

As wealth and income inequality soar to new heights thanks to the Federal Reserve’s policies of zero interest rates, money-printing and financial stimulus, the Fed says its goal is to create more jobs. Really? OK, let’s look at how the Fed’s doing with that.

I’ve assembled a chart deck to display the consequences of Fed policies on debt, wealth inequality and employment. Recall what Fed policies actually do:

1. Zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) destroyed the low-risk return on savings and money market funds, stripping everyone not in the Fed-privileged rentier-speculator-financier class of safe, real returns on capital.

2. Zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) lowered the cost of speculation by financiers and corporations but left the interest rates paid by the working poor for credit cards, auto loans and student loans at extortionate rates.

Continue reading→

Beijing’s Elusive Bid For Pricing Power On Rare Earths

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/05/08/beijings-elusive-bid-for-pricing-power-on-rare-earths/

Authored by Damien Ma via MacroPolo.org, From ventilator and chip shortages to what kind of ships traverses through which canals, the linkages and nodes of the global economy have rarely been in the spotlight as much as they have over the last 12 months. Many of these disruptions are short-term ones, but they […]

The Rise of Bitcoin, by William J. Luther | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Comment by tonytran2015: It is a strange time when people pay high price for a medium of exchange WITH ABSOLUTELY NO ONE guaranteeing its stability.

https://straightlinelogic.com/2021/05/08/the-rise-of-bitcoin-by-william-j-luther/

A good explanation and history of Bitcoin, from William J. Luther at aier.org:

In hindsight, the rise of cryptocurrencies appears to have begun with the introduction of bitcoin in 2009. Earlier cryptocurrencies had been launched in the 1990s, but they failed to take hold. David Chaum’s DigiCash is widely thought to have been ahead of its time. Chaum founded his company at the start of the decade, well before the rise of e-commerce. By 1998, it had filed for bankruptcy. More generally, early “digital-cash firms made a fatal miscalculation,” Julia Pitta wrote for Forbes in 1999. “They figured, wrongly it turns out, that consumers would be leery of using credit cards on the Web and would demand tight security and ironclad privacy.”

It was not clear, at first, that bitcoin would be any different. Perhaps fearing the fate of e-gold creator Douglas Jackson, bitcoin’s designer(s) adopted a pseudonym––the now-famous Satoshi Nakamoto––and shared the upstart open source project in email to the Cryptography Mailing List on January 8, 2009. Nakamoto had circulated a white paper explaining the technical details a few months before. Congratulatory replies soon followed, but there was little indication that bitcoin would quickly become a household name. It was little more than a novelty discussed by a handful of programmers on the Internet.

Continue reading→

The federal budget’s forecasts have relied on dodgy assumptions for years – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-09/federal-budgets-forecasts-have-relied-on-dodgy-assumptions/100126156

Back in 2017, when the national unemployment rate hit a then four-year low of 5.5 per cent, the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, said workers should start asking for pay rises because the labour market was tighter than people thought.

But while he was saying that, the trend underemployment rate was sitting at a historical high of 8.8 per cent, having just risen for six consecutive quarters…

Hedge Funds Are The ‘Most Short’ Junk Debt Since Lehman

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/05/08/hedge-funds-are-the-most-short-junk-debt-since-lehman/

A month ago we warned that The Fed’s incessant intervention had put distressed investors out of business as the remarkable rally in even the lowest quality junk debt (‘CCC or triple hooks’) had created party time for zombie companies everywhere as “high yield” is now […]