The FAO Food Price Index report for February 2022 was recently released and it has hit a new all-time high. The previous high was back in February of 2011 – which was also the beginning of the Arab Spring. Coincidentally, oil prices are back to 2011 levels as well. The cause of increase in world food prices is multi-faceted. There is of course the major fiscal and monetary policies that were implemented over the past two years and continue to this day – their very actions are inflationary by definition. Global supply chain disruptions persist adding chokepoints and contributing to upward price pressures. Growing conditions and crop production is also of concern – the FAO cites issues with corn production in Argentina and Brazil. Corn is not just used for human consumption, but also for livestock and ethanol – thus contributing to further downstream price increases. Lastly, the uncertainties that exist due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. These two nations account for 25 percent of global wheat production and 20 percent of global corn production. Ukraine exports the bulk of their exports to Asian and Middle Eastern nations – as such, the stage is set for a redux of the Arab Spring – as bread is a main staple of the diet in the region. The conflict is also leading to some countries beginning to hoard their food production and limit or halt entirely the export of foodstuffs – Hungary just halted all grain exports. Other countries may very well follow suit and others, such as China, may go on a buying binge to obtain and store as much as possible in fear of continued rising prices – which if happens, such buying will continue to put upward price pressure on agricultural commodities. Further, in retaliation to economic and financial sanctions that have been placed on Russia, President Putin is retaliating by telling Russian fertilizer firms to stop exporting their products. This will have huge ramifications as Russia and Belarus, an ally of Russia, are two of the world’s top producers and exporters of fertilizers. In addition to this, natural gas prices have been rising, which is an input good and thus a cost to manufacturing fertilizers. It is easy to connect the dots and realize that higher food prices are likely the norm for the foreseeable future.
US gasoline prices are now averaging over $4 per gallon, a level not seen since 2008. The price increase is also the largest increase over a 10-day period, where the prior 10-day record high occurred following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Transportation costs have already been on the move higher through the pandemic and rising fuel prices will only exacerbate the concerns. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Inflation #FoodPrices #Revolution #USA #Russia #Ukraine #Gold #Silver #Wheat #Corn #Oil #Commodities #Protests #Liberty #Peace #Stagflation
Global markets continue to be rattled by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, this is the easy scapegoat for what truly ails the markets – easy money. Governments and central banks injected trillions of dollars into the world economy. Their excuse then, and justification for such actions was the pandemic. Now as the pandemic is seemingly coming to an end, they have a boogeyman to blame for supply chain disruptions, higher prices, etc – Russia. It is almost too coincidental, don’t you think? Several major global stock markets have given back all of their pandemic gains. It only takes a few short months, sometimes even weeks, to erase a year or years of gains. This is a direct result of markets having been juiced by cheap money. It wasn’t real. It was a bubble. As such, it can collapse easily and that is what is unfolding now. However, governments, central bankers, and other policymakers are not going to take responsibility for their actions. Thus, they will look for any and all excuses possible. Now, it’s the pandemic and Russia. What will be next?
As is highlighted in today’s podcast, global trade is discussed and how countries the world over will likely engage in hoarding their goods that are typically exported. This past week, Hungary announced that they are stopping the exports of grain products. Russia and Ukraine account for nearly 25 percent of the world’s wheat production and 20 percent of global corn production. Also this week, President Putin of Russia, reached out to fertilizer companies, basically instructing them to slow or stop the export of fertilizers. Russia and Belarus, an ally of Russia, are two of the largest fertilizer producers in the world. If they were to stop exporting, global food prices, which are already at or near all-time highs, will get even higher. Revolutions are fought on empty stomachs. We witnessed the Arab Spring only a decade ago. Rising global food prices were a major factor in that movement. Now with even more debt, higher food prices, a pandemic, and energy prices at levels also not seen for several years, sets the stage for a lot to go wrong in short order. Such protests, riots, strikes, revolutions, should they occur, will only exacerbate the current situation. Further disruptions to supply chains, less production of goods, fewer exports due to restrictions and/or lack of production – all of which translates into higher prices for the basic necessities. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Commodities #Gold #Silver #Recession #Peace #FoodPrices #Revolution #Protests #Russia #Ukraine #USA #Liberty #Stagflation #Inflation
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Just when you thought two weeks to end the spread was bad because it turned into two years – now we find ourselves on the doorstep of war. And not war with a small country that we typically after, but one with nukes. Yes, I mean Russia. Today, Russia decided to invade Ukraine and they did so on all fronts. The Russian stock market crashed over 30 percent, the Ruble hit an all-time low against the US dollar, and western nations set into place further sanctions against Russia. The blame game can wait. What we need to know is if this has staying power and if it’s a distraction. A distraction from the pandemic and all the draconian measures that followed. A distraction from a weakening economy being destroyed by inflation. A distraction from financial markets that appear to be ready to buckle under the weight from a decades long artificial intervention. There are many questions to ask, but the most important one may simply be to ask, why? Is this really the best we can do as the human race? Be prepared for the ensuing economic fallout and the political instability that will follow. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #War #Peace #Russia #Ukraine #Gold #Silver #Economy #FoodPrices #Recession #Protests #Revolution
Tame inflation or keep the markets up – what to do, what to do? This is the position the Federal Reserve, along with some other major central banks, are contending with. It’s been an open secret for years that the Fed is beholden to the credit and stock market. However, the Fed now finds the economy in an inflationary environment. One way to combat inflation would be to raise interest rates significantly to match or exceed the current rate of inflation, which is at 7.5 percent. Doing so, however, will surely bring down the credit markets and with it the stock market. Yet, not contending with inflation, will only make the inflation that much worse and will last that much longer. Inflation is a regressive and hidden tax that impacts the most economically vulnerable among us the worst. This also ties into massive wealth inequality that is one for the record books. So coupled together with persistent and high inflation along with massive wealth inequality sets the stage for massive political instability, protests, and revolutions, which will be experienced the world over. This is not just a problem for the USA, but for the world. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Inflation #Stagflation #Recession #Depression #Protests #Revolution #FoodPrices #InterestRates #Liberty #Freedom #Oil #Gold #Silver
I step aside for a few months and all hell breaks loose – exactly how I told you it would. Inflation has proven not to be transitory and the solutions that exist to combat inflation are not popular and will bring the entire economy to a screeching halt. Those trillions upon trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus came with a price tag – and everyone is now paying that price – inflation! Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Inflation #Stagflation #Recession #Depression #FoodPrices #Oil #Gold #Silver #Liberty #Freedom #Protests #Revolution
With initial jobless claims edging higher week-over-week to come in at 351,000 for the week ending 18 September, to major corporations such as FedEx, Costco, and Nike, informing the markets that higher prices are coming and are here to stay, the writing is one the wall – stagflation is here and it is not leaving any time soon. In the same vein, even members of the Federal Reserve and the White House are doing a 180 and no longer referring to inflation as transitory, but rather something that will be a little more persistent. Stagflation is a one-two knockout with higher unemployment, stagnant to negative growth, and higher prices – consumer and producer. This environment has not been seen in the United States since the 1970s and 1980s, especially to this degree. In the goods and services that are needed, we will see persistent and sustained price increases. The remainder of this decade is going to be volatile, violent, and unforgiving. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Economy #Stagflation #Inflation #Gold #Silver #Commodities #Oil #Natural Gas #Liberty #USA #Housing #FoodPrices #Freedom
No matter how you cut it, there is a long way to go if we are going to see employment figures at levels prior to the pandemic. Distortionary economic policies from both fiscal and monetary authorities have created sizeable imbalances that will take months, if not longer, to work themselves out. These policies have led to the zombification of the economy, whereby in a well-functioning marketplace, many of these companies would have went out of business, downsized, and/or restructured. This propping up of weak and poorly run businesses will only serve to stunt future growth, thereby weakening economic development, thus perhaps putting a lid on job gains as well.
In today’s podcast we cover a number of data points pertaining to the employment situation. Labor force participation figures across various age cohorts, the employment-population ratio, private sector reports, and the overall official numbers from governments agencies are discussed. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Economy #Jobs #Inflation
The official unemployment rate is now 5.8 percent, this is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, as they released the jobs report this morning. For the month of May, 559,000 jobs were added to the roles. This figure was below market expectations, which was looking for a gain of 650,000. Recall that last month, analysts were looking for jobs gains near one million and fell way short of that number. The April figure was revised upward by 12,000 and now stands at 278,000. It would stand to reason that markets would be looking once again for a one million figure or close to it, considering more parts around the country have been re-opening. If one million was good enough for April, then it should have been good enough for May. This was not the case, however, and this was most likely due to the fact that analysts were so far off target in April. And not wanting to make the same mistake twice, they collectively lowered their estimates. It is a joke of an economy and it is a joke of markets. We are in a first world banana republic where the numbers seemingly do not even matter anymore. All that matters is how much central bank liquidity is being thrown into the system. Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Economy #Jobs #Inflation #Gold #Silver #Protests #FoodPrices #Revolution #Liberty #USA #Leadership #EndTheFed #bananarepublic #FireCongress #Bailouts #Debt #Spending
From one economic figure to the next, it is never really good enough. At least not for the Federal Reserve and other major central banks to truly begin normalizing their respective balance sheets, let alone even discuss the topic. They are concerned how tapering and/or any subsequent increase to interest rates will impact global equity, bond, and currency markets. And rightly so. The Fed attempted to taper and increase interest rates only a few short years ago and it ended with equity markets dropping nearly 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. The economy and equity markets could not digest a Fed’s balance sheet below $4 trillion or the Federal Funds Rate just north of 2 percent. Fast-forward to a balance sheet near $8 trillion and the FFR at the zero bound, and you can surely see their predicament. Equity and bond prices have been able to increase over this pandemic period for one reason and one reason only and that is due to the major liquidity injections by central banks and federal government programs. Remove these items and prices are nowhere near these levels. Policymakers are trapped, they know it, and they are getting more and more nervous by the day.
Initial jobless claims came in at 385,000 for the week ending 29 May. This is the lowest figure since 14 March of 2020 when the number was 256,000. The number from last week was revised slightly lower by 1,000 to now stand at 405,000. In aggregate, some 15.4 million Americans continue to claim some form of unemployment insurance. This gives a de facto unemployment rate of 11.1 percent. The official unemployment rate is currently 6.1 percent. The May jobs report will be released tomorrow morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, and it will be watched closely by global markets. Analysts are looking for nearly 1 million jobs having been added to the roles for the month of May. A recent report released by ADP has stated that 978,000 private sector jobs were added in the month of May. Recall that last month, expectations were for nearly 1 million job gains for April, however, the official statistic came in at 266,000. Will May be a repeat of April or more in alignment with market forecasts?
The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has hit another all-time and now currently stands at $7.935 trillion. This is a week-over-week increase of some $32 billion. It is somewhat laughable how the Fed stated only yesterday that they will begin to taper their holdings of corporate bonds, which amount to $14 billion. And even this is supposed to be a process that could take until the end of the year. Meanwhile, they added $32 billion to their balance sheet in one week alone! The Fed also remains committed to their QE policy of purchasing at least $120 billion per month in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. M1 and M2 money stock has also been updated and both currently stand at all-time highs, as of April. Coming in at $18.935 trillion and $20.109 trillion, respectively, really puts things into perspective, especially when considering that M1 was at $4 trillion prior to the pandemic and M2 was at $15.5 trillion. So what exactly did we get for all of this funny money? Because we can assure you that this is no free lunch. Jay Powell, Chair of the Fed is expected to speak tomorrow. Most likely this will be some form of damage control for the jobs report whether the number is good looking or ugly. These markets need continued hand-holding in order to grind higher. Talk about a command and control economy. Land of the free, eh? Stay diversified, stay vigilant, and stay with The Kapital News. #Economy #Inflation #FoodPrices #Gold #Silver #Protests #Riots #Liberty #USA #Leadership #Revolutions #EndTheFed #bananarepublic #FireCongress #Jobs #Bailouts #Debt