Russia Is Liquidating Its US Treasury Holdings

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The buildings of Moscow City, the Moscow International Business Center (MIBC). © Vladimir Sergeev / Sputnik

 

The share of US sovereign debt bonds under Russian control has dramatically decreased in recent months. In March 2018, Russia held $96.1 billion in US Treasures, which it reduced to $48.7 billion in April.

A treasury bond is a fixed-interest government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest payments twice a year. The gradual sell-off of US sovereign debt started in 2011, and has intensified over recent years amid numerous rounds of sanctions imposed by the White House against Russia. Continue reading

The U.S. Dollar: A Victim of Its Own Success

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America’s most powerful weapon of war does not shoot, fly or explode. It’s not a submarine, plane, tank or laser. America’s most powerful strategic weapon today is the dollar.

The U.S. uses the dollar strategically to reward friends and punish enemies. The use of the dollar as a weapon is not limited to trade wars and currency wars, although the dollar is used tactically in those disputes. The dollar is much more powerful than that.

The dollar can be used for regime change by creating hyperinflation, bank runs and domestic dissent in countries targeted by the U.S. The U.S. can depose the governments of its adversaries, or at least blunt their policies without firing a shot. Continue reading

The Art of the Deal Vs. The Art of War

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At the risk of beating a dead horse on the topic of trade wars, the sequence of unfolding events is making me cautious near term.

Let me explain why.

First, for all those market pundits, analysts and investors who are following the twists and turns of this trade tiff using Trump’s Art of the Deal as their playbook…

I have a better read for you. Pick up a copy of Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War instead! Continue reading

Russell Napier: “Trade War Is The Beginning Of A New Global Monetary System”

A Country Matures, An Exchange Rate Declines

After two weeks on the road visiting clients your analyst returns with a better view of the consensus outlook. There is, though, much in the consensus to disagree with. In particular it seems peculiar that the consensus believes the democratically elected government of Italy, with policies entirely contrary to EU membership, will be put through the bureaucratic meat grinder in Rome and Brussels and turned into EU sausage, in a similar process that minced the political representatives of Greece.

While this might well be the case, it is hard to understand that the grinding destruction of this democracy, even if it is only moderate compared to the Greek experience, can be anything but bad for growth and asset prices in the EU. Disciplining these politicians to abandon their manifesto promises and follow the ways of the EU is highly unlikely to be a painless experience, either for Italy or the rest of the EU. Nonetheless, investors are content to believe that a painless disciplining of Italy’s elected representatives is all but inevitable. We shall see.

Perhaps the most prevailing consensus view is that the recent weakness of the RMB represents a Chinese counter-punch in the trade war with the US. Coming when it does, it is easy to see the accelerated decline of the RMB as a tactical and not a strategic move. Comments by the PBOC on July 3rd have probably reassured many investors that the managed exchange rate regime is not at risk and that the RMB will continue to be managed against a basket of currencies. Your analyst does not agree. Continue reading

Trade war threats get real as US and China impose tariffs

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Donald Trump has turned his threats of a trade war into reality. (Photo: AP)

 

US President Donald Trump fired the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $US34 billion ($46 billion) of Chinese imports. China immediately said it would be forced to retaliate.

The duties on Chinese goods started at 12:01 am Friday in Washington (2:01 pm AEST), which was just after midday in China. Another $US16 billion of goods could follow in two weeks, Trump earlier told reporters, before suggesting the final total could eventually reach $US550 billion, a figure that exceeds all of US goods imports from China in 2017.

US customs officials will begin collecting an additional 25 per cent tariff on imports from China of goods ranging from farming plows to semiconductors and airplane parts. China’s officials have previously said they would respond by imposing higher levies on goods ranging from American soybeans to pork, which may in turn prompt Trump to raise trade barriers even higher.

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China Has Quietly Implemented A 6% Across The Board ‘Tariff’ On All US Imports

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Nothing happens by accident in China and this massive drop in the value of the Yuan mirrors the violent devaluation, snap in 2015…

 

Trump and Xi have spent much of the last few weeks tossing tariff grenades across the Pacific Ocean as retaliatory retaliations grow ever stronger in rhetoric and potential escalations.

Then this week, Trump seemed to back away from his most serious threats (direct Chinese investment restrictions).

We wonder if this is why… Continue reading

Germany Has Made Over 3 Billion Profit From Greece’s Crisis Since 2010

Extorted, subjugated and conquered. Greece has been a German vassal state for years already.

 

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Germany has earned around 2.9 billion euros in profit from interest since the first bailout for Greece in 2010.

As KeepTalkingGreece reports, this is the official response of the Federal Government to a request submitted by the Green party in Berlin.

The profit was transmitted to the central Bundesbank and from there to the federal budget. Continue reading

China Industrial Policy Seeks to Steal ‘Crown Jewels’ of U.S. Tech

Xi Jinping

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White House exposes Chinese economic aggression

China’s government is using a multi-pronged strategy to systematically steal advanced American technology as part of economic aggression against the United States, according to a White House report.

The report, based in part on declassified intelligence from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, provides some of the first public details on China’s industrial policies that have produced the world’s second largest economy, often at the expense of American companies. Continue reading

Here Are The Six Ways China Could Retaliate In Trade War With The U.S.

For those who missed the overnight fireworks, late on Monday, President Trump asked the US Trade Representative to identify USD 200BN in Chinese goods for further tariffs of 10% which will be imposed if China refuses to change its practices and goes ahead with its retaliation threat, while he also stated that China raising tariffs is unacceptable and that the US will pursue tariffs on another USD 200bln of Chinese goods if China increases tariffs yet again.

Predictably, China – which last week reacted instantly to Trump’s first round of $50BN in tariffs – again responded immediately, wasting no time in accusing Trump of “blackmail.” China’s commerce ministry said on its website that if the US “irrationally” moves forward with the tariffs then China has no choice but to “forcefully fight back” with “qualitative” and “quantitative” measures. Continue reading

Russia And India Ditch Dollar In Military Deals

With the US increasingly willing to use the dollar, and SWIFT, as a strategic weapon against the country’s sovereign enemies (as Iran learned every 5 or so years), Russia and India are preparing to bypass US sanctions on Moscow by using the rupee and the ruble in bilateral trade involving military deals, the Economic Times reported.

Some $2 billion in weapons deals between India and Russia have been hit as a result of the recent US sanctions, as payments get stuck. The countries are seeking to bypass such monetary bottlenecks this by switching to settlements in domestic currencies and ditching the greenback. Continue reading

Foreigners Dump US Treasury Bonds in Record Amounts

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For the 2nd straight month in April, foreigners were net sellers of notes and bonds. The total was $4.8b, about the same as the net sales in March. The complexion of the activity was very bifurcated however as central banks sold a total of $48.3b, more than offsetting private foreign buying of $44.6b (International agencies make up the difference). Continue reading

China Closes The Door On Vietnam’s Oil And Gas Ambitions

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As China tightens the noose over Vietnam’s ability to drill for oil and gas in its own UN-mandated 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the country is turning to solar energy and other renewables to make up for lost ground.

Over the weekend, Singapore-based Sunseap Group broke ground on Vietnam’s largest solar farm, a 168-MW project in Ninh Thuan province. The $150 million project will become operational in June 2019 and supply more than 200 kWh of electricity to the national power grid annually, Sunseap said in a statement. Continue reading

“Interfere!”

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ROME/BERLIN (Own report) – Following massive pressure from Berlin, Italy’s new government has renounced on appointing a well-known euroskeptic to become economy and finance minister. The renowned economist Paolo Savona must accept a less prominent post as Minister for European Affairs – above all because he criticizes Germany’s blatant policy of domination at the expense of the other euro zone countries. The far right Lega Nord is now almost as strongly represented in Rome’s government as the 5-Star Movement: Due to Germany’s open interference, Lega’s poll ratings have soared, thereby significantly increasing its political clout. In the run-up, German politicians and media had reactivated a tactic they had been using since the beginning of the euro crisis: With warnings of harsh financial market reactions, they fuel the fear of a crisis, thus applying even more pressure on Rome. According to German media with wide circulation, Italy’s policy “concerns all of us” – “Interfere!”

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Eurocracy

All roads continue to lead to Berlin, the powerhouse that runs and dictates Europe’s future. In this case, Berlin is spearheading an effort to keep Italy subjugated before an economic crisis (it’s already capitalizing off of) gets politically out of hand as it did in Greece, which is now a German vassal state. It’s Germany’s goal to create a United States of Europe and economic levers are but one tactic in harmonizing Europe how it sees fit in achieving that end.

 

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ROME/BERLIN (Own report) – Following massive complaints from Germany, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella blocked a euroskeptic from becoming his country’s finance minister, appointing an IMF man – favored by Berlin – to be prime minister. The democratically elected 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega Nord majority’s opportunity to form a government was thereby denied. Euroskeptic Paolo Savona, a renowned career economist, was rejected because he could not have insured the maintenance of the EU’s common currency. Under his administration, resistance to Berlin’s austerity dictate could have been expected, whereas the newly appointed Prime Minster Carlo Cottarelli passed the test a few years ago as the Rome government’s austerity commissioner (“Mr. Scissors”). Savona’s nomination is the result of Italy’s growing euroskepticism, which, in the meantime, is also shared by other economists. “Germany profits, Italy loses” through the introduction of the euro, concludes Savona’s alternative candidate to the post of finance minister.

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Russia Finance Minister: We Are Ready To Ditch The Dollar In Favor Of The Euro

In a testament to the success of the latest Trump sanctions against Russia, overnight Russian aluminum giant Rusal announced that its chief executive, Aleksandra Buriko, and half of its managerial board resigned to make sure the firm avoids U.S. sanctions against its founder, billionaire oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The mass resignations were part of “the efforts that have been made by the management of the group to protect the interests of the company and its shareholders” since the sanctions were imposed last month, Rusal said in a May 24 statement.

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