Almost Half Of US States Are Officially Broke

Last month, we documented the case of Louisiana State University, the large, well-known public institution whose 2014 enrollment totaled nearly 31,000 students. LSU, it turns out, is facing funding cuts of as much as 82% which, if realized, would likely force the school into financial exigency, the college equivalent of bankruptcy. The reason for the cuts: the sharp decline in oil prices and fiscal mismanagement have conspired to blow a $1.6 billion hole in the state’s budget. Continue reading

IMF fears ‘cascade’ of woes as Fed crunch nears

The United States is poised to raise rates much more sharply than markets expect, risking a potential storm for global asset prices and a dollar shock for much of the developing world, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

The IMF fears a “cascade of disruptive adjustments” as the US Federal Reserve finally pulls the trigger for the first time in eight years, ending an era of cheap and abundant dollar liquidity for the international system.

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OPEC Boasts About Pain In U.S. Shale

Oil prices continue to fluctuate in a relatively narrow band around $50 for WTI and $60 for Brent. On March 6, Baker Hughes reported another round of declining rig counts. Only this week the pace of cutbacks accelerated. An estimated 75 rigs were removed from the oil patch for the week ending on March 6, a big jump from a week earlier. It is important to remember that week-to-week numbers are largely statistical noise; the long-term trend line is more important. Still, after several weeks in which the rig count collapse appeared to be slowing, last week’s figures are a reminder that the rout is not over yet. After all, production has not dropped off – U.S. production surpassed 9.3 million barrels of oil per day in February, the highest level in decades. Continue reading