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Financial Free Speech From Zero Hedge's RSS Feed

Outspoken bloggers Tyler Durden and Marla Singer dish up controversy and blasphemy we all love and share with the free speech trading community - not the online casino usa that many think the markets are - but a place where both metrics and reason play a big roll. Read on.

"A Vaccine Or Nothing" - Philippines Plans Russian Vaccine Trials To Begin In October

"A Vaccine Or Nothing" - Philippines Plans Russian Vaccine Trials To Begin In October

Tyler Durden

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 07:00

A couple of days after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte volunteered to take a test dose of the Russia-approved vaccine (after President Vladimir Putin claimed one of his two adult daughters received a course of the vaccine during "the experiment"), the Philippines has officially agreed to run clinical trials of "Sputnik V", and if successful, it would be registered for use within the country by April 2021.

A spokesman for Duterte said on Thursday that trials would begin in October and, if they were successful, the "Sputnik V" vaccine would be registered for public use by April or May 2021, according to the FT.

This, even after Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA who quit to "spend more time with family" just months before the outbreak began (thereby missing out on the star turn of a lifetime), said on CNBC that he "wouldn't take it", referring to the Russian vaccine, explaining that the "adenovirus vector" favored by the Ruskies is similar to CanSino's candidate, which, Gottlieb claimed, hasn't produced much promising data.

However, that technology is also being used by the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca partnership, which recently published some promising data that inspired a market rally. On the surface, this might seem to validate claims that "Russia-backed" hackers stole UK vaccine research.

 

Though he will need to wait until the spring, according to his spokesman Harry Roque, Duterte will indeed be one of the first injected with the vaccine in the country: "It’s not a metaphorical statement," said Mr Roque in an online briefing with journalists. "He is willing to undergo it."

Pundits told the FT that, as the country's outbreak roars back amid economic reopenings ordered by Duterte, which inspired him to revive restrictive lockdowns in the capital, Manila, it's clear his strategy is to bring a vaccine to market as quickly as possible.

"I think Duterte’s strategy is a vaccine or nothing," said Richard Heydarian, a political analyst and author of a book on the leader. "This guy has gone from typical populist dismissiveness toward the crisis to becoming one of the world’s biggest supporters of lockdowns."

To be sure, the advent of the vaccine in the Philippines will likely be met with a mix of skepticism and hope, since the country has a history of being burned by vaccines: As the FT points out, the country suspended Sanofi’s Dengvaxia dengue vaccine in 2018 after Philippines officials connected it to a spate of illnesses and deaths, even as Sanofi has insisted that the vaccine is "safe".

Russian doctors and teachers start getting vaccinated, advanced trials are set to start Wednesday that will involve “several thousand people” and span several countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and possibly Brazil.

Failure To Reach Deal On Federal Stimulus Plan Risks Consumer Spending Recession

Failure To Reach Deal On Federal Stimulus Plan Risks Consumer Spending Recession

Tyler Durden

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 06:00

Submitted by Joseph Carson, former chief economist at AllianceBernstein

Failure to reach a compromise on a broad federal stimulus plan creates a big “hole” in consumer’s cash flow. The “hole” is so big it raises the risk of substantial reduction, if not a recession, in consumer spending in the coming months.

Record Federal Stimulus In Q2

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), special federal payments to individuals (and small businesses) in Q2 totaled more than $ 3.2 trillion annualized. That boost to personal income resulted in a 7% quarterly gain in Q2, wiping out what would have been a 10% reduction based on record job losses, and reduction in hours worked and pay.

 

Included in those numbers are the direct stimulus payments to people, a weekly supplemental payment for unemployment, expanded unemployment payments to individuals who are not usually eligible for unemployment, forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits to help cover payroll and other expenses, suspension of reimbursements paid to Medicare and suspension of interest payments on federally held student loans.

In Q2, the special federal payments to people (including small businesses) amounted to 25% of wage and salary income earned in the quarter. In other words, for every $4 of wage and salary income, people working and idled (and small business owners) received another $1 from the federal government.

According to the payroll employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 133.7 million people employed in Q2. That means the record federal stimulus payments were the equivalent of 33 million jobs.

The abrupt and sharp loss of income has not been lost on economic experts, even those that occupy the White House. Fearing a sharp drop in spending due to the loss of record federal stimulus payments the Administration’s economic team recommended the president sign executive orders to provide a temporary extension but smaller scale of unemployment compensation and a three month holiday in payroll taxes.

This band-aid plan is too small to fill the "holes" and also too slow in getting monies to people fast. That’s because the additional unemployment program will take several weeks to set-up and also require states to pay for one-fourth of the plan. But most states don’t have the monies to comply so some unemployed people might not see any benefit at all.

Businesses are undecided on the payroll tax holiday. That's because it will be difficult for them to implement since it only applies to part of their workforce, and it needs to be repaid at some point in 2021. As a result, many companies may opt-out, resulting in little or no short-term boost to consumer cash flow.

With each passing day, failure of Congress and the Administration to reach a deal on the federal stimulus plan raises the risk of a hard fall in consumer spending. Millions of people have not paid rent or mortgages over the last few months and the federal stimulus payments offered them a short-term "lifeline" just to sustain minimum household spending.

I have never been a believer in double-dip recessions. But the sharp drop in consumer income may make it a reality for investors.

Mnuchin Begs For Coins Amid Shortage; Avoid Depositing These Pennies

Mnuchin Begs For Coins Amid Shortage; Avoid Depositing These Pennies

Tyler Durden

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 05:30

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urged his Twitter followers on Tuesday to swap out their spare coins for cash at banks amid a continuing nationwide coin shortage that appears to be worsening. 


If you have extra coins at home, please use them to make purchases— or deposit them at the bank or exchange them for cash. Help get coins moving! 🇺🇸
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) August 11, 2020
There's currently a shortage of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which led the Federal Reserve to start rationing coins in June. 

Community banks have asked customers to deposit spare change to pump more coins into circulation. Because of the shortage, major retailers have told consumers to pay in cards or exact change. 


"Until coin circulation patterns return to normal, it may be more difficult for retailers and small businesses to accept cash payments," the US Mint said in late July. "For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment and cash transactions rely on coins to make change."


Now, before readers start rummaging through their homes, underneath sofa cushions, and under car seats for spare coins to help the country in these challenging times, there are certain coins in circulation that are worth more in scrap than face value. 

According to Coinflation.com, pennies from 1909-1982 are approximately 95% copper and have a metal value of about $0.0185. In this instance, once could almost double their money if they took these pennies to a scrapper than the bank. Here's the complete list of what coins are worth in terms of face value versus metal value. 

 

Another coin to watch is the nickel. It has been nine years since Kyle Bass first suggested the 'nickel trade', and the metal value is about 82% of face value. Though the trade is underwater, it's not far off from the face value breakeven when considering other coins in circulation. 

 

While Bass' nickel trade underperforms, readers should think twice before depositing pennies from 1909-1982 at the bank because they're worth way more in scrap. 

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