Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday roundup (02-28-14)

Euro Zone Inflation Stays Low; Joblessness Remains High (The New York Times) Euro zone inflation stabilises in "danger zone", unemployment stays high (Reuters)

No sign of an easing of eurozone unemployment in next few months: Unemployment in the euro area has remained stubbornly high since the start of the new year, with fresh January figures providing no silver lining. Young people remained among those hit hardest by the lack of jobs. (Deutsche Welle)

The ECB’s French Headache (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Italy Unemployment Rises to Record High in Challenge for Renzi (Bloomberg)

Strikes and Political Turmoil Put Cyprus Bailout at Risk (Bloomberg) Cyprus faces fresh bailout uncertainty after privatization vote (Reuters)

Credit Card Debt Threatens Turkey’s Economy (The New York Times)

Home ownership in Greece 'a sick joke' as property market collapses: Greece has suffered the second biggest property crash in the EU since the debt crisis began (The Guardian)

Bank of England identifies need to shelter homeowners from interest spike: Base rates are set to remain lower than the long run average to ensure that mortgage rates remain affordable (The Guardian)

U.S. Economy Expanded at Slower Pace Than First Estimated (Bloomberg)

Recession's over: Why aren't public services coming back?: Many U.S. schools and other services continue to struggle with less as state lawmakers move to make recession-era budget cuts to education permanent, even as the states reap higher revenues or cut taxes further. (The Los Angeles Times) Should states restore recession cuts? Four arguments for and against (The Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Regulators Closed 2 Small Banks (The Wall Street Journal)

Millennium Bank, National Association of Sterling VA had a troubled assets ratio of 168.3 percent. (BankTracker) Millennium Bank, Sterling, VA, Closed By Regulators (Problem Bank List)

Vantage Point Bank of Horsham PA had a troubled assets ratio of 49.7 percent. (BankTracker) Vantage Point Bank, Horsham, PA, Becomes Fifth Banking Failure of 2014 (Problem Bank List)

Boeing announces layoffs [of between 550 to 600 jobs] to begin Friday (KENS5)

KentuckyOne Health confirms 500 layoffs; 200 jobs not filled (The Lexington Herald-Leader)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday roundup (02-27-14)

Quote of the Day:

"Gold and silver are the only substances, which have been, and continue to be, the universal currency of civilized nations. It is not necessary to enumerate the well known properties which rendered them best fitted for a general medium of exchange. They were used, not only as ornaments and objects of luxury, but also for that particular purpose, from the earliest times. We learn from the most ancient and authentic of records, that Abraham was rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold; that he purchased a field for as much money as it is worth, and in payment weighed four hundred shekels of silver, current (money) with the merchant. And when we see that nations, differing in language, religion, habits, and on almost every subject susceptible of doubt, have, during a period of near four thousand years, agreed in one respect; and that gold and silver have, uninterruptedly to this day, continued to be the universal currency of the commercial and civilized world, it may safely be inferred, that they have also been found superior to any other substance in that permanency of value, which is the most necessary attribute of a circulating medium, in its character of the standard, that regulates the payment of debts, and the performance of contracts.

"There is not, however, in nature, any perfect or altogether permanent standard of value. There is not a single commodity, the relative value of which, as compared to that of all other commodities, is not subject to great and permanent changes as well as to temporary fluctuations. But it will be found, that the nature of the demand for precious metals, the comparative regularity of the supply, and especially their much greater durability and intrinsic value, than those of any other substance otherwise fitted for a circulating medium, restrain the fluctuations to which the relative value is liable, within far narrower limits, than is the case with any other commodity which might have been selected for a currency." -- From Considerations on the Currency and Banking System of the United States by Albert Gallatin, p. 5; Gallatin was Secretary of the Treasury of the United States from 1801 to 1814 (Google books)

Euro zone lending contraction compounds ECB headache (Reuters)

Rome faces shutdown in cash crisis (Press Association) Rome Is On The Verge Of Detroit-Style Bankruptcy (ZeroHedge blog) Rome days away from bankruptcy: Eternal city warns it will go bust for the first time since it was destroyed by Nero (Agence France-Presse) Renzi Considers Stricter Conditions on City of Rome in Bailout (Bloomberg)

Quick, deep budget cuts? Australia needs austerity like a hole in the head: As Joe Hockey prepares a tough budget, many countries are finding ‘cuts only deepen short-term economic woes’ (The Guardian)

[In the US,] Uh-Oh: Janet Yellin is Waffling About Whether "Too Big To Fail" is Over (The New Republic)

U.S. Retail Chains See First Profit Decline Since Recession (Bloomberg)

A Robust Housing Recovery? Not So Fast (Time)

Colorado First State to Clamp Down on Fracking Methane Pollution (Bloomberg)

The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight (Bill Moyers) The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight: Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, joins Bill Moyers to talk about what he calls Washington's "Deep State," in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war," Lofgren tells Moyers. (Vimeo) Anatomy of the Deep State by Mike Lofgren (Bill Moyers) Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (The Washington Post) Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation (The Washington Post)



Best Buy cutting 2,000 managers (The New York Post)

Half of General Dynamics Lynn Haven Work Force Looking For Jobs, Again -- ["General Dynamics has sent letters to 730 of its employees at the ObamaCare call facility that they are being laid off."] (WJHG)

Wells Fargo Plans to Cut 700 Jobs as Mortgage Demand Fades (Bloomberg)

Cox Communications to lay off 500 in San Diego: Cable company is consolidating call centers, closing its operation in San Diego (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Web at 25 in the U.S.: The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users (Pew Research Internet Project)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-27-14)

A recovery would be indicated by weekly initial jobless claims holding below 500,000. (See this post.)

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to match the highest level of 2014 ... to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 22, the Labor Department said Thursday." (Marketwatch)

SEE LAST WEEK'S POST HERE.

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday roundup (02-26-14)

Ukraine Faces High Chance of Default, Russia’s Storchak Says (Bloomberg)

Down and out in austerity Britain: Number of rough sleepers soars by 37 per cent (The Independent) More than a quarter of London's vagrants are from Eastern Europe: Figures revealed by official report showing England's rough sleepers up by a third in three years (The Daily Mail)

Oligarchs buy UK visas for £1million: Now Home Office advisers want to auction them off for at least £2.5m so taxpayers get a better deal (The Daily Mail)

US household debt - first increase in 4 years (Sober Look blog)

FDIC: Bank profits at record levels due to lower loss reserves (The Los Angeles Times)

Potholes That Ate Indianapolis Devour U.S. City Budgets (Bloomberg)

USDA Invests $3 Million Into Program To Boost Honeybee Numbers (Think Progress)

Qantas to Cut 5,000 Jobs by 2017 Amid A$252 Million Loss (Bloomberg)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday roundup (02-25-14)

EU forecasts weak growth, warns about deflation (Marketwatch) Low inflation could harm eurozone recovery, warns Rehn: EU's top official for the economy warns a prolonged period of low inflation could make it tougher for the periphery countries to boost their competitiveness (The Telegraph)

EU Sees Hollande Missing French Deficit Target as Exports Lag (Bloomberg)

Fed's Tarullo says need more work on too-big-to-fail banks (Reuters)

We Might Have Avoided The Financial Crisis If We'd Listened To John Dingell (The Huffington Post)

IBM Employees Fear Company Will Begin Up To 13,000 Layoffs Tomorrow (The Business Insider)

JPMorgan to cut 8,000 jobs, lowers 2014 profit target (Reuters)

Boise call center to lay off 1,600 workers (KTVB)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday roundup (02-24-14)

Euro-zone inflation falls at record speed (Marketwatch) Euro zone inflation shows biggest monthly fall in January (Reuters)

Trichet labels deflation a ‘potential new challenge’ for Europe but finds expectations anchored (Marketwatch blogs)

Greek banks need 'five billion euro cash injection' (Agence France-Presse)

Ukraine calls for urgent Western aid after Yanukovich ousted (Reuters) Ukraine Interim Leader Warns Economy in Steep Decline (The Voice of America) Ukraine: Interim leader Turchynov stresses "European choice" (The BBC)

Budget cuts to slash U.S. Army to smallest since before World War Two (Reuters) Pentagon Set to Slash Military to Pre-World War II Levels (NBCNews)

Chicago Fed: "Economic growth slowed in January" (Calculated Risks blog)

US FDIC Hoenig: Too Big Too Fail Remains Threat to US Economy (MNI) Too Big to Fail Is Too Big to Ignore (Bloomberg)

Newmont to cut additional 500-600 jobs at Ghana mine: official (Reuters)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday roundup (02-23-14)

Draghi Says ECB Prepared to Add Stimulus If Deflation Risks Rise (Bloomberg) Europe cannot afford to ignore its deflation problem: The ECB sees the evidence but its economic models ignore financial markets (The Financial Times)

Euro zone sucked into a black hole: Blame for the euro-zone's laggard recovery lies squarely with the ECB for its failure to cut rates earlier, and its benign neglect towards a strong euro (The South China Morning Post)

Rickards: The China bubble is bursting by James Rickards -- ["China is on the verge of a financial collapse of unprecedented magnitude."] (The Darien Times)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday roundup (02-22-14)

Feds Withhold Water To California Farmers For First Time In 54 Years (ZeroHedge blog)

Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 578 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday roundup (02-21-14)

The Lurking Threat of Deflation (Bloomberg)

ECB still ignoring the disinflationary trend (Sober Look blog)

German banks say faster buildup of euro zone bank fund "unacceptable" (Reuters)

Ukraine likely to default, says S&P: Country downgraded as raging political crisis leads ratings agency to warn that its government will not be able to pay its debts (The Telegraph) Opposition leaders sign deal with Yanukovych to end Ukraine crisis (The Washington Post)

China’s soaring debt threatens growth and investment: Countries that borrow and spend excessively pay a high price by Satyajit Das (Marketwatch)

America’s labour market has suffered permanent harm (The Economist)

Newly released transcripts show Fed in 2008 struggling to grasp depth of financial crisis (The Associated Press) Fed Failed to See Lehman’s Fallout for Economy, Transcripts Show (Bloomberg)

U.S. Deflation Risk Seen Growing in Wells Fargo Model (Bloomberg)

With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity (The Washington Post) Obama budget proposal to drop Social Security cuts (Reuters) Mr. Obama backpedals on entitlement reform [Editorial] (The Washington Post)

Cooling U.S. Home Sales Only Partly Due to Weather: Economy (Bloomberg)

Fannie Mae profits push taxpayers into black on housing bailout (Reuters)

Madoff said JPMorgan executives knew of his fraud: lawsuit (Reuters)

Detroit Bankruptcy Plan Proposes 34 Percent Cut To Pensions (National Public Radio blogs) Detroit Bankruptcy Funding Hinges on Creditor Settlement (Bloomberg)

Moody’s Says Bankrupt California Cities Face Pension Struggles (Bloomberg)

United Technologies' Sikorsky unit to cut 600 jobs (Reuters)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday roundup (02-20-14)

World economic recovery struggling to gain traction (Reuters)

Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens: Economy (Bloomberg)

EU is troubled by new Fed rules for foreign banks operating in U.S.: A European regulator says that making large foreign banks set aside more capital in reserve would impose an unfair burden on EU financial firms. (The Los Angeles Times)

Subdued French price pressures add to deflation threat (Reuters) France is looking straight down the barrel of a deflation shock by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph blogs)

Bruegel Think Tank Says Greece Needs New €40 Billion Bailout (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Italian banks' bad debt cleanup to expose bigger capital gap (Reuters)

Financial crisis threatens Russia as Ukraine spins out of control: Russia faces the choice of large losses from a default or the ever rising costs of propping up Ukraine's economy by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph) Kiev protests: A fight over influence of the West (The BBC)

Amid Epic Drought, South America’s Largest City Is Running Out Of Water (Think Progress) Brazil Cities Rationing Water as Drought Saps Reservoir Supplies (Bloomberg)

Key Measures Shows Low Inflation [in the US] in January (Calculated Risk blog)

Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey indicates Contraction in February (Calculated Risk blog)

Farm Profits Seen Falling as Five-Year Crop Boom Ends (Bloomberg)

RBS to retrench in investment banking, cut 30,000 jobs: FT (Reuters) RBS to slash 20,000 jobs: Job cuts will take RBS staff numbers to their lowest level in more than a decade (The Telegraph)

Verizon Wireless to Shut Offices Affecting 5,200 Workers (Bloomberg)

Doncaster Council agrees to cut 1,200 jobs (The BBC)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-20-14)

A recovery would be indicated by weekly initial jobless claims holding below 500,000. (See this post.)

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"Initial jobless claims dropped by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 15, the Labor Department said Thursday." (Marketwatch)

SEE LAST WEEK'S POST HERE.

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday roundup (02-19-14)

IMF urges European Central Bank to mull cutting interest rates below zero: The International Monetary Fund warns deflation in the eurozone is a key new risk for the world economy (The Guardian) IMF Warns G-20 of Deflation Risk, Emerging-Market Turmoil (Bloomberg)

Italy's Troubled Banks Crammed with €156bn in Bad Loans (International Business Times)

Economic recovery [in the UK] is not yet secure, says George Osborne: Chancellor warns that Britain's economy is too dependent on consumer spending and risks becoming too reliant on the City of London (The Telegraph)

Close to half of Americans have more credit card debt than savings (CBS Moneywatch)

Telstra-owned Sensis to cut 800 Australian jobs in outsourcing drive: The directory and marketing company, which produces the Yellow Pages, says it is restructuring to survive in the digital age (The Guardian)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday roundup (02-18-14)

Europe Flirts With Deflation [Editorial] (The New York Times)

UK inflation undershoots Bank of England target for first time since 2009 (Reuters)

[In the US,] Home builder sentiment index logs sharpest drop ever (CNBC) Home-builder confidence plunges in February (Marketwatch) More weak U.S. economic data puts cracks in weather theory (Reuters)

U.S. consumer debt rises in fourth quarter by most since 2007 (Reuters) Americans celebrate economic recovery with debt — lots of debt (Yahoo! Finance) Is it a good thing mortgage debt levels are rising again?: At first glance it looks like America is ready (HousingWire blogs)

Student debt may hurt housing recovery by hampering first-time buyers (The Washington Post)

Capital One says it can show up at cardholders' homes, workplaces: The credit card company's recent contract update includes terms that sound menacing and creepy. (The Los Angeles Times)

Illinois Senate leader warns of $3B budget hole (The Associated Press)

Could California's Drought Last 200 Years?: Clues from the past suggest the ocean's temperature may be a driver. (National Geographic) 15 Reasons Why Your Food Prices Are About To Start Soaring (ZeroHedge blog)

Wolverhampton [UK] city council plans to cut 2,000 jobs: Local authority announces £66.7m of savings, saying it is facing the most difficult circumstances in its history (The Guardian)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday roundup (02-17-14)

Deflation Threat Worries G-20 Roiled by Emerging Markets (Bloomberg)

Troika to return to Greece later this week - Eurogroup head (Reuters)

Spanish public debt ended 2013 at its highest level in a century (El Pais in English) Spain's public debt at record high (Europe Online)

3 Former Barclays Employees Accused in Libor Scandal (The New York Times blogs)

"Off The Charts" How China Fooled The World (ZeroHedge blog)

Robert Peston investigates the astonishing scale of China's urban renewal: 30 new airports, 26,000 miles of motorways and a new skyscraper every five days have been built in China in the last five years. Robert Peston explores the biggest building programme in history. (The BBC)



Charlene Chu describes the unprecedented scale of China's credit boom: Robert Peston interviews Charlene Chu, a leading Chinese banking analyst, who describes the astonshing growth of China's banking sector over the last five years. (The BBC)



American TV & Appliance to close, eliminate 989 jobs (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday roundup (02-16-14)

Why deflation is a central banker’s nightmare: Deflation can set off a spiral where, as prices fall, people delay purchases, leading to falling demand, a drop in output and falling wages. (The Toronto Star)

Inflation [in the UK] expected to fall below Bank of England's 2% target: Anticipated drop to 1.9% will mark the first time inflation has fallen below the target since November 2009 (The Press Association)

Japan economy grows lackluster 1% in Q4 (USAToday)

Japan's huge public debt not seen falling until 2018 (South China Morning Post)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday roundup (02-15-14)

[In the United States,] Winter’s Not Just Cold and Snowy. It’s Expensive. (The New York Times)

Drought Threatens to Cripple California Agriculture Industry (NBCNews)

'Severe Crisis' Leaves California Farmers Without a Harvest (NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams)



Obama Announces New Actions to Fight Drought (NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams)



Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 586 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

China January lending soars to four-year high (Reuters)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday roundup (02-14-14)

Delta to lay off 741 workers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (The Detroit News)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday roundup (02-13-14)

Risk of deflation in euro zone seen by economists as more serious than ECB says - Reuters Poll (Reuters)

Japan-style deflation risk in Europe getting harder to ignore (Reuters) Japan-style deflation in Europe getting harder to dismiss (Reuters blogs)

Europe Considers Wholesale Savings Confiscation, Enforced Redistribution (ZeroHedge blog) Exclusive: EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap (Reuters)

Italian PM Letta to resign after party withdraws support (Reuters)

China banks' bad loan ratio hits two-year high (Reuters)

Sales at U.S. Retailers Decline by Most Since 2012: Economy (Bloomberg) Cold snap continues for retail sales (The Washington Post)

Consumer debt blamed for stalled economy (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Stockman - $500 Trillion Derivative Bomb Threatens The World (King World News) (Audio)

6 financial monsters [= Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley] that have only gotten bigger since destroying the economy: Have the banks that caused the Great Recession learned anything? Nope — "too big to fail" is bigger than ever [Alternet via] (Salon)

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet: Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever (Rolling Stone)

Checking deposits soar as Americans hold tight after Great Recession: They're up 240% since '07. Why? Ease of access beats puny interest rates. (The Des Moines Register)

Air Force planning to cut more than 23,000 jobs this fiscal year (The Wilmington News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware)

1300 Forge Group workers lose jobs (Australian Mining)

The Promised IBM Layoffs Have Begun With Over 1,200 Cut In Europe And India, According To Reports (The Business Insider)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-13-14)

A recovery would be indicated by weekly initial jobless claims holding below 500,000. (See this post.)

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"Initial jobless claims climbed by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 8, the Labor Department said Thursday." (Marketwatch)

SEE LAST WEEK'S POST HERE.

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday roundup (02-12-14)

Euro zone industry stumbles in December, but recovery still seen on track (Reuters)

World asleep as China tightens deflationary vice: We keep our fingers crossed as we glimpse the first foam of a deflationary Ch'ient'ang'kian coming our way from China. The world's central banks have no margin for error by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph)

IMF cautions Australia against austerity policies (Reuters)

Price Slowdown Widens in U.S., Complicating Fed’s Drive to Fight Deflation (Bloomberg) Does Janet Yellen believe in deflation? -- ["Yellen doesn’t appear to think deflation is much of a risk, if any at all."] (Marketwatch)

After GOP filibuster bid, Senate votes to suspend Treasury’s borrowing limit (The Washington Post)

Fed's Lacker calls for new laws to end too-big-to-fail threat (Reuters)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday roundup (02-11-14)

What German Court Ruling Means for the Euro: Germany's Constitutional Court ruling last Friday marks a significant escalation in efforts to rein in the European Central Bank. The ruling's message? Either the European Court of Justice has to stop bond purchases or German justices will. (Spiegel Online) [vs.] Schaeuble: German court decision no threat to eurozone: The German finance minister plays down damage of ruling that powerful ECB tool could be unconstitutional (The Telegraph)

Europe's growth 'hit more by bank failures than austerity drive': OECD says while fiscal consolidation clearly had a "contractionary impact" on growth, think-tank's failure to account for weaker banking systems and bigger cross-border shocks had a bigger impact on forecasting errors (The Telegraph)

Optimistic tax forecast threatens French deficit goals - auditor (Reuters)

Banking standards boss [in the UK] gives industry three years to put house in order: Sir Richard Lambert wants banks to commit to meeting new standards and publish annual reports on progress (The Guardian)

[US] House Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling, Without Conditions (The New York Times) 'Clean' debt ceiling hike clears House, heads to Senate (CNN) Why Republicans Are Surrendering on the Debt Ceiling: In the three years they've been in power, Tea Partiers have gone through the stages of grief—from denial to acceptance of how Washington works. (The Atlantic) Six Ways Debt Ceiling Brinkmanship Can Hurt the U.S. (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Carl Icahn Calls for Glass-Steagall to Return (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Barclays to Cut Up to 12,000 Jobs In Face of Weak Earnings (The New York Times blogs)

Maitland's Digital Risk to lay off up to 745 statewide (Orlando Business Journal)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday roundup (02-10-14)

ECB paralysed by German court decision as deflation threatens: The ‘thunderbolt’ ruling on eurozone rescue policies by Germany’s top court marks a serious escalation of Europe’s governance crisis by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph) [vs.] ECB still has 'big bazooka' despite court: EU's Rehn (Reuters)

Italy Is Sick (The Business Insider)

Italian banks cut bond holdings but bad loans continue to rise (Reuters) Italy Banks May Face Up to $20 Billion Capital Gap, ABI Says (Bloomberg)

Britain faces two more DECADES of austerity after Nick Clegg vows to pay down our national debt (The Mirror)

Japan’s debt hits record high (euronews)

Consumer debt swells to $1.4-trillion, but Canadians able to pay it: report (The Canadian Press)

91 million Americans aren't looking for jobs (CNNMoney)

CBO: Obamacare won’t cut jobs; it will ‘reduce the incentive to work’ (Marketwatch blogs)

New Yorkers Pay Record Prices to Heat Homes in Winter Freeze (Bloomberg)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday roundup (02-09-14)

EU Banks’ Risk-Free Debt Addiction Threatens ECB-Led Overhaul (Bloomberg)

Will emerging markets become a euro zone-style risk? (CNBC)

Japan’s December Current-Account Deficit Widens to Record (Bloomberg) Japan posts smallest current account surplus on record in 2013 (Reuters)

Crop subsidies kept secret by [US] Congress in new farm bill [The Sunlight Foundation via] (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday roundup (02-08-14)

Judges of Karlsruhe threaten to re-open eurozone crisis: Last week's ruling could take us back to the nerve-racking summer of 2012 when the entire edifice of monetary union looked as if it would crack (The Telegraph)

Think shutdown and debt fights [in the US] were something? Now comes the real budget hit (McClatchy Washington Bureau)

Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 588 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday roundup (02-07-14)

The euro area has just shot itself in the foot again – financial turmoil and deflation loom (The Telegraph blogs)

ECB’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ Questioned by Top German Court (Bloomberg) Germany challenges Europe's crisis bond plan (CNNMoney) There’s still cause to worry about ECB bond-buying program’s legality (Marketwatch blogs) German court warns there are 'important reasons to assume' ECB bond-buying is illegal: Germany's constitutional court "inclined" to rule ECB's eurozone crisis backstop is illegal (The Telegraph) German court parks tank on ECB lawn, kills OMT bond rescue: Doubtful whether ECB’s back-stop scheme for bonds can be implemented if Europe’s debt crisis blows up again by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph)

Denmark investigates Danske Bank over price manipulation (Reuters)

Puerto Rico Faces $940 Million Bill as Debt Is Cut to Junk (Bloomberg) Moody's Slices Puerto Rico Debt to Junk, Follows S&P (FoxBusiness) How Puerto Rico got into this economic mess you keep hearing about (Quartz)

[The US is] Skating Close to the Edge, Again, on the Debt Ceiling (The New York Times) Lew: Debt ceiling must be raised by Feb. 27 (CNNMoney) House GOP closing in on debt limit package (Politico)

US employment figures fuel fears job market recovery may have stalled: Department of labour says 113,000 new jobs added in January, a second month of poor results and far short of forecasts (The Guardian) U.S. Payrolls Rise Less Than Forecast; Jobless Rate Falls (Bloomberg) Why the bad jobs number is really bad for the Fed: January's jobs number should have the Fed rethinking Bernanke's taper promise. Is it time for the real Janet Yellen to step up? (Fortune)

If Obama is such a socialist, then why are government jobs disappearing? Debunking the myth of the exploding government (This Week) Chart of the Day #2: The Madness of Austerity (Mother Jones)

Consumer Credit in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast in December (Bloomberg)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday roundup (02-06-14)

European Central Bank leaves rates at record low 0.25 pct despite concern over inflation drop (The Associated Press) Split ECB paralysed as deflation draws closer, tightening job vice in southern Europe: Mario Draghi said the ECB’s council had discussed a wide range of measures but needed more information by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph)

GM food policy: Trade disruptions from zero thresholds may cause 'severe' economic woes: The European Union (EU) zero threshold policy for unapproved GM crops and foods could lead to 'severe' economic problems if it ever leads to a disruption in trade with major exporting countries, warn researchers. (Food Navigator) [*]

German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Decline on Domestic Demand (Bloomberg)

Dutch would be 'better off' if they left the euro: There are big economic benefits for the Dutch in leaving the EU, finds a major study (The Telegraph)

SocGen bear growls: deflation shock-wave from Asia to trigger global recession by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph blogs)

Is U.S. Unemployment Really Much Better Than the Euro Zone’s? (The Wall Street Journal blogs) David Rosenberg: Here's what could stop recovery [= the precarious jobs market] (CNBC)

Hundreds of thousands [in the US are still] without power after Northeast storm (Reuters)

Here’s how bad winter weather is hurting the economy (CNBC)

Is your money safe at the bank? An economist says ‘no’ and withdraws his [Jan. 30] (PBSNewshour)

Sony to cut 5,000 jobs, split off PC, TV operations (Reuters)

Volvo to Cut 4,400 Jobs in 2014 (The Associated Press)

[*] Download the True Food Shopper's Guide: How to Avoid Foods Made with Genetically Modified Organisms [GMOs] (The Center for Food Safety) Say "No" to GMOs (Non-GMO Project) GMO: Your Right to Know: At Whole Foods Market, we believe you have the right to know what’s in your food. (Whole Foods Market)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-06-14)

A recovery would be indicated by weekly initial jobless claims holding below 500,000. (See this post.)

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"Initial jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 331,000 in the seven-days ended Feb. 1 from a revised 351,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims from two weeks ago were 3,000 higher than first reported." (Marketwatch)

SEE LAST WEEK'S POST HERE.

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday roundup (02-05-14)

Economists Sound the Alarm on Deflation in Europe (The New York Times) Insular ECB is playing dangerous game of chicken with deflationary world forces: An aborted recovery at this point might be more than democratic societies can tolerate  by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph) ECB options for staving off euro zone deflation threat (Reuters)

Puerto Rico rating cut to junk status by S&P (Reuters)

Why [US] Interest Rates Can Never Rise (The Mess That Greenspan Made blog)

Henry Paulson, ‘Mr. Bailout,’ fears a new finance crisis is brewing: Sees few lessons learned from 2008 (The Washington Times)

Detroit's bankruptcy tab [for lawyers, consultants and other professionals] at $13.7 mln and growing (Reuters)

Fracking California during a drought? (The San Francisco Chronicle blogs) Fracking is depleting water supplies in America's driest areas, report shows: From Texas to California, drilling for oil and gas is using billions of gallons of water in the country's most drought-prone areas (The Guardian) Report: Fracking raising water supply worries: More than half of the U.S. oil and gas wells drilled using fracking technology since 2011 have been in drought-stricken areas. (USAToday) Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers (Ceres)

Lights out for 1 million as winter storm slams Northeast (The Associated Press) Second Wintry Blast Leaves 1 Million Without Power:This week’s second major storm brought ice, freezing rain and power outages to several states. NBC News’ Ron Mott reports and meteorologist Janice Huff has the forecast. (NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams)



     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday roundup (02-04-14)

European banks have $3 trillion of exposure to emerging markets (Reuters) Emerging markets more vulnerable than ever to Fed tightening, warns BIS: Bank for International Settlements says there had been a “massive expansion” in borrowing on global bond markets by banks and companies in developing countries by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph)

Greece's 2014 fiscal gap issue largely resolved with lenders-sources (Reuters)

Ireland records 1.1 billion euro deficit in January (Reuters)

Obamacare to cut work hours by equivalent of 2 million jobs: CBO (Reuters) Obamacare and jobs: CBO adds fuel to fire (Politico)

Economic recovery? That's "offensive to a lot of people who are struggling," says Heidi Moore (Yahoo!'s The Daily Ticker)



It had better rain in California (CBSMoneywatch)

[Dutch telecommunications provider] KPN to Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs as Profits Miss Estimates (Bloomberg)

500 employees to be laid off at International Paper next week (WAAY)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday roundup (02-03-14)

China, U.S. drag on global manufacturing revival (Reuters)

Germany preparing third financial rescue for Greece: New loan, outlined in a German finance ministry position paper, would be worth €10bn-€20bn, says Der Spiegel magazine (The Guardian)

Britons struggling due to ‘inadequate incomes’ (ClearDebt)

Britain’s consumers still have dangerously high levels of debt (CityAM)

Emerging markets risk repeating eurozone blunder of synchronised tightening by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph blogs)

Currency crisis at Chinese banks 'could trigger global meltdown’: A rise in foreign funding at China's banks poses a threat for international lenders (The Telegraph)

U.S. factory, construction spending data hint at slowing economy (Reuters)

Shocking US factory orders and Chinese bank woes trigger global flight to safety: Analysts label factory figures “absolutely awful”, with the real worry being a slump in new orders not seen since the recession of 1980 by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph) ISM Manufacturing index declines sharply in January to 51.3 due to "adverse weather conditions" (Calculated Risk blog)

Treasury's Lew warns that U.S. default could happen quickly (Reuters) Government likely to exhaust debt ceiling options soon, Lew warns (The Washington Post)

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. (The New York Times)

Food Stamp Cuts So Devastating Even Walmart Is Too Expensive (The Huffington Post)

"The 'Recovery' Is A Mirage" Mark Spitznagel Warns, "With As Much Monetary Distortion As In 1929" (ZeroHedge blog)

Dell layoffs this week: 15,000 to be hit: report: Insiders say that Dell's anticipated layoff programme will begin this week, with roughly 15,000 employees due for the chop. (ZDNet)

Amplats to Cut Up to 1,400 Jobs as Strike Shrinks Output by Half (Bloomberg)

     The aim of this blog is to show (mostly from reports in mainstream respected news sources) that there is reason to believe that both the United States and the global economies remain fragile in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and that a number of threats exist today that could, if they worsened, bring about economic depression -- not just a minor depression, but a depression worse than the Great Depression. Key threats include excessive risk-taking by financial firms, unchecked by effective regulation; the continued existence of "too big to fail" institutions; and most especially, the amassing of levels of public and private debt which could become unsustainable.