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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,837

Journal Archives

2-year/10-year U.S. Treasury yield curve inversion deepens, flashing 'red'

Source: Marketwatch

The yield gap between the U.S. 2-year and 1-year Treasury note inverted further on Tuesday as bond market participants grew increasingly worried about the economic outlook in the face of President Trump’s international trade policies.

What are Treasurys doing? The 10-year Treasury note yield slipped 6 basis points to 1.484%. The 2-year note rate was down 2.3 basis points to 1.528%, while the 30-year bond yield slumped 7.7 basis points to 1.963%.

The spread between the 2-year note and the 10-year note stood at negative 4 basis points, Tradeweb data show.

The yield curve’s slope is usually positive as investors demand more compensation to own long-term debt against inflationary pressures or monetary policy uncertainty. An inversion of the yield curve, or a negative yield spread, thus points to widening concerns about the health of the economy and is seen as a usually reliable indicator of a coming recession.

Read more: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasury-yields-retreat-ahead-of-key-debt-auction-2019-08-27

Costco China's debut is rife with frenzy and 'crazy' lines

Source: LA Times

Costco Wholesale Corp.’s first outlet in China opened on Tuesday and was soon overrun with customers willing to fight over discounted products and wait hours to pay for their purchases.

The American retail giant had to suspend operations in its Shanghai store in the afternoon citing “heavy traffic and customer flows,” according to a text message sent by the company to consumers holding its membership card. The message was shared on Weibo, China’s micro-blogging website.

The frenzy at Costco’s store comes at a time when the U.S. and China are locked in a tit-for-tat tariff war that shows no signs of abating and is making American firms wary of investing in the largest Asian economy. Costco is also entering a market where many of its global rivals have struggled and given up. Carrefour SA sold 80% stake in its China unit at a discount in June while German wholesaler Metro AG is looking to sell its operations.

“There’s no other word to describe Shanghai’s Costco but crazy,” a Weibo user said, who gave up on the shopping plan after seeing two-hour queues at the checkout counters. Other Weibo users shared that they had to wait three hours to enter the parking lot while some decided to walk to the store to avoid the traffic jam.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-27/costco-china-opening

Trump's presser confirms it: He has no idea why he's losing the trade war

“It’s the way I negotiate. It’s done very well for me over the years, and it’s doing even better for the country.”

That was President Trump, speaking at a Monday news conference at the Group of Seven summit in France. He was talking about the fact that in recent days he has vacillated back and forth between praising China and harshly criticizing it, all while claiming that the trade war he initiated is going great for the United States as evidence mounts that it is pushing us toward recession.

The truth, however, is that there has seldom been clearer proof that Trump is in fact the world’s worst negotiator. And the price Americans are paying for his weakness keeps getting higher.

While trade is one of only two policy issues (immigration is the other) that Trump has shown he has sincerely felt opinions about, he labors under a series of misconceptions, bred by ignorance and what appears to be a complete lack of interest in grasping how the trade war appears from China’s perspective.


The world is burning, but Trump's Doral resort is just tremendous

The Amazon is burning, a trade war is escalating, and the world economy is deteriorating.

Enter President Trump, taking the stage on Monday at the Group of Seven gathering of world leaders in Biarritz, France, to assure an anxious world that . . . his golf resort in Miami is just tremendous!

“With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings — we call them bungalows — they each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views,” Trump said at the closing news conference of the international gathering.

Trump, who had been asked to clarify his earlier (inappropriate) remarks promoting his Miami-area property at the international gathering, instead expanded on them: “We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. And we have many hundreds of acres so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida, and the best.”


Trump's Obama envy is getting even worse

Is it my imagination, or is President Trump’s chronic and debilitating case of Obama envy getting worse?

One of the things that genuinely seems to matter to Trump is comparing himself — favorably, of course — with his predecessor, no matter how delusional the rationale. Trump gave an illustration at the end of the Group of Seven summit when he insisted to reporters that former president Barack Obama had been “outsmarted” by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s full-blown Putin envy was also on display. But the president’s false and absurd rewriting of history seemed intended less to elevate the Russian leader than to diminish Obama. It fit a pattern that goes back years — and may have more to do with Trump’s behavior in office than we realize.

At Trump’s news conference Monday in Biarritz, France, the subject was whether Russia should be invited to rejoin the group of industrialized powers that used to be called the Group of Eight. Russia was kicked out in 2014 after Putin sent military forces into neighboring Ukraine to seize and annex the Crimean Peninsula. The decision by the other member countries — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy — to eject Russia, because of its unprovoked aggression, was unanimous.


Trump gives a stunning display of incoherence at the G-7

On Friday, President Trump called President Xi Jinping of China an “enemy,” said “we don’t need China” and told U.S. companies they were “hereby ordered” to end their operations there. Over the next 72 hours, he cited a 1977 emergency powers law to back up his threat to end U.S. economic relations with Beijing; announced he did not intend to invoke the law; and, on Monday, declared Mr. Xi to be “a great leader” and “a brilliant man” with whom his administration would probably soon strike a trade deal. It was, all in all, a stunning display of incoherence — even by Mr. Trump’s standards — that encapsulated his performance at the Group of Seven summit.

Mr. Trump’s conflicting statements on China were far from the only puzzlements of his stay in Biarritz, France. He repeatedly touted what he said was a trade deal with Japan, only to be contradicted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese foreign ministry, which said the negotiations were at a preliminary stage. He said there was “tremendous unity” in his talks with the other six leaders, though officials said the U.S. delegation blocked consensus on trade and other issues. Mr. Trump skipped a meeting on climate change, and his pitch to restore Russia to the group was flatly rejected by Germany and Britain, among others.

French President Emmanuel Macron made a valiant effort to use the summit to jump-start negotiations between the United States and Iran, even inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Biarritz. Mr. Trump responded with more confusion: After allowing that Mr. Macron’s suggestion of a summit between him and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani within weeks was possible, he went on to cite conditions for a deal different — and less stringent — from those previously outlined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Trump lambasted President Barack Obama for striking a deal that granted Iran economic concessions, then suggested that he would support new loans for Tehran if talks got underway.

Mr. Rouhani suggested in a speech Monday that he was open to negotiations, so perhaps something will come from Mr. Macron’s initiative. But there was no way to judge from Mr. Trump’s remarks whether he was seriously contemplating a change of tack on Iran — just as it was anyone’s guess whether he had second thoughts about the trade war he started with China, as he suggested Sunday, or merely wished he had raised tariffs even higher, as his staff later said.


Sidney Rittenberg, former American advisor to Mao, dies at age 98

Sidney Rittenberg, a former American advisor to Mao Tse-tung who spent long spells in prison as he fell in and out of favor with China's communist leaders, has died in the state of Arizona, the New York Times reported. He was 98.

The rebellious son of a prominent family from Charleston, South Carolina, Rittenberg arrived in China as a US army linguist at the end of World War II, and was soon swept up in the country's epochal civil war and communist revolution.

Fluent in Mandarin, he became a member of the Chinese communist party in 1946 after being discharged from the US Army.

Hiking 46 days to reach Mao's mountain redoubt, he served as an interpreter and traveled with the red army.


Trump Suggests His Miami Resort as 'Great Place' for Next G7 Meeting

Source: NY Times

President Trump suggested on Monday that he plans to host next year’s Group of 7 summit meeting for world leaders at his Doral luxury golf resort near Miami, once again raising ethical issues about the mixing of his businesses and presidency.

If he follows through, the spectacle of the annual gathering of heads of state at a Trump-owned property would be the highest-profile example of the president’s willingness to flout the boundaries that have historically constrained such presidential activities.

The president said on Monday that hosting the summit at Doral made perfect sense, calling the sprawling golf resort “a great place” and bragging that “it’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens. It’s really — people are really liking it and plus it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units. And so each delegation can have its own building.”

Critics take a far different view. They argue that the Group of 7 summit — which attracts global attention and brings with it thousands of government officials and the international news media — would be a gold mine for Mr. Trump’s for-profit property, providing an immediate increase in revenue and raising its profile around the world.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/world/europe/trump-doral-g7.html


I take that back. It is absolutely believable.

As Amazon Burns, Fires in Next-Door Bolivia Also Wreak Havoc

Amid growing international alarm over fires in Brazil’s Amazon region, neighboring Bolivia is facing devastating fires of its own, with flames devouring farmland and environmentally sensitive forests alike.

In midst of the calamity, the country’s president, Evo Morales, suspended his re-election campaign on Sunday and, in a shift, welcomed foreign aid.

“Whatever cooperation is welcome, whether it comes from international organizations, celebrities or from the presidents who offered to help,” Mr. Morales said in the city of Cochabamba, where he had been campaigning for a fourth term. Bolivian officials, he vowed, would “dedicate ourselves” to the problem.

Fires, some of them set by farmers trying to clear brush, are a regular feature of the dry season in northern South America. But this year has been different.


Trump's Signature New York Hotel and the Art of the Compromise

For more than two decades, the Trump International Hotel and Tower has soared over Central Park, a crown jewel of President Trump’s family business that features luxury hotel rooms and exclusive private residences just off Columbus Circle.

In true Trump fashion, the hotel and tower are branded with the Trump name on three hard-to-miss signs. But this fall, the Trump Organization is expected to overhaul the signage, reflecting in part the strains the Trump presidency has placed on the family’s brand in Mr. Trump’s ever-hostile hometown.

As part of a broader renovation of the property, the company is considering a proposal that would change the signage so that the Trump name is no longer directly associated with the private residences, according to people with knowledge of the proposal. Instead, the skyscraper’s premier Manhattan address — One Central Park West — would get top billing for the residences, while the Trumps would continue to manage the property and keep their name on signs for the hotel.

The proposal is a compromise, offered over the summer by the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., to head off demands from some owners that the building lose its Trump branding entirely, the people said. If, as expected, the proposal is approved by the building’s condominium board, the Trumps will be spared an embarrassing fight at their flagship hotel just as the 2020 election season hits full swing after Labor Day.

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