Finance

Israel’s trade with Russia leaps by 25%

Trade between Israel and Russia has grown this year by 25 percent, officials from both countries revealed, amid complications with other Russian trading partners.

The first six months of 2017 saw increased trade between the nations of about $380 million over the corresponding period last year.

Ze’ev Elkin, the cabinet minister responsible for environmental protection and issues connected with Jerusalem, announced the figures earlier this week at a conference in Moscow about Russian-Israeli relations.

“There is still great potential for increase in trade and there is much work ahead of us,” Elkin said in reference to ongoing talks since 2013 on signing a free trade agreement with Russia.

Temur Ben Yehuda, chairman of the Israeli Russian Business Council that co-sponsored the Moscow conference, cited primarily the attractiveness of Israeli businesses to Russian counterparts and vice versa in explaining the increase in trade between Russia and Israel.

“We are not only conducting dialogue on increasing trade, we are also signing major agreements between Israel and Russian firms, including Watergen, Assuta and many others,” he said.

The increase comes amid tightening cooperation between Israel and Russia on security issues connected with Syria, where the Russian government is engaged in propping up the beleaguered regime of the country’s president, Bashar Assad. Its involvement in Syria has complicated Russia’s relations with Turkey, which has aided some forces fighting Assad in Syria’s civil war dating to 2011, and soured trade between those nations.

Separately, Russia’s trade with the European Union and the United States has also suffered due to sanctions imposed by the West over its invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and annexation of land.

During that period, Russia’s relations with Israel, which have remained neutral both on the Syrian issue and Ukraine, have noticeably improved, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveling to Moscow at least five times in the space of one year.

The strengthening of the ruble, which had lost half its value against the dollar due to dropping oil prices, has also helped Russia’s ability to conduct international trade.

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Young Men Protest Enslavement by Jewish Federal Reserve

How to make money from the NFL’s ratings debacle as anthem protests grow

NFL ratings are struggling right now, as President Donald Trump continues to stoke the flames of a red-hot debate over national anthem protests, while the actual on-field product has also left something to be desired.

But fear not, football fans — JPMorgan knows how you can make a pretty penny off the league’s woes.

It involves making a short-term bet that shares of CBS will drop. The most-watched US television network and home to multiple games a week, CBS serves as a bellwether of sorts for NFL viewership.

JPMorgan specifically recommends purchasing weekly put contracts that will start making money if CBS shares decline roughly 1% to $57.50 by expiration on October 6.

While it’s still too early to know if Trump’s inflammatory comments and the defiant league-wide response will have a material impact on ratings, this week’s upcoming slate of games could provide a much better idea. As such, JPMorgan figures it can’t hurt to be prepared in the event of a major downswing.

“Any potential NFL boycott is more likely to be determined in this weekend’s results,” Shawn Quigg, an equity derivatives strategist at JPMorgan, wrote in a client note. “Investors likely could cite the anthem debate for any weak viewership results, adding to existing viewership concerns. Thus, the greater reward-risk appears skewed to the downside in the near-term as weaker results may mobilize investors to take the potential impact more seriously.”

For an example of how quickly NFL dynamics have shifted since protests have gotten more widespread, JPMorgan cites the spike in jersey sales for Pittsburgh Steeler offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva. He was the only Steeler on the field for the national anthem this past Sunday, and the firm says that may suggest fans favor it when players stand for the anthem.

While that’s certainly a lot to extrapolate from one instance, making JPMorgan’s suggested options wager could pay off even if ratings decline for other reasons. After all, even before the number of protests grew this past week, there were already worries that declining viewershipcould hamper future profitability for NFL TV partners.

CBS shares rose 0.6% to $58.35 at 2:29 pm EST.

De-Dollarization Spells US Runaway Inflation

http://www.renegadetribune.com/de-dollarization-spells-us-runaway-inflation/
By Russ Winter

The primary causa proxima for runaway inflation in America would be the repatriation of U.S. dollars from abroad. In particular, this would involve the discontinuance of petrodollars as a reserve currency. This would also involve direct goods trade as well. Russia, China and other dollar-bond holders in truth financed the U.S. wars that were aimed at them by buying U.S. debt. When the foreign reserve status of the U.S. dollar erodes, those dollars flow back into the domestic United States and incinerate price stability, causing substantial bursts of inflation.

Therefore, the following question needs to be asked: What indications are there that the world, or at least a large part of the world, is turning its back on the U.S. dollar?

The arrival of Trump’s wild men and the overuse and abuse of sanctions and aggressive warfare has spurred critical steps and reactions.

Just last week and as relations between the U.S. and Russia continue melt, Putin ordered an end to trade in U.S. dollars at Russian seaports.

China, Russia and India have cut deals in which they’ve agreed to accept each others’ currencies for bi-lateral trade.

At the Sept. 5 annual BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China, Russian President Putin made a simple and very clear statement of the Russian view of the present economic world. He stated:

Russia shares the BRICS countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.”

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is completing the working architecture of a new monetary alternative to a dollar world. In addition to founding members China and Russia, the SCO full members include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and, most recently, India and Pakistan. This is a population of well over 3 billion people, some 42% of the entire world population, coming together in a coherent, planned de-dollarization

China is the world’s largest oil importer. That country is now preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into goldpotentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan.

Trump on his end on Sept. 3 threatened to “cut off trade with China, if that country maintained trade with North Korea.” Just this threat alone should engender a flood of dollars back into the U.S. Note that Russia and China’s response immediately following this threat was, in essence, “bastante.”

Iran and South Korea just signed banking cooperation to bypass the dollar.

Switching to another petrodollar trade partner, Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free them from the dollar, Maduro said. He hinted further that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.

 If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.

A clear signal that something deadly serious is afoot would be the abolition of the Saudi riyal’s peg to the U.S. dollar.

The Federal Reserve Cry-Wolf Hacks Are a Sight to Behold

Meanwhile, back on the Yellen “Cry Wolf” farm, the Fed heads are all over the map about inflation. Clearly there is no discussion about excess dollar repatriation at all. If this came on their radar screen soon enough, they would have to act decisively to drain dollars from the U.S. domestic economy.

What appears to be unfolding is an attempt to sound credible and tough without doing much. To that end, hawk Dudley stated, “Inflation’s coming soon.”

Then Janet “Cry Wolf” Yellen openly admitted that the Fed does not “fully understand” inflation. Just yesterday she admitted that the Fed was “wrong” about employment and inflation, stating, “The FOMC’s understanding of the forces driving inflation is imperfect.” Trying to sound credible, she then suggested, “The Fed “should also be wary of moving too gradually (on monetary policy).”

And now the Cleveland Fed’s Median CPI measure has broken above 3.0%. Yellen chimes in, “It would be imprudent to keep monetary policy on hold until inflation is back to 2 percent.” I have no idea what planet she is even talking about?

QE unwind begins October 1. The vote was unanimous. Even cannot-spot-bubbles Neel Kashkari voted for it.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Oct – Dec 2017: $10 billion a month.
  • Jan – Mar 2018: $20 billion a month.
  • Apr – Jun 2018: $30 billion a month.
  • Jul – Sep 2018: $40 billion a month.
  • From Oct 2018 forward $50 billion a month.

So $300 billion over the next 12 months- then $600 billion the year following.

As of this morning the “market” is pricing the odds at 78% for a measly interest rate increase way out on Dec. 13. Meanwhile, it is uncertain who Trump will pick to replace Yellen in January. A lot can happen on the de-dollarization front between now and then.

The Fed has let the inflation genie out of the bottle even before the impact of de-dollarization. Yellen and her cohorts are now frantically trying to invent excuses for when inflation rips through the financial system.

 

WEIGHT LOSS SAVES OBESE ADULTS NEARLY $30,000, ACCORDING TO STUDY

http://www.newsweek.com/weight-loss-saves-obese-adults-nearly-30000-according-study-671859

 

It’s not exactly news that maintaining a healthy weight lowers risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, ultimately saving money on healthcare costs. But exactly how much can dropping, 10, 20 or 30 pounds save?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University attempted to put a dollar figure to weight loss, analyzing how changing from obese to overweight, and obese to a healthy weight, could affect your wallet. According to the data, published today in the journal Obesity, losing enough weight to meet the overweight classification at the age of 20 will save you $17,655 over the course of a lifetime. However, if someone lowers their BMI to what’s considered a healthy weight, the same person could save $28,020 in their lifetime.

As chronic illnesses tend to set in with age, it makes sense that being obese at 50 would have a higher economic impact, or a savings of roughly $36,000, according to the data. All figures reflect savings from productivity and medical costs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. The study authors said this equates to nearly $210 billion a year just in direct medical expenses. Study co-author Bruce Lee explains we should look at the total figures.

“Over half the costs of being overweight can be from productivity losses, mainly due to missed work days… This means that just focusing on medical costs misses a big part of the picture, though they’re a consideration, too,” Lee, M.D. and MBA, said in a statement. “Productivity losses affect businesses, which in turn affects the economy, which then affects everyone.”

To determine cost, the team developed a computational model representing the adult population, simulating health changes that come with weight and aging. And according to health economist Cyril Chang, Ph.D., Lee and his team are fairly accurate.

“The cost-saving estimates seem reasonable given what we know about the direct medical costs and productivity loss due to obesity and the efficacy of weight loss,” he tells Newsweek via email. “For a 20-year-old, lifetime estimates of cost savings are done for a long period of time. If anything, the estimates of lifetime cost savings seem conservative to me.”

While it’s easy to offer advice like, “eat healthier” or “exercise more,” Chang says research efforts need to be directed towards providing people with support and practical weight loss strategies. “The real challenge is to find ways to help overweight individuals to lose weight and keep their weight down,” he explained. “Changing behavior is hard.”

Financialization And The Destruction Of The Real Economy

http://www.renegadetribune.com/financialization-destruction-real-economy/
By Charles Hugh Smith

Financialization is destroying the real economy, but few in power seem to notice or care. The reason why is painfully obvious: those in power are reaping vast fortunes from the engines of financialization–for example, former President Obama: Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year.

This is not to single out President Obama as a special case; politicos across the spectrum depend on the engines of financialization to fund their campaigns and make them multi-millionaires, and corporate managers and financiers have skimmed billions of dollars in gains not from producing new, better and more affordable goods and services but by playing financialization games such as borrowing billions to buy back stocks, leveraged buyouts, and so on–all of which have reaped the insiders gargantuan fortunes while hollowing out the real economy.

Financialization necessarily hollows out the real economy, as Gordon Long and I detail in this new video program: The Results of Financialization – Part I (34 minutes)

The key dynamic is that financialization creates irresistible incentives to ramp up debt and leverage at the expense of the real economy. Those who fail to exploit financialization will underperform the market and be fired.

As Gordon explains, if a CEO refuses to load a company up with debt, a private-equity financier with access to cheap Federal Reserve credit will scoop up the company in a private buyout, fire the management, extract immense profits by loading the company with debt, then take the hollowed-out shell public again, reaping another windfall of financialized gains.

Note that the private-equity financiers have every incentive to lay off employees, especially experienced workers who earn higher salaries, to reduce costs before they take the hollowed-out shell public.

How can corporations pay out more to shareholders than they actually earned? Easy–financialization.

Another key dynamic in financialization is limitless liquidity and super low interest rates set by central banks–rates that are so low and liquidity so abundant that corporations can roll over their debt and actually add more debt and keep their interest payments unchanged.

This dynamic inevitably leads to zombie corporations–corporations with low rates of growth and profitability and high debt loads that in an unfinancialized economy would be recognized as insolvent and liquidated.

As we explain, financialization skews the risk-reward in favor of financial games, so real-world investments no longer make sense. Why risk building a factory in the U.S. or training workers when the pay-off is uncertain, when there are so many ways to reap immense fortunes via financial games that are ultimately backstopped by the Federal Reserve or federal agencies (i.e. the taxpayers)?

As many observers have noted, these perverse incentives have siphoned human talent away from productive employment and into enormously well-compensated but parasitic, exploitative financialization-related jobs.

Strip an economy of capital, productive incentives, talent and yes, ethics, and what are we left with? An economy spiraling toward an inevitable collapse. The metaphor I’ve used to explain this in the past is the Yellowstone forest fire. The deadwood of bad debt, extreme leverage, zombie companies and all the other fallen branches of financialization pile up, but the central banks no longer allow any creative destruction of unpayable debt and mis-allocated capital; every brush fire is instantly suppressed with more stimulus, more liquidity and lower interest rates.

As a result, the deadwood sapping the real economy of productivity and innovation is allowed to pile higher.

The only possible output of this suppression is an economy piled high with explosive risk. Eventually Nature supplies a lightning strike, and the resulting conflagration consumes the entire economy.

I explain all this in greater detail in my short book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

Check out both of my new books, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print, $5.95 audiobook) For more, please visit the OTM essentials website.

Oil-rich Venezuela is abandoning the US petrodollar, plans to introduce new international payment system

“I am announcing that Venezuela intends to introduce a new international payment system and to create a currency basket for the liberation from the dollar and, [we intend] to free ourselves from the clutches of the dollar, the currency that is strangling our country.”

“If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian rouble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro said.

Maduro plans to use the weakest of two official foreign exchange regimes and a basket of currencies. Currently in Venezuela, one dollar buys 3,345 bolivars, according to the central bank. At the strongest official rate, one dollar buys just 10 bolivars, but on the black market the dollar fetches 20,193 bolivars. A thousand dollars of local currency bought when Maduro came to power in 2013 would now only be worth $1.20.

On August 25, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing financial sanctions on the Venezuelan government. The White House said the measures were “carefully calibrated” to put financial pressure on Maduro’s government.

Its important to note that Venezuela sits on the largest amount of oil reserves in the world:

Reserves amounts are listed in millions of barrels (MMbbl):

READ MORE: Trump isn’t going to Invade Venezuela, but what he’s planning might be just as bad

The United States previously threatened to sanction anyone involved with the Constituent Assembly, which was elected on July 30.

The Constituent Assembly is a legislative body, which has the power to amend Venezuela’s constitution. The election of the assembly took place amid mass, deadly protests across the country. Venezuelan opposition, as well as the European Union and the United States, have refused to recognize the body’s legitimacy.

Maduro says this is part of an “economic war” waged by the opposition and Washington, aimed at his ouster.

“This is the fight against the economic blockade of the imperial sanctions of (U.S. President Donald) Trump,” said Maduro.

Will Venezuela and Nicolas Maduro share the same fate as Iraq and Saddam Hussein?

FEDERAL RESERVE SETS THE STAGE FOR GLOBAL ECONOMIC DISASTER (VIDEO)

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/federal-reserve-sets-the-stage-for-global-economic-disaster-video_092017

 

Easy money, the cure to the ‘Great Recession”, is now clogging the system and preventing a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs from finding success. The size and scope of these assets bubbles haven’t been seen since the Great Depression and now the Fed will start tightening the money supply…This ain’t gonna end well, folks.

Watch on YouTube

Source: The Federal Reserve Is Setting America up for Economic Disaster

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Wall Street hits record highs, S&P 500 pierces 2,500

(Reuters) – Wall Street reached record highs on Friday, with the S&P 500 surpassing 2,500 points as telecommunications shares rose and technology bounced back after two days of declines.

The S&P 500’s breach of the 2,500-mark came less than four months after it closed above 2,400, and brought 2017’s gain to nearly 12 percent.

Professional investors frequently say they see little special significance in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting round-numbers in the hundreds and thousands. But such milestones do affect the sentiment of investors on Main Street, said Phil Blancato, head of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

“People are concerned about missing out as the market continues to rally. They think maybe they need to finally jump in,” Blancato said. “The behavior of the retail investor is more important than ever.”

The S&P 500 information technology sector .SPLRCT rose 0.30 percent, powered by an Nvidia-led surge in chipmakers, while Apple rose 1.01 percent in its first gain since unveiling new iPhones on Tuesday.

The semiconductor index .SOX surged 1.71 percent, boosted by Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) 6.32-percent jump to a record high after Evercore ISI raised its price target on the stock.

AT&T (T.N) rose 2.15 percent and Verizon Communications (VZ.N) added 1.44 percent. Along with T-Mobile, they are offering deals for the newest iPhones that are less generous than in the past.

Wall Street largely shrugged off reports showing an unexpected drop in U.S. retail sales last month and the first drop in industrial output since January, both in part due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

“Investors are keeping an eye on the retail sales data, thinking it may be transitory, and are focusing on growth areas such as technology, which is mostly immune to policy decisions in D.C. and has avoided all the global noise,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

U.S. stocks have surged this year, despite turmoil in the White House, doubts about President Donald Trump’s ability to push through his pro-business reforms, uncertainty over the timing of interest rate hikes, and lately, tensions over Pyongyang’s missile tests.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.29 percent to end at 22,268.34 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.18 percent to 2,500.23, records for both.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.3 percent to 6,448.47.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.76-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.47-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Earlier, North Korea fired a second missile in as many weeks over Japan, drawing criticism from global leaders but barely moving shares as investors await the next catalyst – the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Sept. 19-20.

The S&P 500 is trading near 17.6 times expected earnings, down from 17.9 at the end of July but still much higher than its 10-year average of 14.3, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Boeing (BA.N) rose 1.53 percent to a record high after Canaccord Genuity raised its price target for the stock.

Among the laggards was Oracle (ORCL.N), which sank 7.67 percent, its worst day in more than four years after disappointing forecasts for its profit and cloud business.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 20-day average of 5.9 billion shares.

Toys ‘R’ Us preparing for possible bankruptcy filing – sources

(Reuters) – Toys ‘R’ Us is working to put together a loan to fund its operations in a potential bankruptcy filing that could come before the holiday sales season, according to people familiar with the matter.

The toy merchant’s move underscores the deep distress rippling through retailers of all sizes as consumers increasingly shop online at sellers such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) or go to discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N).

A spokeswoman for Toys ‘R’ Us did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The people could not be identified because the bankruptcy plans are not yet public.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the company was considering filing for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. (on.wsj.com/2h87WOt)

There have been more than a dozen significant retail bankruptcies this year, but none for retailers as big as Toys ‘R’ Us, which has about $5 billion in debt and more than 1,600 stores worldwide.

A loan of several hundred million dollars as part of any possible bankruptcy filing would reassure the chain’s vendors it could pay them for the loads of stuffed animals, action figures and dolls it needs to stock its shelves for the holiday season, the people said.

Part of the retailer’s current financial woes stem from vendors demanding tighter repayment terms over fears that Toys ‘R’ Us may file for bankruptcy, the people added. The tighter terms have added to the Wayne, New Jersey-based company’s cash crunch, they said. Toys ‘R’ Us tapped restructuring attorneys from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, CNBC reported this month.

The retailer had already said it was working with an investment bank to assess options for about $400 million in debt that comes due next year.

Buyout firms KKR & Co LP (KKR.N) and Bain Capital LP, together with real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust (VNO.N), took Toys ‘R’ Us private for $6.6 billion in 2005. The deal saddled the company with debt, limiting its ability to revamp its stores and make online shopping easier.

Toys ‘R’ Us opened a store in New York City’s Times Square this year to capture more holiday shoppers.