by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 6:52 am
One day after the South African rand tumbled on the suprising report that president Zuma had ordered his finance minister Pravin Gordhan to cancel roadshow meetings with investors in the UK and US and return home on Monday, overnight the rand plunged for the second day in a row, after the 74 year old president told senior leaders of the South African Communist Party that he plans to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
The rand weakened as much as 2.9% and was at 12.8757 to the dollar after sliding as much as 3.2% a day earlier. The government’s rand-denominated bonds due 2026 fell, driving the yield 42 basis points higher to 8.78% over the two days (hint for all you yield chasers).
According to Bloomberg, citing people present, Zuma told officials from the party, which is allied to his ruling African National Congress, during a meeting on Monday in Johannesburg. He didn’t say when he planned to fire Gordhan.
Zuma said during the meeting with the communists he had taken the decision to remove the finance minister because he’s the president with responsibility for leading the government and Gordhan is blocking him, according to the people. “There is a power struggle between the politics of patronage and politics of constitutionalism,” Colin Coleman, a partner and head of Goldman Sachs Group in South Africa, said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We may certainly see a very strong battle emerge in the days and in the months ahead.
On one hand, the report notes that on Monday a meeting of the top six leaders of the ANC was held after the SACP gathering and there was no indication that they agreed with the decision to fire Gordhan. Zizi Kodwa, a spokesman for the ANC, said the people were misinformed. However, speculation that Gordhan, 67, is on the verge of being fired has swirled for months, as he clashed with Zuma over the management of state companies and the national tax agency. “While Gordhan has led efforts to keep spending in check and fend off a junk credit rating, Zuma wants to embark on “radical economic transformation” that he says will tackle racial inequality and widespread poverty.”
Gordhan said that while in London, he and his delegation
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 6:35 am
European, Asian stocks have rebounded as investor anxiety over Trump economic policy and US tax reform eased following yesterday’s remarkable comeback in the US market. S&P futures point to a slightly higher open, with oil higher and the dollar rebounding off fout month lows. It is a relatively quiet day in the US with the economic calendar focusing on wholesale inventories, consumer confidence and the Case-Shiller index.
European and Asian equities rose and S&P 500 futures edged higher as investor bullishness returned after the failure of U.S. President Donald Trump’s health-care bill. Hopes that the Trump administration will now prioritize tax reforms coupled with still-robust economic data and corporate earnings forecasts spurred some investors to look past creeping doubts about Trump’s ability to deliver on campaign promises.
According to Bloomberg, the resumption of demand for risk assets signals investors are still pinning hopes on Trump’s ability to push through tax cuts and regulatory changes, pledges that helped trigger a reflationary upswing in global markets after his election. “Bond and FX market participants’ reaction to the failure of the health-care bill has been to re-price Treasuries and the dollar under the assumption that President Trump has lost a little of his shine,” Kit Juckes, a London-based global strategist at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a note.
“Equity market participants have taken a look at the lower yields and weaker dollar and decided that since absurdly low rates are the elixir that the equity bull market lives on, they might as ‘buy the dip’ yet again.”
Europe’s Stoxx 600 rose 0.4% helped by financials and pharmaceutical stocks. Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge dropped 0.1 percent Monday, paring a loss of as much as 0.9 percent.
In FX, the dollar index against a basket of major currencies edged up 0.1 percent to 99.252, after plumbing a trough of 98.858 overnight, its lowest level since Nov. 11. “Risky asset markets have rebounded from yesterday’s opening low, supporting our view of the current market setback as a risk pause and not a turning point towards generally lower risk valuations,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients. Morgan Stanley said that given some of the savings that were to come from replacing Obamacare would be lost, the upcoming
by ValueWalk - March 28th, 2017 6:30 am
By Rupert Hargreaves. Originally published at ValueWalk.
Please login – Not subscribed? Get our adfree exclusive content for only a few dollars a month. It also helps us fund our operations so think of it as supporting quality journalism. You are also welcome to donate
Sign up for ValueWalk’s free newsletter here.
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 5:19 am
Following a day of drama involving the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, who has been under constant onslaught by Democrats ever since his disclosure last week that Trump had indeed been the object of surveillance, and whose Democrat peer at the Intel panel, Adam Schiff, on Monday night called for Nunes to recuse himself, moments ago Trump waded into the news cycle when he asked on Twitter why the House Intelligence Committee is not investigating the Clintons for various ties of their own to Russia. He then slammed the ongoing anti-Russian witch hunt, saying “the Russia story is a hoax.”
“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech, money to Bill, the Hillary Russian ‘reset,’ praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!” Trump wrote in two tweets Monday night.
Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2017
…money to Bill, the Hillary Russian “reset,” praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2017
Trump’s rhetorical questions come amid a news cycle which as discussed on various occasions today has focused on the Republican chair of the Intel Committee, Nunes, who is under fire for briefing Trump about classified material he reviewed last week without sharing the information with committee Democrats. On Monday it was revealed that Nunes had secretly visited the White House grounds one day before announcing incidental surveillance of President Trump’s transition team. His visit raised questions about whether the White House could have been was the source of the intelligence Nunes reviewed.
Democratic lawmakers have now called on Nunes to recuse himself from the committee’s probe into Russia’s interference in the United States presidential election. Nunes on Monday evening said the chairman would not step aside from the investigation.
The republican lawmaker has claimed that his findings had no relevance to the Russia probe, even as the committee examines the unmasking
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 5:00 am
As UK Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to trigger the Article 50 EU exit mechanism on Wednesday, Open Europe has published a new report, entitled, ‘Nothing to declare: A plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union.’
The study concludes that leaving the EU’s Customs Union is the only logical step for the UK to pursue an independent trade policy and achieve a truly ‘Global Britain’ outside the EU. Open Europe assesses different models of collaboration outside a customs union, and argues that the UK and the EU should aim for full cooperation on the practicalities and administration of customs as part of a comprehensive UK-EU free trade deal.
A dozen key points on customs
- The UK should leave the EU’s Customs Union (EUCU). The UK Government has stated its intention to leave key parts of EUCU (the Common External Tariff and the Common Commercial Policy). Open Europe’s assessment is that leaving these and EUCU overall is correct. Brexit means the UK must be able to shape its own trade policy. It can only do so outside of EUCU.
- The UK should not seek a ‘half-in, half-out’ arrangement, which would be the worst of all worlds. The UK should leave EUCU entirely to maximise opportunities. Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested that she is open to being an “associate member” of EUCU or remaining a signatory to elements of it. Open Europe believes that, while it is sensible to keep an open mind, no ‘half-in’ option is better than being fully out. Nonetheless, the UK should consider retaining membership of some relevant conventions.
- It is in both the UK’s and EU’s interest quickly to secure full cooperation on the practicalities and administration of customs as part of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Such an agreement could be a chapter in a UK-EU FTA or an accompanying, discrete customs facilitation agreement. The EU already has agreements on customs facilitation with non-members, including Switzerland and Canada. A comprehensive UK-EU FTA will ensure the continuation of tariff-free UK-EU trade and minimise customs delays.
- There will inevitably be a degree of cost to the UK economy associated with leaving EUCU.Some costs will be one-off adaptation costs (e.g. technology investment which may have benefited
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 4:15 am
In the latest installment of our “Dear Bernie” series, posts intended to inform the Vermont Senator about the unintended, negative consequences of minimum wage hikes, we present SAM (Semi-Automated Mason), a brick laying robot designed and engineered by Construction Robotics out of New York. While SAM can do the work of 6 unionized masons each day, he never requires a break, benefits or a paycheck.
Here’s a look at SAM in action:
Each SAM can be rented at a monthly cost of ~$3,300 according to The Sun. With an average efficiency of 3,000 bricks per day, that breaks down to about 4.5 cents per brick. Meanwhile, using using Bernie’s preferred $15 per hour minimum wage rate, plus benefits, and a daily efficiency of about 500 bricks brings the human labor cost equivalent to roughly 32 cents per brick, or a little over 7x.
Of course, SAM can’t completely eliminate the need for masons on work sites just yet, as human assistance is still needed to load bricks and mortar into the system and to clean up excess mortar from joints after bricks have been laid. That said, Construction Robotics estimates that overall labor costs for bricklaying projects can be reduced by at least 50%.
And while Bernie is unlikely to rent a SAM to construct his next $575,000 lake house, we hear that someone may be taking bids for an impenetrable, yet “aesthetically pleasing”, 30-foot border wall that will span nearly 2,000 miles.
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 3:30 am
What does it mean to be French? Inherent in this question is a fundamental tension within French nationalism that is unique to France.
Originally, France consisted of diverse regions with their own languages, resources, and way of life. Take a look at the map below.
This diversity grew into a united country. From this, we can understand how one aspect of French nationalism is that it views itself as a universal program.
This nationalism holds that French ideas about “liberté, égalité, and fraternité” are as equally important as speaking French and living on French soil.
In this sense, anyone who adopts these principles can be French. And anyone who becomes a French citizen is heir to these principles.
Nationalism and Immigration
French nationalism was based on the idea that the nation was of paramount importance. It was defined by class and a set of ideas about how society ought to be structured.
All of the various factions in the French Revolution believed they were unifying the nation. But each faction had to exclude certain groups from the nation in order to define the whole.
This has morphed far beyond the original exclusion of the aristocracy. It has been used to exclude immigrants to France. The question of immigrant and Muslim assimilation as full members of the French state is at the forefront of debate leading up to presidential elections in April.
France is currently at the beginning of an inward turn that indicates a moment of crisis. The next French President will enter office with a country whose strategic position is weak, its economy stagnant, and its society divided.
* * *
The World Explained in Maps reveals the panorama of geopolitical landscapes influencing today’s governments and global financial systems. Don’t miss this chance to prepare for the year ahead with the straight facts about every major country’s and region’s current geopolitical climate. You won’t find political rhetoric or media hype here. The World Explained in Maps is an essential guide for every investor as 2017 takes shape. Get your copy now—free!
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 2:45 am
With President Trump’s America First agenda, we thought it would be useful to understand which other nations value America highly.
As Statista’s Martin Armstrong details, the Made-In-Country-Index (MICI) 2017 has shed light on the reputation of products produced in 49 countries (plus the EU) worldwide. In the overall ranking, the U.S. placed in a ‘could do better’ joint 8th with France and Japan.
The infographic below takes a look at the countries in which ‘Made in USA’ is determined to have the best reputation of all of the surveyed labels.
You will find more statistics at Statista
In total there are eight countries full of respect for U.S. made goods, including Brazil, Argentina, India, and of course the United States itself. For perspective, the top rated label is ‘Made in Germany’ which finds itself the most popular in thirteen countries.
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 2:28 am
Moments ago Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a surprise appearance at Sean Spicer’s daily White House press briefing to announce that his DOJ will be taking steps to not only require that so-called “sanctuary cities” enforce federal immigration laws but would also be seeking to claw back past DOJ awards granted to those cities if they refuse to certify compliance.
“Today, I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws. Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for DOJ grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition for receiving those awards.”
“This policy is entirely consistent with the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs guidance that was issued just last summer under the previous administration.”
“This guidance requires jurisdictions to comply and certify compliance with Section 1373 in order to be eligible for OJP grants. It also made clear that failure to remedy violations could result in withholding grants, termination of grants and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.”
“The DOJ will also take all lawful steps to claw back any fines awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates Section 1373.”
Sessions also called on states like Maryland and California to scrap their plans for becoming a sanctuary state.
“That would be such a mistake.”
“I would plead with the people of Maryland to understand this makes the state of Maryland more at risk for violence and crime, that it’s not good policy.”
Sessions’ full comments can be viewed below:
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) March 27, 2017
* * *
It didn’t take long for New York’s Attorney General to
release a statement vowing that he will continue to violate federal
- NY A.G. ‘WON’T STOP FIGHTING’ TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION POLICIES
- NY AG: STATE, LOCAL GOVTS HAVE BROAD AUTHORITY TO NOT TAKE PART
* * *
For those who missed it, here is an excerpt from our previous post detailing which sanctuary cities receive the most federal funding.
Our organization, American Transparency (website: OpenTheBooks.com) was able to identify that number. We found nearly $27 billion ($26.74 billion
by Zero Hedge - March 28th, 2017 2:00 am
Dot connectors, Twitter diagram creators and newly minted Russia-conspiracy sleuths from sea to shining sea take note.
Since anything connected to Russia is now considered treasonous, I’ve got a great story for you to sniff out.
It relates to John Podesta, but somehow I doubt you’ll be interested in this one…
The Daily Caller reports:
John Podesta, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 national campaign chairman, may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the receipt of 75,000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-financed company when he joined the Obama White House in 2014, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.
Joule Unlimited Technologies — financed in part by a Russian firm — originally awarded Podesta 100,000 shares of stock options when in 2010 he joined that board along with its Dutch-based entities: Joule Global Holdings, BV and the Stichting Joule Global Foundation.
When Podesta announced his departure from the Joule board in January 2014 to become President Obama’s special counsellor, the company officially issued him 75,000 common shares of stock.
The Schedule B section of the federal government’s form 278 which — requires financial disclosures for government officials — required Podesta to “report any purchase, sale or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children…of any property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000.”
The same year Podesta joined Joule, the company agreed to accept 1-Billion-Rubles — or $35 million — from Rusnano, a state-run and financed Russian company with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.
Anatoly Chubais, the company CEO and two other top Russian banking executives worked together with Podesta on the Joule boards. The board met six times a year.
Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director said because of the Kremlin backing, it was essential Podesta disclose the financial benefits he received from the company.
“I think in this case where you’re talking about foreign interests and foreign involvement, the collateral interest with these disclosure forms is put in the forefront of full disclosure of any foreign interest that you may have,” he told TheDCNF in an interview.
The existence of the 75,000 shares of Joule stock was first revealed by the Government Accountability Institute