“China’s export and import figures were much worse than expected in December, underscoring the rapid weakening of the Chinese economy…
“The December figures give the first indication of the full impact of the US-China trade war.
“Total exports fell to US$221.25 billion in December, down 1.4 per cent from November, and 4.4 per cent from the same month in 2017, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs…
“Total imports fell to US$164.19 billion, a fall of 10 per cent from last month and down 7.6 per cent a year earlier… Analysts had expected a 4.5 per cent rise, according to the Bloomberg survey.
“The drop in imports is another bad sign for the Chinese economic outlook, indicating a rapid weakening of Chinese domestic demand.”
“As the global economic outlook darkens, American banks have an unenviable job: Convincing a jittery public that the US economy remains strong and can keep growing…
“Bank profits suffer when the economy stumbles and businesses are scared to borrow. They become especially vulnerable when a recession hits and some customers aren’t able to pay back loans.”
“TARP, the U.S. government bailout program born of the financial crisis a decade ago, lives on today as economists warn of a new recession. Congress authorized the Troubled Asset Relief Program in late 2008 to stabilize the financial system with up to $700 billion — later reduced to $475 billion. To date, about $450 billion in taxpayer money has been committed, either lent or directly invested under TARP to banks and corporations, according to Treasury Department data.”
“Jeffrey Gundlach said yet again that the U.S. economy is gorging on debt… Prolific sales of junk bonds and significant growth in investment grade corporate debt, coupled with the Federal Reserve weaning the market off quantitative easing, have resulted in what the DoubleLine Capital LP boss called “an ocean of debt.”
“The investment manager countered President Donald Trump’s claim that he’s presiding over the strongest economy ever. The growth is debt-based, he said.”
“In October last year the Bank’s financial policy committee, which monitors the health of the financial system, pointedly raised the spectre of the 2007-08 credit crunch. It said the “global leveraged loan market was larger than – and was growing as quickly as – the US sub-prime mortgage market had been in 2006”.”
“California’s largest utility… has been scrambling for five years to reduce fire risks. It has been overwhelmed by the threat’s severity and the challenge of shoring up thousands of miles of ageing power lines and cutting and trimming millions of trees in a service area larger than Florida…
“PG&E faces billions of dollars in legal claims, the specter of bankruptcy, a federal judge forcing his way into utility operations, the possibility state regulators will break it into pieces, and potential state criminal charges including homicide, due to its continued inability to stop the fires from starting. “It’s an organization facing collapse,” said Arthur O’Donnell, a safety supervisor at the California Public Utilities Commission until late last year. “There aren’t any silver bullets that can fix things quickly.””
“In Parliament, lawmakers are mired in gridlock over Britain’s departure from the European Union, with no clear path forward. In Washington, President Donald Trump stormed out of a meeting with congressional leaders who oppose his border wall, hardening a standoff that has shut down much of the government for longer than ever before.
“Two governments paralyzed. Two populist projects stalled. Two venerable democracies in crisis.”
“Uncertainty over Brexit and the economy have led demand for Britain’s financial services to shrink for the first time in five years, with no immediate sign of an improvement, a survey by business group CBI and PwC showed.”
“Deutsche Bank AG held frequent talks with the government and its main domestic competitor over the past months as concern mounted that Germany’s largest lender may not be able to emerge from its crisis without outside help.
“Representatives of Deutsche Bank had 23 discussions with officials since the new government was formed in March, most of them between Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Kukies and Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing as well as supervisory board Chairman Paul Achleitner, according to a Finance Ministry letter seen by Bloomberg.”
“Italy’s European Affairs Minister Paolo Savona was on the wires last minutes, via Reuters, noting that the European Union (EU) economic crisis is already underway…
“And so it begins. As we move towards the European Parliament elections in May, expect Italy to head the vocal tirade against the current administration. The rhetoric will only ramp up as populists look to make their voices heard ahead of votes.”
“Following a painful 2018 that left Argentina in recession and forced into unpopular austerity measures, President Mauricio Macri faces an uphill battle in his bid for re-election in October…
“…inflation initially calculated at 10 percent finished the year at 48 percent while an economy expected to grow by 3.5 percent shrunk by 2.7 percent, according to the World Bank.”
“[Australia’s] banks continue to drive down saver rates below the rate of inflation, despite increasing costs for borrowers, forcing many savers to take bigger risks to maintain income, according to analysis of rates, investment and spending.
“Saver rates will continue to come under pressure as lenders are forced to put aside more capital by regulators, wholesale rates rise and competition increases for new mortgage borrowers with lower introductory rates and bigger discounts, according to analysis.”
“Commuters were stranded in Zimbabwe’s two main cities on Monday as angry protesters reacting to the weekend more than doubling of fuel prices, burned tyres and used rocks to barricade roads and blocked buses from carrying passengers.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday announced a more than 100% rise in the price of petrol and diesel in a move to improve supplies as the country struggles with its worst fuel shortages in a decade.”
“Venezuelan intelligence agents have released opposition leader and congress chief Juan Guaido after briefly detaining him on the way to a political rally, a congressional official has said.
“A video posted on social media appears to show the moment Guaido was pulled from a car on a highway by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) on Sunday as he was travelling out of the capital, Caracas.”
“Trend-following investment strategies are computerized trading algorithms that base their buying and selling activity on asset price momentum. Trend-following algorithms “generally try to ride markets when they move strongly in one direction,” is how the Journal puts it.
“Trading algorithms in general have been blamed for increasing market volatility, and for making market declines more severe by creating self-reinforcing waves of selling.”