Trump Goes After the Fed Again
Perhaps discontented with the rise of the dollar (NYSEARCA:UUP) on foreign exchange markets, or worried that the 10-year boom that began in 2009 may be coming to an end with President Trump blamed if the Federal Reserve keeps raising rates, Trump publicly criticized Fed Chair Jay Powell in an interview with Reuters. He is “not thrilled” with the fact that Powell isn’t helping him boost the economy by manipulating the dollar, while at the same time criticizing China and Europe for manipulating their own currencies, not seeming to get the inherent hypocrisy of juxtaposing both statements. Most market analysts believe that Powell and others at the Fed will ignore Trump’s bravado and maintain their current policy course, which means if the economy tanks, the Fed and Trump will probably blame each other.
So Long Rand, South Africa Implements Policy of Institutionalized Land Theft
It’s tough being a white farm owner in South Africa these days, as the official policy now being enforced is straight-up state-sanctioned land theft of whites. With the South African Rand (ZAR=X) declining 23% against the US dollar since February, this is not likely to help stem the currency’s decline. The South African government has a list of 139 farms it wants to seize, and it has begun with the seizure of two farms from owner Akkerland Boerdery, which was not even given the opportunity to dispute the expropriation in court. In the government’s defense, they say that the theft can only take place if the government itself determines that theft is “in the public interest”, which is not particularly encouraging.
Amazon Hires Top Cardiologist For “Exciting and Challenging Role”
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has hired cardiologist Maulik Majmudar, associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, to do something mysterious that nobody outside Amazon knows precisely what yet, but it probably has to do with healthcare. Amazon has already bought the online pharmacy PillPack, and has launched its own branded over the counter drug line. In a bit of an exciting tweet, Majmudar said the following: “The one and only reason I am taking on this opportunity, is the possibility of making a truly meaningful impact on the health and wellbeing of hundreds of millions of individuals throughout the world…”
Venezuela Bets it All on Petro Cryptocurrency
In a bid to stop the country from a complete collapse of civilization, President Nicholas Maduro is putting all worthless Bolivars into one oil-backed cryptocurrency basket. The new Sovereign Bolivar will be backed by Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency, the Petro, which will be backed by the county’s oil reserves. In response to the move, the opposition has announced a 24 hour general strike, and prices are expected to skyrocket still further, with the official inflation rate already surpassing the historically infamous 1923 hyperinflation of the German Mark in Weimar Germany. Since nobody really knows what the Sovereign Bolivar is actually worth, it shouldn’t take long for the currency to hyperinflate again, given that the Venezuelan government has not actually freed any markets or pledged any sort of fiscal responsibility.
Yield Curve Continues to Flatten
The spread between 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields hit a new low yesterday, narrowing to just 22 basis points, and currently sits at 23.5, for a fall of 11 basis points in 3 weeks. Everyone on Wall Street is aware that a negative yield curve has signaled recession and a bear market in stocks in the past, and with the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) flirting with all time highs again, it may be a prudent time to exercise caution. The spread could dip below zero into negative curve territory within weeks.