From Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily: Mortgage Rates Steady at 2017 LowsMortgage rates held steady to start the new week. This keeps them in line with the best levels since November 2016. There were no interesting developments in financial markets or in terms of economic data today. ...3.875% remains the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier scenarios, although quite a few lenders remain at 4.00%.Tuesday:• At 9:00 AM ET, FHFA House Price Index for June 2017. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.• At 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for August.• Also expected at 10:00 AM (not confirmed), Q2 MBA National Delinquency Survey.
If not for the undercover video below in which MIT professor, and chief Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber attributed the passage of Obamacare to the "stupidity of the American voter," most Americans wouldn't even have known it was Gruber who was responsible for eternally destroying the healthcare system in the U.S. Unfortunately, the now infamous MIT prof just had to open his mouth and the video just had to go viral...which means that all the rest of us have to live the remainder of our lives with the knowledge that one elitist, leftist professor who has probably never worked a day outside of academia and/or government in his life is the sole reason we can suddenly no longer afford to buy health insurance for our families. Now, according to the Vermont Rutland Herald, Gruber's perpetual desire to save American voters from their own stupidity has landed him in some hot water with Vermont's Attorney General T.J. Donovan. As the Herald explains, Gruber was apparently hired as a consultant by Vermont's former Governor to assist with analyzing a single-payer healthcare system but got a little too creative with his invoices... Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said his office has concluded an investigation into the invoices and billing practices of Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economic consultant who contracted with the state to provide policy expertise, research and economic modeling for Vermont’s abandoned single-payer healthcare system. Former Gov. Peter Shumlin sought to create the single-payer system, known as Green Mountain Care, but eventually walked away from the plan after determining it would cost too much. The attorney general’s office’s began the investigation into Gruber’s billing after receiving a referral by State Auditor Doug Hoffer. Donovan said Thursday his office and Gruber reached an agreement to settle the state’s potential legal claim that Gruber submitted false claims to the state under Vermont’s Civil False Claims Act. Donovan said his office concluded that Gruber’s conduct violated the Vermont Civil False Claims Act. Gruber denied a violation, but in order to resolve the case, he agreed to forgo any further payments from the state that he might be owed. Donovan’s office found that Gruber submitted at least two invoices that were false with respect to the amount of work performed by a research assistant working for Gruber. The supporting documentation provided by Gruber did not reflect the actual hours worked by the research assistant, nor did the assistant keep records accurately reflecting the hours he devoted to the state project, Donovan said. Gruber’s contract was originally supposed to pay him as much as $400,000 to test economic models related to Shumlin’s health care proposal. The contract allowed the state to use the Gruber Microsimulation Model that Gruber developed to simulate the implementation of Shumlin’s plan and test various financing mechanisms. Of course, this is also the same Jonathan Gruber who blamed his epic Obamacare failure on President Trump less than 4 months after he moved into the White House: Gruber: "Look, and whose fault is this? Before President Trump was elected there were no counties in America that did not have an insurer. Since President Trump's been elected, a massive degree of uncertainty..." Wallace: "Wait, you're going to blame the problems with Obamacare on President Trump?" Gruber: "We had a situation under Obamacare where there was a one-time premium increase last year that made up for the fact that insurers massively under-priced in the first two years. The problem was fixed. Insurer profits were trending positively. Insurers were saying positive things about their ability to stay in the exchanges and succeed. Then you have a President who comes in, undercuts open enrollment, doesn't honor the obligations this law makes to insurers, and, as a result, premiums are going up and insurers are exiting." Forward to the 7:50 mark for the relevant exchange: Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com All of which begs the question, where exactly do we go to bid on the government contracts where our analysis can be 100% wrong but we can still make $400,000?
Стоимость проезда по двум платным участкам трассы М4 "Дон" составит полтора рубля за километр. Ранее стало известно, что два участка трассы будут платными до мая 2019 года.
Через четверть века после краха СССР российские фермеры, наконец, готовы побить советский рекорд по сбору пшеницы. “Урожай может достичь, по крайней мере, 130.7 млн. тонн в этом году”, - заявил Владимир Петриченко, директор консалтинговой фирмы ProZerno. Таким образом, это значение будет на 2.6% выше прошлого исторического максимума в 1978 году, за год до вторжения СССР в Афганистан. Фермеры собирают больше пшеницы и кукурузы, чем когда-либо в принципе, тогда как урожай ячменя будет максимальным с 2008 года, показали данные ProZerno. Результаты могут оказаться еще выше, так как о рекордном урожае могут отчитаться и в Сибири. Прогнозы на высокий урожай стали возможны за счет очень дождливого лета в европейской части России на контрасте с засушливым летом в США и Канаде. По данным Министерства сельского хозяйства США, прогнозируется, что Россия станет ведущим экспортером пшеницы в сезоне 2017-18. Soviet-Era Grain Record Seen Tumbling on Bumper Russian Crop, Bloomberg, Aug 21Источник: FxTeam
Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com, There’s something I’ve always found mesmerizing about watching animals in the wild. They have the most incredible instincts, honed from countless generations of survival against constant threats. Animals have a keen sense of danger. They know immediately when something doesn’t feel right, and they act on it without hesitation. I saw an incredible example of this last year when I was visiting a remote wildlife reservation in Zimbabwe. It was late in the afternoon on a hot summer day, and my friends and I were ensconced in a hidden observation bunker situated on the edge of a water hole. The animals all began to arrive, one species at a time, to cool off before nightfall. First the elephants. Then Rhinos. Zebras. Giraffes. Baboons. It was a playful mood; all the animals seemed to be enjoying the water, when without warning, there was a stillness. The gazelles froze. The zebras’ ears perked. Something wasn’t right. A smell. A sound. Something. So they got the hell out of there. We found out later that a ravenous pack of hyenas was on the prowl nearby, so the animals’ instincts were spot-on. Deep, deeeep down, human beings have the same highly refined instincts. Our long-lost ancestors struggled against every imaginable danger. And those lessons are hard-coded in our DNA. We sense threats. We can feel it when something’s wrong. The difference between our species and animals in the wild, though, is that we humans have way too many external influences that muck it all up. Case in point: last week was obviously a tough one for anyone with any sense of humanity. Acts of terrorism are scary. And hearing about completely innocent people on a popular pedestrian promenade getting mowed down like bowling pins by some madman is definitely going to cause some discomfort. But down here in Latin America at least, there was ensuring wall-to-wall news coverage for the next several days in a way I hadn’t seen since 9/11. It’s all we saw. Terrorism. Terrorism. Terrorism. This really amps up the fear factor for something that is already difficult to stomach. So it’s easy to understand why I keep hearing people say things like, “We’re living through the most dangerous times in human history.” It’s easy to lose perspective. But on the balance we have it pretty good. 13th century Europeans faced a far greater threat with the approaching Mongol hoard. A century later they faced an even more terrible fate with the onset of the Bubonic Plague, which ultimately wiped out around 30% of Europe’s population. Even in more recent times, the threat of nuclear annihilation between East and West posed a constant threat. Yes, acts of terrorism are appalling. But taken in historical and mathematical context the danger is actually quite low. The Cato Institute published some data recently showing that the chances of dying in a terror attack are around 1 in 3 million. Statistically speaking, you have a better chance of being crushed to death by a vending machine. But we don’t demand that our governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars that taxpayers cannot possibly afford in order to protect us from vending machines. That’s because deep down we sense that vending machines don’t truly pose a threat. But with terrorism our senses are heavily manipulated until we believe that the threat is far greater than what the statistics show. The real irony is that the manipulation works both ways. Just as we are manipulated into being terrified of certain risks that pose no real statistical threat, we are manipulated into ignoring other risks that are far more likely. I would raise financial markets as an obvious example. The stock market in the United States is at an all-time high, with valuation metrics that have rarely been higher in more than 100 years of data. Bond markets around the world have literally never been more expensive… EVER. In order to return to levels that are more in-line with long-term historical averages, stock and bond markets would both have to suffer steep losses. But instead of encouraging investors to independently assess these financial risks, mainstream media often dismisses such assertions as pessimistic bugaboo. Or another obvious long-term risk– that Social Security is going to run out of money. I write about this one frequently. The Social Security Trustees, including the Treasury Secretary of the United States, state very clearly in their annual report that Social Security’s major trust funds “will be depleted in 2034.” Yet despite the totally predictable, unavoidable, widespread consequences to Americans’ primary source of retirement income, the public is manipulated into ignoring this threat as well. Instead of the truth, we continue to hear the same tired mantra– “Social Security is just fine,” despite every shred of objective evidence to the contrary. We’re also told to believe ridiculous axioms like “the US government’s debt doesn’t matter,” even though they have $20+ trillion of it and spend like drunken sailors. But no. The experts tell us that this is not a risk worth concerning ourselves with. Angry brown people want to kill us. Focus on that instead. Human beings have a 1 in 3,000,000 chance of suffering from a terror attack. Yet there is currently a 100% chance that Social Security runs out of money in 2034. Only one of these manages to find its way into the news. Not to mention, if properly informed, people can actually DO SOMETHING about the latter. There’s plenty of time for intelligent people to prepare. Do you have a Plan B?
Федеральная антимонопольная служба выдала УК "Альфа-капитал" предупреждение, посчитав, что компания участвовала в недобросовестной конкуренции, сообщая о проблемах в "ФК Открытие", МКБ, "Бинбанке и "Промсвязьбанке".
Seemed appropriate... And ugly Chicago Fed National Activity Index print (-0.01 vs +0.10), indicating below-trend growth in the national economy, along with Dalio Derisking sparked safe haven bond and bullion bids while stocks sank... But VIX was clubbed like a baby seal to get everything back to green... But Nasdaq and Small Caps couldn't hold on to it... Trannies and Small Caps both closed below their 200DMA, S&P bounced off its 100DMA, Nasdaq tested towards its 100DMA, Dow tested and bounced off 50DMA. Small Caps ended underwater for 2017... If you don't think these markets are technical, then explain this - S&P stops downward push at EXACTLY TO THE PENNY the 100-day moving average... FANG Stocks dropped once again to six-week lows... Small Cap relative outperformance post-election has gone as tax reform is now priced out domestically... (Russell 2000 is also now in the red year-to-date) Treasury yields ended the day mostly lower, falling after an initial higher yield open... this is the lowest 30Y yield close since June 27th Meanwhile, the T-Bill market is getting seriously dislocated as debt ceiling concerns rise... With the curve around the end of September getting seriously strained... The Dollar Index fell once again - closing near its cycle low close, back to May 2015 lows... Overnight saw industrial metals - zinc, copper, iron ore - all surging... Notably decoupled from economic reality... CMC market strategist Michael Hewson, have expressed their amazement at what is taking place in the industrial metals sector, and pointing out that something strange is going on, Hewson said "I'm looking at the prospect for the global economy and looking at the price of metals and there seems to be a significant disconnect between the two." Gold futures tested $1300 once again intraday (and notably net futures and options positioning in th eprecious metal is now the longest since October 2016)... Friday's ridiculous spike in WTI Crude has been unwound as non-OPEC producers Libya and Nigeria add supply while output from major shale plays is set to climb to a record next month. Bonus Chart: If you thought a '666' crash low was spooky, then take a look at this chart. The S&P 500 just stalled at an exact 100% projection of the plunge in 08/09... Bonus Bonus Chart: So now we rip?
Building on his apocalyptic vision of the future (as writ by Terminator-style Skynet domination or Robocops walking the streets), Tesla CEO Elon Musk (and 115 other like-minded 'experts') have penned an open letter to The United Nations urging the outright ban of the development and use of killer robots. As a reminder, Musk previously called on the government to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before things advance too far. “Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said. “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.” “Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued. “It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” Musk has been concerned about AI for years, and while Facenook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is unphased, it appears now, as The Guardian reports, the Tesla CEO has found 115 like-minded individuals to appeal to The UN. The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots. In their letter, the founders warn the review conference of the convention on conventional weapons that this arms race threatens to usher in the “third revolution in warfare” after gunpowder and nuclear arms. The founders wrote: “Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” The founders call for “morally wrong” lethal autonomous weapons systems to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN’s convention on certain conventional weapons (CCW) brought into force in 1983, which includes chemical and intentionally blinding laser weapons. Ryan Gariepy, the founder of Clearpath Robotics said: “Unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability.” Sounds even scarier than Musk's end of civilization threats!
Back on June 1, in his first ever tweet (after being a silent member of Twitter since 2011), Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein slammed Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, which he called “a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world.” Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement — Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) June 1, 2017 Fast forward to today when the Goldman CEO, in his capacity as the former boss of Trump's chief economy advisor (and most likely future head of the Federal Reserve, Gary Cohn), took another veiled swipe at the Trump administration when in what appeared to be a subtweet targetting Donald Trump, said "Wish the moon wasn't the only thing casting a shadow across the country. We got through one, we'll get through the other. #SolarEclipse2017" Wish the moon wasn't the only thing casting a shadow across the country. We got through one, we'll get through the other. #SolarEclipse2017 — Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) August 21, 2017 One assumes that Blankfein was addressing Trump (indirectly) as the only person left making any economic decisions, now that Steve Bannon is gone, is his former right hand man, Gary Cohn. Which begs the question: is Blankfein's latest critique just more carefully staged theater, meant to elevate the CEO of the "vampire squid" in the eyes of the general public and shape him into a kind, caring, nurturing idealist ready to carry the ideals of progressives everywhere, or was the tweet an indication that despite the dominance of the now undisputed dominance of the "Goldman circle" inside the White House, Bannon still remains a key decision-maker, even if banished from the Oval Office. Whatever the right answer, it should provide a welcome distraction as former Goldman COO Gary Cohn does everything in his power to sneak through a new tax code that benefits the likes of, well, Goldman Sachs.
Война неизбежна! Война за выживание! Вайт, не дай себя обмануть! ...
Authored by Michael Kern via CryptInsider.com, As the price of oil remains in the high-$40, low-$50 range, every cog in the oil industry is scrambling to reduce costs and streamline sales. The oil industry has long been a leader in the adoption of different technologies. But, despite advancements made in recent years, even pushing breakeven costs to record lows, the industry is widely ignoring one of the most important developments of the century. Blockchain technology. Blockchain tech – the “Buzzword of 2017” describing the “Internet in the 1990s” – is seeping into every major industry that it touches. Finance As we enter a whole new world in finance and technology, confidence and efficiencies in banking may be at an all-time low. Many financial institutions are scrambling to find solutions to reduce errors, speed up transactions, and provide greater transparency, which customers are demanding. This has led the financial sector toward the implementation of smart contracts and distributed ledgers. Blockchain is catching on so quickly, in fact, IBM expects 65 percent of major banks to be using blockchain technology in some fashion within the next 2 years. Blockchain technology is already being used in bond transfers, remittances, fraud reduction, payment processes, and trading platforms. Transactions are processed quickly, safely, and with significantly greater security, saving banks millions in the process. One of the largest impacts that this technology may have on the banking industry, however, is the “Know your customer” process in which banks identify their clients with the goal of preventing money laundering, corruption and terrorism. The financial sector spends anywhere between $60-million and $500-million each year to remain compliant with these regulations. Because a blockchain is public ledger, the transactions are more transparent, allowing information to be accessed more easily and without a long turn around. These revelations have even led major governments to delve into blockchain technology. Government In another recent study by IBM, 9 out of 10 government organizations have suggested that they will be using, or at least experimenting with blockchain technology by the year 2018. This new tech can be appropriated in astounding ways by governments. Distribution of social services, contract management, regulatory compliance, identity management, and even voting and tax collection stand to be impacted significantly. The technology is taking hold especially fast in the world’s largest oil producing region. The race is on in the GCC to adopt blockchain tech, and UAE is in the lead. With the “Dubai Blockchain Strategy,” the smart city aims to utilize blockchain tech in all government entities by the year 2020. “We’re taking the responsibility here in Dubai to make sure that we shape this nascent technology and make it happen in a way that really suits [the] city’s needs,” said Dr Aisha bin Bishr, the director general of Smart Dubai Office. It is estimated that the city will save $15-20 billion per year in banking transactions alone. Further efficiency gains in land contract management, payment collection, and business registration and licenses are sure to propel the city into a fintech future. Perhaps the most important disruption to note, however, is where the public and private sectors meet. Oil As the demand for efficiency and transparency continues to grow, the oil industry is at a crossroads. Still using paper contracts and outdated trading platforms, the implementation of distributed ledgers and smart contracts could leapfrog the industry into the digital age. While it may not seem as exciting as submerged oil rigs or robot controlled power grids, revamping the Big Oil’s back office stands to save the industry a whole lot of money going forward. One of the biggest impacts that this technology will have on the oil industry is in how oil and oil futures are traded. Right now, oil being traded at such incredible volumes through producers, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, refiners, and retailers, that attempting to keep up with the real-time movement of crude is often in vain. With a scaled blockchain, transactions will happen instantaneously, allowing anyone and everyone to track the transactions – reducing costs, stabilizing prices, and providing a level of transparency which was previously impossible. Marco Dunand, CEO of Swiss trading giant Mercuria noted: “The energy industry will have to digitalize more and more in oil production, refining, shipping. So traders will also have to participate. It is a pre-archaic process. So introducing blockchain will allow to pass title from buyer to shipper to seller without going through massive paperwork of bills of lading.” But there are other benefits, as well… The oil and gas industry is heavily regulated and enforcers of the regulations may struggle to keep up, but using blockchain technology, all data is secured and easily accessible at any given time. This is a plus for the regulators as it will help keep Big Oil in check, but it is also a huge leap forward for the industry. This form of data sharing brings a new level of communication and transparency into global collaborations from which complicated lawsuits and lengthy legal processes often emerge. Additionally, shareholders will be able to follow exactly what is happening in the industry, enabling them to make more educated decisions in how they invest their money. Conclusion In such a globally connected economy, the impact of transitioning to blockchain tech will be profound and will likely turn any industry on its head. In particular, the oil industry. Rig counts and production data will be available in real time, freely available to anyone. Regulatory compliance will be easily tracked. Data will be shared seamlessly between joint ventures. The time it takes to cut a deal will be reduced significantly. And perhaps most importantly, the middle man essentially disappears, reducing costs for every sub-section of the industry. Even if the oil industry has lagged behind in adopting this technology, it is bound to happen. As oil prices struggle to find stability, the industry races to reduce costs, and consumers increasingly demand greater transparency, could this new tech be the answer?