As the General Strike begins in a France that has – literally – run out of money, trading house debt goes through the roof in China, and liquidity disappears among their US equivalents. In every developed market, consumers have bashed the plastic to breaking point. The neoliberal model of capitalism continues to eat itself into sovereign, corporate and citizen debt. It’s time to look beyond December 12th and face facts.
First giggle of the day:
The world according to Newscorp: the energy, the passion and the cold analysis. For heaven’s sake, do keep up. Maybe if there was a little more energy in the analysis, we could start the passion from cold. But I doubt it. I blame winter. Wrong kind of snow. Most elections are powered by hot air. This one is drowning in cold water.
I’ve decided that today will be devoid of navel-gazing, and look further afield for something of real importance.
It’s been a big year in China, for instance. A record year, in fact: more onshore bonds are set to default than ever before: an avalanche of 15 defaults since the start of November has sent the year’s total to 120.4 billion yuan ($17.1 billion) which, by year end, will exceed last year’s number.
The problem is, spookily enough, the Debt thang – this time credit rollovers in the trading sector. As Beijing fights to wrestle financial instability to the canvas, the economy continues to slow down.
Here in France, Emperor Macronapoleon’s France en marche has turned into France en grève – that is, on strike. Today sees the start of a national strike by transport workers, teachers and other professionals in a showdown between the trade unions and President Emmanuel Macron over his planned pension reforms.
In what Le Monde calls “The moment of truth for Macron”, opinion polls are showing a majority of French people in support of the protest movement, the figures varying from 58 to 70%.
Both the syndicats and the Gilets Jaunes see the “reforms” for what they are – a neoliberal attack on the welfare system – and yet more monetarist drivel. But this isn’t the only problem Macrony faces.
Violence broke out between firefighters and ‘police’ in October as the pompiers protested about their employee conditions (rumours continue of Macron drafting in mercenary migrant heavies masquerading as police) and later that month a report showed France to be the most heavily taxed nation in the EU.
The reasons for this are complex, but Macron is between a rock and a hard place: French exports beyond food are of poor quality and hugely overpriced. This year in particular, the trade deficit has ballooned, forcing the President into the position of ordering a guillotine on imports…..in a free trade bloc. No contradiction there of course.
Most damning of all, the Institut Économique Molinari (IEN) has just published figures that show the French State ran out of revenues on November 11th, forcing it into emergency borrowing. It has the third biggest deficit in the Union, and the debt is growing. Despite all that tax, and all this austerity.
Across the Pond in the US, the New York Fed continues to pour hundreds of billions of dollars each week into Wall Street’s trading houses, rationalising the first such loans since the financial crisis by claiming they were a short-term measure to stem a liquidity crisis. This is mendacity on just about every conceivable level – the first loans were deemed likely to be necessary months before the media discovered their existence, and they’ve continued since September unabated.
But as usual, the banking sector wants it every which way with a cherry on the top: the alleged “liquidity crisis” has not prevented the stock market from setting new highs since the loan operations began on September 17. The American taxpayer has coughed up a cumulative total of $3 trillion in overnight and longer-term loans ….and neither House of Congress has examined what’s really going on.
I no longer think these actions, and the daily attempt to crush the gold price, are unconnected. During six weeks when every informed trader I’ve spoken to sees massive bourse corrections as inevitable, the banks are using their usual pass-the-parcel et al fiddles to stem the rush into gold.
And as Zirp continues to starve savers and max out credit-takers, dangerously high levels of risk-on investment strategy are being followed.
It is worth repeating an earlier warning: if, once reinstalled in Downing Street, BoJo doesn’t use his new bargaining power to get us out from under Hammond’s Quisling EIB liabilities, Britain will go down with the SS Eutanic.
I increasingly doubt that he will do this. And if that were to be the case, we’re going to find ourselves in the path of a whirlwind blowing away the Old Order. The Establishment has been given its chance to change, and funked it comprehensively.