TRENDS ON THE ECONOMIC AND MARKET FRONT
It’s barely mainstream news. Most people don’t have a clue what in the real world is going on. Flooded with “news” about Donald Trump indictments, Women’s World Cup soccer, the latest tropical storm, etc., the socioeconomic and geopolitical trends shaping the future aren’t clickbait worthy to capture the crowd.
On 17 August, the benchmark 10-year treasury note closed at 4.307 percent, which was its highest close since 2007. The 30-year treasury bond was paying 4.411 percent on the same day.
During the 14 years that the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates low, the U.S. government borrowed freely to haul the economy out of the Great Recession, continue to fight the Afghan war, and bail out businesses and consumers during the COVID War.
In July, U.S. consumers spent 0.7 percent more dollars compared to June and 3.2 percent more than a year earlier, the commerce department reported. Retail sales on items other than energy and food were up 1.0 percent from the month before.
The national average interest rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. reached 7.09 percent last week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. reported, up from 6.96 percent the week before to reach its highest since April 2002.
Last week, Americans dumped about $36 billion into money market funds to take advantage of yields that have shot past 5 percent, a rate of return not seen for more than a decade.
In summer 2022, Congress passed the Chips and Science Act that allotted $39 billion to strengthen the domestic semiconductor industry.
Yum Brands, which owns fast-food icons Burger King, KFC, and Taco Bell, wants its customers to place all of their orders digitally and is taking steps to make that goal a reality.
TRENDS ON THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC FRONT
Through April, May, and June, business bankruptcies in the Eurozone increased 8.4 percent, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency.
We have repeatedly provided Trends Journal subscribers with details and facts of China’s economic rise and fall. For over a decade we had forecast that while the 20th century was the American century, the 21st century would be the Chinese century... because the business of China is business while the business of America has been war.
Welcome to week 52... a year of our reported job losses that illustrate the factual damage resulting from the COVID War... and the scores of other socioeconomic and geopolitical tragedies committed by politicians in a country near you that are destroying the foundations of economies.
Stubbornly high core inflation, especially in Europe, and high-interest rates, particularly in the U.S., have convinced investors to sell the bonds they bought expecting central banks to start cutting rates soon.
In an emergency 15 August rate meeting, officials of Russia's central bank hiked a key interest rate by 3.5 percentage points to 12.0 percent.
Britain’s top-line inflation eased to 6.8 percent in July, the Office for National Statistics reported, sharply lower than June’s 7.9 percent.
The Dutch economy has slipped into a technical recession, contracting by 0.3 percent in this year’s second quarter after shrinking 0.4 percent in the first, according to Statistics Netherland.
UBS Group, the Swiss global financial services firm, has agreed to pay a $1.44-billion fine to settle charges brought by the U.S. justice department that the company had defrauded investors.
In recent times, the economic landscape has presented an array of challenges that have profoundly affected the business community. Some of the most significant challenges include soaring inflation rates, escalating interest rates, looming fears of a recession, and a tangible decrease in revenues for many sectors... all made worse by the COVID War which destroyed the lives and livelihoods of billions across the globe.
As we had long forecast, the higher central banks raise interest rates, the lower the Merger and Acquisition trend… which hit record highs at the height of the COVID War in 2021 when interest rates sank and governments pumped in countless trillions to artificially prop up sinking economies.
UKRAINE WAR TREND UPDATE
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called those who criticized the West’s effort to pump Kyiv with weapons “fallen angels from hell”— not peace advocates.
The Trends Journal has called for Kyiv to negotiate for a peaceful settlement before Russia invaded Ukraine, not because we agree with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade, but because Ukraine has no chance of winning against a superior Russian military and it would be in the best interest of its government to get along with their superpower neighbor.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., told constituents at a town hall last week that it was time that the U.S. acknowledges that the Ukraine War is lost and it may be time to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate for peace.
A top NATO official was forced to apologize last week after he floated the idea that Ukraine may be able to join the Alliance if it agrees to cede land to Russia to end the war.
FEATURED TRENDS GUEST ARTICLE by John & Nisha Whitehead
“Make no mistake about it…your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason… I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”—Justice Antonin Scalia dissenting in Maryland v. King
FEATURED TRENDS GUEST ARTICLE by Dr. Joseph Mercola
mRNA COVID-19 shots are still being called “vaccines,” even though they fulfill all the definitions of gene therapy and none of the definitions for a vaccine.
TRENDS IN THE MARKETS by Gregory Mannarino
U.S. mortgage rates here in the United States have just risen to their highest level in 21 years. Meanwhile, despite all the talk about how raising rates would somehow tame inflation, and that it was just temporary, and even transitory, inflation continues to rise. Moreover, by the Fed’s own admission, “inflation continues to outpace every projection they have made.” Moreover and overall, food inflation continues to outpace everything else. With energy inflation a close second.
TRENDS IN TECHNOCRACY by Joe Doran
Through the alchemy of AI, people can now have “conversations” with the most interesting historical figures in the world.
Newly published research shows unsurprising left-leaning bias in ChatGPT, the most widely text-based generative AI system.
That bias is especially consequential, since the program is being integrated into knowledge and creative work flows, and even political and administrative decision-making, on an exponentially growing scale.
It’s hard to believe that “Frontend” generative AI programs have been in wide use by consumers and workers for less than a year.
But despite the rapid and enormous societal and workplace transformation occurring before our eyes, many don’t want to face where it’s leading.
AI prompting itself, or other AI, is already possible, with a bit of human ingenuity.
TRENDS IN CRYPTOS
When it comes to a spot Bitcoin ETF (Electronically Traded Fund), the EU beat the U.S. to the punch…
…or at least that was the story from some major crypto outlets like Cointelegraph, Blockworks and others.
With Bitcoin still mired more than 50 percent down from its all-time highs of late 2021, how is El Salvador managing to fare better than most of its central and South American neighbors?
TRENDS IN GEOPOLITICS
A surge in fighting between rival Libyan militias continues to rage in the country—killing at least 55 people in a week in Tripoli, the country’s capital city, according to a report in The New York Times.
China’s top defense official visited Belarus last week and praised the countries’ “truly fraternal relations” as the Ukraine War continues to set the stage for WWIII becoming official.
African-Americans’ lives may matter, but nobody cares about African lives.
The U.S. last week requested a dispute settlement panel to step in during its legal fight with Mexico that involves corn sales and can result in a rare trade war between neighbors.
The Biden administration continued its effort to surround China and provoke tensions in the Asia-Pacific last weekend during a summit at Camp David with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Expect more details of how the government agencies manipulated the 2020 election.
Major downtowns across the U.S. are grappling with a surge in office space vacancies and crime and are trying to figure out how to keep these city centers from collapsing.
Parents of elementary school-aged children in Missouri could face jail time if their little scholars miss a certain amount of school in a year, according to a ruling last week by the state’s Supreme Court.
The U.S. Labor Department said in a recent report that the average price of daycare and preschool jumped 6 percent last month, which is about double the country’s current inflation rate of 3.2 percent.
With more Americans looking for cheaper options than dining out, many supermarkets see a chance to increase revenue by providing customers with prepared meals that are music to their ears: cheap and quick.
TRENDS IN HI-TECH SCIENCE by Ben Daviss
The longer a gouge or scrape or similar laceration to the skin stays open, the greater the danger of infection. Closing a wound can require stitches, a procedure that carries problems and dangers of its own.
Rapamycin, a drug that slows the growth of cancer tumors, is being touted as a possible way to slow aging.
Imagine a world where plastic is always plentiful without ever having to make any more.
TRENDS IN AI
The nonprofit Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy (CAIDP) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming OpenAI has violated the portion of the Federal Trade Commission Act banning deceptive and unfair practices.
For more than a decade, job-seekers have been frustrated by having to craft resumés and cover letters that will pass an initial screening by a computer program. Some submit scores of attempts, varying the format and content to suit the company offering a position, and never receive a response—not even a polite rejection.
Google is negotiating with Universal Music Group, one of the world’s largest owners of record labels and artists’ contracts, to use artists’ images and voices in recording and videos of songs written by AI.
Earlier this month at the annual Defcon computer hackers conference, Anthropic, OpenAI, and other artificial intelligence developers invited the world’s best cyber-invaders to be their most creative in attacking and penetrating current generative AIs.
In the 1990s, any company with “dot-com” attached to its name could issue stock, share prices would soar, and millionaires would be made in the company and in the equity market.
Major manufacturers and transport companies including Maersk, Siemens, and Unilever are putting AI to work to advise on contract terms, hunt down suppliers on better shipping routes or with better terms, and spot ethical potholes, such as buying cotton from China’s Xinjiang region, where Uighur Muslims are allegedly enslaved.