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Sat, 25th March 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “united states” Tag

N.Korea’s Kim Jong Un says engine test is ‘new birth’ of rocket industry

North Korea has conducted a test of a new high-thrust engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station and leader Kim Jong Un said the successful test was “a new birth” of its rocket industry, the reclusive North’s official media said on Sunday.

The engine would help North Korea achieve world-class satellite launch capability, KCNA said, indicating the test was of a new type of rocket engine for long-range missiles.

 The United States and China pledged to work together to get the North to take “a different course” and move away from its weapons programmes after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met his Chinese counterpart on Saturday.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

Kim Jong Un has said North Korea is close to a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

IMF Paris office targeted in suspected letter bomb attack

One person has been injured in a suspected letter bomb attack at the International Monetary Fund’s office in Paris.

A spokesperson for the police said an envelope sent to the building exploded and injured one person on Thursday. Several people were also evacuated from the building as a precaution.

It comes a day after an explosive package was found at the offices of Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. Berlin police said on Wednesday the package contained an “explosive mix” that was designed to cause “severe injuries”. A Greek militant group claimed responsibility for the parcel bomb.

I have been informed about the explosion in the IMF’s Paris office, which caused injuries to one of our staff.

I have been in touch with the office, and my compassion goes to the colleagues there. I condemn this cowardly act of violence and reaffirm the IMF’s resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate.

We are working closely with the French authorities to investigate this incident and ensure the safety of our staff.

France is already on high alert after a series of terror attacks in recent years, including the November 2015 assaults that left 130 people dead and a truck attack in Nice in July that killed more than 80 people.

The US Is About To Hit $20 Trillion In Debt

As the vulture pundits in the mainstream media pick apart hollow political scandals, the essential bankruptcy of the federal government looms just ahead. The national debt is creeping toward 20 trillion dollars, and the United State’s largest problem is once again staring the world in the face.

Just before the government was slated to shut down in 2015 (as it did in 2013), Congress was able to pass a delay on the debt ceiling decision until March 15th of this year — Wednesday of this week. Recurring uncertainty caused by events like this has implications that extend far beyond our own borders. The amount of leverage in the current system has already forced foreign holders of U.S. debt to question the real value of America’s full faith and credit.

2016 was a record-setting year for the liquidation of foreign-held U.S. bonds, topping out at nearly $405 billion. The selling was led by China, America’s second-biggest creditor, which currently holds over $1 trillion of U.S. debt, almost 28% of the total held by foreign central banks. They weren’t alone, though, and even the U.S.’ number one lender, Japan, has rolled back their positions to protect themselves as the reality of U.S. insolvency comes into focus. A gradual change has been set in motion, and the global superpower status of the United States may be systematically eroded — not militarily, but economically.

If the government does shut down again, the Treasury Department reportedly has as little as $66 billion in reserves and just enough income from taxes to meet its essential obligations.

Atlanta Fed Slashes Q1 GDP Forecast To Just 0.9% Hours Before Fed Rate Hike

While it may not be the very definition of irony, we do find the fact that the Atlanta Fed has just cut its Q1 GDP forecast from 1.2% to 0.9%, a number which if confirmed would be the lowest quarterly print in year, just two hours before the Fed’s rate hike quite humorous. As a reminder, the number was as high as 3.4% one and a half months ago.

From the Atlanta Fed

Latest forecast: 0.9 percent — March 15, 2017 

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2017 is 0.9 percent on March 15, down from 1.2 percent on March 8. The GDP growth forecast declined 0.3 percentage points on Friday when the February estimate of the model’s latent dynamic factor used to forecast yet-to-be released GDP source data declined after the employment situation release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The forecast for first-quarter real consumer spending growth inched down from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent after this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Consumer Price Index release from the BLS.

 

Trump and Saudi Prince discussed new investments worth more than $200B – White House

White House on yesterday’s meeting

Saudi Arabia hailed yesterday’s meeting as a “historical turning point” in relations with the United States. He met with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is the economic power broker in the kingdom.

The White House said they discussed development of a new US-Saudi program with initiatives including infrastructure and energy worth potentially more than $200 billion.

The Strategic Triangle That Is Changing The World

While the world continues to decipher, or digest, the new Trump presidency, important changes are afoot within the grand strategic triangle that lies between Russia, Iran and China

Away from the current chaos in the United States, major developments are progressing, with Iran, Russia and China coordinating on a series of significant moves crucial for the future of the Eurasian continent. With a population of more than five billion people, constituting about two-thirds of the Earth’s population, the future of humanity passes through this immense area. Signaling a major change from a unipolar world order based on Europe and the United States to a multipolar world steered by China, Russia and Iran, these Eurasian states are carving out a leading role in the development of the vast continent. As part of the challenges faced by these leading multipolar countries, the disruptive events originating in the post-WWII Euro-Atlantic world order will need to be tackled.

Greece : Prospects for deal in bailout talks get more distant

After yet another round of inconclusive bailout talks in Athens, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he believed a comprehensive deal with creditors could be reached by April while taking a dig at the International Monetary Fund over its tough stance on labor rights.

In comments to reporters at the end of a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, Tsipras said he believed a technical-level agreement could still be reached in time for a March 20 Eurogroup, with a broader accord, including the specification of medium-term debt relief measures, coming in April.

Tsipras indicated, however, that tough talks on collective wage bargaining would be harder to conclude. “That issue can’t be solved at the technical level. There’s a disagreement,” he said, adding that the IMF must understand that Greece is a European country and that non-European labor models cannot be imposed on it.

In a related development, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Tsipras asked the Fund “to stand by Greece” in its third bailout program.

“To commit to Greece, as the Greek prime minister has requested, in addition to reforms, the debt should be sustainable,” Lagarde told French newspaper Le Parisien in an interview.

WSJ: America Can’t Escape the Debt Vortex: Total obligations … hit 370% of GDP

The Wall Street Journal on ‘credit bubbles’:

  • Credit bubbles usually pop at some point and the consequences aren’t pretty
  • The stock-market crash of 1929 followed a credit boom, and so did the crash of 2008
  • In both cases, Washington overreacted, producing a 10-year depression in the 1930s and a weak recovery after the 2009 recession
The piece goes on (this is a summary, link to the full piece below), bolding mine:
Lacy Hunt, an economist with Hoisington Investment, estimated at a recent conference held by Grant’s Interest Rate Observer that debt of all kinds in the U.S. now totals more than $69 trillion. That’s more than double the $30 trillion recorded by Fed statisticians as recently as 2000. If the Hunt figure is correct, then total debt is now about 370% of GDP, up from 294% in 2000.
The article concludes:
  • There isn’t much the Fed can do about this except make it worse
  • Nor is there much that Mr. Trump can do except make it worse. But he seems intent on that-threatening trade wars against America’s biggest trading partners. If the president blocks their ability to earn dollars, he diminishes their ability to bail us, and themselves, out of the global debt slough. The past decade of government and Fed profligacy is not his fault, but that still isn’t an argument for recklessness. If this ends in tears, Mr. Trump will get the blame.

North Korea Warns US-South Korea “Maneuvers” Are “Driving [World] Towards Nuclear Disaster”

Update: North Korea warned Monday that U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which it called “the most undisguised nuclear war maneuvers,” are driving the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia toward “nuclear disaster.” The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. is using nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, nuclear strategic bombers and stealth fighters in the joint exercises that began Wednesday. “It may go over to an actual war,” Ja warned of the military drills, “and, consequently, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war.” 

“Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force tasked to strike the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

 “In the hearts of artillerymen … there was burning desire to mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers going ahead with their joint war exercises,” KCNA said.

 “He (Kim) ordered the KPA Strategic Force to keep highly alert as required by the grim situation in which an actual war may break out any time, and get fully ready to promptly move, take positions and strike so that it can open fire to annihilate the enemies.”

The letter was sent a few hours after North Korea fired four banned ballistic missiles. Ja said the main reason North Korea is equipping itself “with nuclear attack capabilities” and strengthening its nuclear deterrent forces is in self-defense against what he called the U.S. “extreme anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmails as well as maneuvers to enforce its nuclear weapons.”

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I-T plan to tax sailors to hit Forex

The proposal of the Income-Tax authorities to tax Indian sea farers who remit their salaries earned abroad to India could cost the country a drop in foreign exchange.

There are 1,30,000 Indian seafarers working abroad and they remit around $35-40 million annually. These seafarers were so far exempted from paying tax on their remittances if they stay 182 days in India.

But the Kolkata bench of the I-T appellate tribunal recently held these seafarers are liable to pay taxes on receipt basis because the foreign employer on  the instruction of the seafarer remitted the salary to his NRE account in India.

The Centre’s ‘Maritime Agenda 2020’ as well as stakeholders of the maritime industry envisages the global share of Indian seafarers should increase to 9 per cent from the current 7 per cent. This could be in jeopardy if the tax authorities implement the decision of the court, said Capt Kamal Chaddha, former mariner and now MD of Marix Media.