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Member since: Tue May 13, 2014, 06:50 PM
Number of posts: 5,114

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DOW 26462

Previous close 26597. 52 wk high 26951. 52 wk low 21912. Today's low 26310 High 26536.

NASDAQ : 8118 ▲

S&P : 2926 ▼

Soybeans : 8.58 ▲

Netanyahu gambles on Trump against Iran

The war waged between Israel and the United States and Iran is rapidly approaching its final stages. The time frame everyone is focusing on is November 2020, when the American presidential elections will take place. The Iranians pray that the Democrats will win and that the new president will return to the nuclear agreement, as this would remove President Donald Trump’s sanctions that are strangling the Iranian economy. Israel prays for the reverse scenario: Trump’s continued rule is vital to the implementation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grand plan. According to Netanyahu’s aspired scenario, Iran will either renounce its nuclear arms dream or exchange the ayatollah rulership. (Actually, Netanyahu hopes and prays that both of these things happen.)

According to intelligence sources, the United States has a contingency action plan should the IRGC attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz. “It is impossible to close this strait hermetically,” another senior Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “A world power could open a route or a sea lane in the strait, without too much effort.” The question remains whether the Iranians have the mettle to carry out such a blatant act, in express defiance of the United States and its allies. We will get an answer in the course of the current year.

The most difficult question as far as Israel is concerned is what will happen if Trump loses the elections. Netanyahu scored numerous achievements in anti-Iranian policy and in recruiting Trump to the Israeli side. However, in doing so, he also turned American support for Israel from bipartisan support to mainly Republican support. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates are committed to returning to the nuclear agreement if they are voted into the White House. And, for the first time ever, several of the Democratic candidates did not bother to attend this year’s policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March.

These kinds of preparations for Judgement Day are not limited to Israel: People in other Middle Eastern countries are working on alternatives and quick response reactions, in the event that the Iranians do nuclearize. For example, Saudi Arabia has greatly ratcheted up its nuclear activities recently in the nuclear research domain as well as in the military domain. In fact, the nuclear issue has aroused much worry not only in Israel (and neighboring countries), but also in a number of Western capitals.

Forget oil sanctions, end of nuclear cooperation waivers could quietly kill Iran deal

US national security adviser John Bolton and a group of hawkish lawmakers in Congress are agitating for the Trump administration to cancel three key waivers issued in November 2018, when the United States reimposed secondary sanctions on Iran. These waivers pertain to technical work on Iran’s civil nuclear program required under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and cover activities at three sites: Fordow, Arak and Bushehr. The aim of this cooperation is to jointly work toward significantly reducing proliferation risks.

A decision to revoke the waivers for civil nuclear cooperation would constitute perhaps the most direct US assault on the JCPOA to date. For this reason, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other figures in the Trump administration, worried about political blowback, have been arguing for their continuation, with European governments lobbying the United States aggressively on the issue. Note, however, that even with the present waivers in place, it is apparent that implementation of the nuclear cooperation has been faltering. Revocation of the waivers would have further and grave consequences for the future of the JCPOA.

In this sense, the waiver dilemma demonstrates that the parties to the JCPOA — including, unwittingly, Iran itself — left a critical area of implementation, one related to the maintenance of sovereign rights, dependent on commercial enterprises, which are inherently vulnerable to secondary sanctions. For this reason, those in the Trump administration calling for the revocation of the waivers know that they have likely found the JCPOA’s fatal flaw. The remaining parties to the JCPOA have been proven unable to effectively withstand America’s extraterritorial sanctions for the sake of their own economic sovereignty. But with the nuclear waivers in the crosshairs, the urgency of withstanding US pressure is about far more than just protecting business interests — it is about preventing a possible proliferation crisis.

South Korea suffers surprise negative growth in Q1

South Korea’s first-quarter GDP fell -0.3% since the last quarter, largely due to reduced government spending, but also because of sluggish capital investment and exports.

The Bank of Korea announced the decline on Thursday – a fall of -0.3% from the previous quarter – the worst quarter-on-quarter figure since 2008. However, GDP grew 1.8% from the same period last year.

Overall GDP growth for 2019 was expected to be 2.5% – a figure that was downgraded from 2.6% earlier this month by the central bank.

DOW 26597

Previous close 26656. 52 wk high 26951. 52 wk low 21912. Today's low 26582. High 26680

NASDAQ : 8102 ▼

S&P : 2927 ▼

Soybeans : 8.55 ▼

DOW 26656

Previous close 26384. 52 wk high 26951. 52 wk low 21712. Today's low 26503. High 26695.

NASDAQ : 8120 ▲

S&P : 2933 ▲

Soybeans : 8.62 ▼

Very good day for the markets

DOW 26511

Previous close 26559. 52 wk high 26951. 52 wk low 21712. Today's low 26458. High 26553.

NASDAQ : 8015 ▲

S&P : 2907 ▲

Soybeans : 8.78 ▼

Next Phase in Trucking Boom-Bust Cycle Has Started

This is one of the most cyclical industries, with legendary boom-and-bust cycles: Orders for Class-8 trucks plunged 67% in March compared to March last year, to 15,200 orders, the lowest March for orders since 2010, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence. These are the heavy trucks that haul consumer goods, equipment, commodities, and supplies across the US. This plunge comes after orders had already plunged 58% year-over-year in February and January and 43% in December.

The industry is notorious for over-ordering, which then, once these trucks are built, leads to overcapacity, at which point freight rates take a hit. Trucking companies see this coming and slash their orders in advance. Hence the bust that inevitably follows the boom.

The national average line haul spot rate, including fuel surcharges, for van trailers in March dropped 13% year-over-year – from $2.15 per mile to $1.86 per mile, according to DAT.

The dropping line haul rates and rising trucking capacity – after the spike in rates and the capacity panic last year – provides some relief for shippers, such as industrial companies or retailers that had been complaining in their earnings reports about freight rates and shipping bottlenecks.

But given how this has worked out in the past, it is more likely that this historic boom in orders is turning to actual trucks on the road with impeccable timing just when demand from shippers is slowing, and then “overcapacity” will do its magic once again.

What J.B. Hunt Just Said About the U-Turn in Trucking

Freight shipment volume in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in March fell 1% from last year, according to the Cass Freight Index. It was the fourth month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the first declines since the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016.

The Cass Freight Index tracks shipments of goods for the consumer and industrial economy by all modes of transportation but does not cover shipments of bulk commodities, such as grains or chemicals.

Intermodal shipment volumes were down 7% in January, were down 6% in February, and were down 7% in March, he said and there has been no post-bad-weather recovery so far.

The Cass Freight Index for Expenses shows this trend. It covers spending on all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – and includes fuel surcharges. It reflects the total amount spent by shippers. It reached a historic peak last September. So far this year, it has been tracking 5.5% to 7.5% higher than last year as the total amount spent by shippers is getting pushed up by higher freight rates and fuel surcharges, despite dropping shipment volume — on the theme that shippers spend more to ship less:

DOW 26559

Previous close 26449. 52 wk high 26951. 52 wk low 21712. Today's low 26444. High 26602.

NASDAQ : 7998 ▲

S&P : 2905 ▲

Soybeans : 8.81 ▲
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