Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ukraine, China, and Obamacare Drag us Down

The Ukraine

The markets reacted quite negatively to the invasion of Crimea (in the southernmost tip of Ukraine) by Russian forces.  But they returned to normal about 3 days later, when Putin made promises that he wouldn't be using any military forces in the Ukraine. 

It looks, on the surface, like the sudden alarm throughout the rest of the world has caused him to reconsider, and he is back pedaling. After all, the impact on Russian markets has been pretty dramatic, and Putin has been making overtures like he is backing down, even claiming the troops in Crimea aren't Russian at all.
Putin, speaking at a news conference at his residence outside Moscow on Tuesday, denied that the troops guarding Ukrainian military installations across Crimea were regular Russian troops, claiming that they were "local self-defense forces." Many of the uniforms on those troops lack identifying insignia, but their vehicles and uniforms appear to be Russian. Putin shrugged the accusation off, saying "The post-Soviet space is full of such uniforms."
Make no mistake Putin, former KGB isn't backing down.  He is playing a global chess game with us, and likely has figured his next three moves every step of the way.

China and Copper

China has been changing their statistics and forecasts about as often as the weather changes.  Recently, they noted some "softness" in their manufacturing sector that they are seeking to "fine tune." Hogwash. Manufacturing in China has been slowing for some time, and absolutely must slow more before recovery can begin.  In the past couple of years, the Chinese economy has been hollowing out, with bad loans, and building that have been built that no one is occupying.

One noticeable effect of the manufacturing slowdown has been the price of copper, which has been slowly losing ground for the past couple of years, especially in light of the cost of energy.  Since European manufacturing has been flat, and US manufacturing has risen slightly, the only explanation must be a slowdown elsewhere.  Elsewhere in this case has been India and China.

Obamacare and the mid term elections

Obama has been backpedaling on his Unaffordable Care Atrocity for some time now, and with the mid term elections approaching, expect more backpedaling and 'nuancing' (lying).  Already this program has put hundreds of thousands out of full time employment and cause cuts in hours to hundreds of thousands more. It has caused the loss of medical insurance to millions, and increases in rates to almost everyone else. The administration's PR machine keeps trotting out fictitious numbers of people who have signed up for healthcare, but when checked the numbers don't match anything that can be confirmed by any means.  They seem to be made up out of whole cloth.

Remember though, these are all pretty much ancillary news items. The really important numbers (private employment and manufacturing payroll) will be out on Friday.

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