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A Short Story that Describes Imaginary Events and People of Worldwide Calamities and the Aftermath (the 2nd Edition)
The following story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this post are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. However, the LINKS to real-life events and inspiring sources are placed here and there throughout the story. -------- Truth is the Only Light -------- INTRO ☞ [As of 2019] there are plenty of reasons to think the Chinese system will implode spectacularly without Japanese feeling the need to do a thing. — Peter Zaihan, Disunited Nations (Mar 03, 2020) It's apparent that two nations have been engaged in a high-stakes military & economy arms race. The current US admin has been hitting China with waves of tariffs, but that was merely a small part of what's actually going on.         On Oct 11, 2019, when they reached a tentative agreement for the first phase of a trade deal, the fact that China made the concession actually made my jaw drop. From where I sit, it was a worrisome scene. Aren't people saying, when challenging situations are bottled up, they will just grow and mutate into another terrible complications? Admittedly I was not certain how they are going to adhere to the agreement: It left most of the US tariffs (on China's exports) in place, and at the same time, came with an additional USD $200 Billion burden for China over the next two years. This agreement might seem a bit insignificant, but now China would need to purchase almost twice the size of the US products & services they did before the trade war began. With their current economic climate? I murmured, "No way." While watching Trump brag and boast around with said agreement, I expected China would soon come out and fling some improvised excuses in order to delay the document-signing process. It wouldn't be their first time. More importantly, even if China does so, there wouldn't be many (real) counterattack options left for the Trump admin during this year, the US presidential election year. Then, on Jan 16, 2020, the world’s two largest economies actually signed a partial trade agreement aimed at putting the brakes on an 18-month trade war. China would almost surely not sit down but come back to bite, I thought. Enter the worldwide chaos following so called the COVID-19 outbreak. -------- BACKGROUND ☞ Globalists have been heavily investing in China's economy and its components overseas. • Here are a couple of well known names: the Great Old One; George Soros; Koos Bekker; and Bill Gates. • For the sake of convenience, from here on, let's call these globalists, who are foreign investors in China's top tier state-owned/sponsored/controlled enterprises, Team-Z. • Team-Z has adopted big time lackeys like Henry Kissinger or small time ones like Larry Summers, Stephen Hadley, or Bill Browder as matchmakers to court Team-Z for China's top tier enterprises. When Israel's highest echelons chimed in, it has been through Israeli IT companies and the BRI projects. • Naturally, multinational investment banks have also been employed; such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), UBS Group AG (formerly Union Bank of Switzerland), Blackstone Group, Canaccord Genuity, BlackRock, Hermitage, or Mirae Asset. ☞ Note: The Great Old One didn't use any matchmakers, something peasants would need. Because the Great Old One's power level is over 9000. • China's Shanghai clique used to keep the nation's state-sponsored enterprises under their firm grip: Enterprises such as Alibaba Group, Tencent, Baidu, Wanda Group, HNA Group, Anbang Group, Evergrande Group, CEFC Energy and Huawei, all of which Team-Z has massively invested in. • Here is how Shanghai clique and Team-Z, esp. Bill Gates, started to get together:[LINK] • However, in the name of anti-corruption campaign, Xi Jinping & his Princelings have been taking those businesses away from Shanghai clique's hand, and transforming those state-sponsored private enterprises into the state-owned enterprises, declaring the 國進民退 movement. • Slaying Shanghai clique's control =       • 國進民退 + Slaying Shanghai clique's control = [A] [B] [C] • Xi's reign didn't arrive today without challenges though: the BRI projects' poor outcome has frustrated Israel's great expectations. And since the US-China trade war has started, the problems of China's economic systems started to surface, not to mention China's economy has long been decaying. • Coupled with the US-China trade war, the current US admin has been trying to block Huawei from accessing the international financial systems that the US can influence, as well as the US banking systems. This is a good time to remind you again that Bill Gates has had a very close-knit relationship with Huawei. -------- TRADE WAR & INTERNET-BASED COMPANIES ☞ It's the trade war, but why were internet-based companies such as Tencent and Baidu suffering losses? Answer: The state-sponsored companies like Tencent, Baidu, or Huawei have heavily invested in international trade and commodity markets, which are easily influenced by aspects that IMF interest rates, the US sanctions, or trade war can create. Example: Let's say, Tencent invests in a Tehran-based ride-hailing company. Then, through said ride-hailing company, Tencent invests in Iran's petroleum industry. Now, China's most valuable IT company is in international petrochemical trade. The business is going to make great strides until the US imposes trade embargoes oand economic sanctions against Iran. -------- TL;DR China's economy going down = Team-Z losing an astronomical amount of money. ★ Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018 ★ "Gentlemen, you guys might want to do something before it's too bloody late, no? Hisspeechlast night was .... (sniggers) Mr. Gates, now is as good a time as any. Mr.Soros, hm, don't look at melikethat." ".... But," "Yes, Mr. Soros, yourHNAis going down, too. .... Ah,Schwarzmanxiansheng, we're very sorry to learn about Blackstone'sIran&SinopecChinasituation. So, we're guessing, you'd be happy to join Mr. Gates's operation, yes? Of course, We already contactedKissingerxiansheng. ....Okaythen,Gentlemen?" • Now you can take a guess why George Soros has recently been sending out confusing messages regarding Xi Jinping. • Wait, how about Wuhan Institute of Virology? Doesn't this story concern the COVID-19 outbreak? Is the Wuhan Institute also associated with Shanghai clique? Yes, indeed. Here's How Wuhan Institute of Virology and Shanghai Clique are related:[LINK] -------- EIGHT OBJECTIVES ☞ Calling for the tide to be turned, Team-Z and Shanghai clique started to devise the plan. The objectives are: ① By shutting down international trade, crashing world economy, and exploiting its aftermath, the plan should produce an outcome letting Team-Z earn back their loss from the trade war & the US sanctions, and collect additional profits from China's BRI projects & stock markets worldwide, including the US stock markets. • Don't forget this: This point number ① also concerns the developing nations on the BRI with the large deposits of natural resources that Team-Z has invested in through China. If everything comes together nicely, Team-Z will pick up trillions of dollars from those nations alone as if they are light as a feather. Ironically this will reinforce the BRI project governance and mitigate fraud & corruption risks inherent to the international development projects. ② By utilizing the aftermath in the US, a new US administration consisted of pro-Beijing personnels should be fostered at the 2020 election. In a worst-case scenario, the aftermath should be abused enough to make Robert Lighthizer to leave the admin. Mr. Mnuchin could stay. ③ Sometime next year, the phase one trade deal must be reassessed with the new US admin. The reassessment should help China take the upper-hand at the second phase trade talk. ④ The pandemic crisis should yield a situation which allows China to delay the payments for its state-firm offshore debts. With the point number ①, this will give China a breathing room to manage its steadily-fallen forex reserves. ⑤ Since their current turf (in China) is education industry & medical science industry, Shanghai clique will have no issue with earning hefty profits by managing China's export of medical equipments & health care products which can be supplied worldwide mainly by China. People in the west will bent the knees for the clique's support. ☞ Regarding Jiang Zemin's son and medical science industry in China [LINK] ⑥ The outcome should weaken Xi & his Princelings' political power considerably in favour of Shanghai clique & Team-Z. This will let Jiang's Shanghai clique (A) reclaim some of political status & business interest controls they have lost to Xi & his Princelings. • And once this point number ⑥, with the point number ② , is realized, it would be much easier for the clique to (B) recover their huge assets hidden overseas that the current US admin or Xi & his Princelings have frozen. ⑦ Combining good old bribery with sex, the outcome should support China to re-secure control over the US governors. Once the plan is executed successfully, those governors would desperately need solutions to local economic problems and unemployment. ⑧ Lastly, implementing an e-ID system in the US similar to Beijing's Alipay and WeChat could be the cherry on top of the operation's entire outcomes. Who's supporting such a system worldwide? None other than Microsoft and Rockefeller Foundation. ಠ_ಠ -------- OLD COMRADE BECOMES A NEW RECRUIT ☞ They were afraid more talents were needed. The main target was the world’s largest economy with the most powerful military capability, after all. They ended up asking Mr. Fridman to see Lord Putin about that. The old Vova was going through a lot nowadays, people said. It could be because his nation's energy business to Europeseems to be hitting wall after wall. He is said to have enough on his plate with no end in sight, so maybe he'll join. ★ Monday, Jan 15, 2018 ★ "(pours a drink for himself) I know, but. ... What would happen if Bashar falls? How long you think you can keep it up? .... Erdogan is many things (sniggers) but he's nevergentle. (sips his drink slowly) WhenBenji'sEastMed Pipeline starts to actively compete, then what? They got the Chinamoneynow. ....Vagitand his buddies will be very unhappy. You know that. Not great, Vova." "...." "Ah, you mean what are we going to do? Hm? Hm. I'll tell you what we're going to do. This time, we're going to bankrupt the US shale gas sector. Then, of course, we can maybe convince Benji to take their time with the pipeline. Perhaps for good. (sips his drink slowly) Don't worry, Vova, It'll work. You worry too much. We'll come out the other side stronger." "So, how long until they set it off? "Hahaa, yes. They'll soon put all things in place. While marching in place, they'll play the tune a couple of months before the next sochelnik." "Nearly 20 months to brace things here, then?" "(nod slowly in happiness) Hm. Оторви́сь там, оттопы́рься, Vova" -------- USEFUL IDIOTS ☞ When the directive came, these idiots answered claiming they would be gladly "on it." All in the name of rejuvenating China's economy without grasping the real objective prevailing throughout the entire operation. Thing is, they would never realize what they are to Team-Z & their Asian overlord until it’s too late. Who are they? It's A and B, not A or B: (A) the American corporations that are too big to fail and have suffered a considerable loss because of the US-China trade war. Among those corporations, (B) the ones that have been structured with massive interest-profit relationships in/with China. "We need China in order for the US as a nation to continue being prosper," they've been shouting. No surprise there, because they've enjoyed the strides of extraordinary profits over the years while the US middle class has continued to shrink. But, in 2019 when China's stock markets nosedived for the first time since 2015 and China's authorities in financial stability & resiliency fumbled their response; it wiped that smile off their face. Still, they'll keep behaving not to offend their Asian overlord, nonetheless. -------- PERFECT PLAN ☞ Many crucial components had to come into play all at once in order to cause World War I. If one of the components were missing or different, it is unlikely that the World War I as we know of could be produced. ① The US in 2019: Overbought bubbles + Over borrowed corporations ② The US in 2020: It's an Election Year. ③ Russia has been dumping US Treasuries for the past few years. ④ Russia has been hoarding golds as if they were recreating Inca Empire. ⑤ China in 2019: Immense & long term financial troubles has started to surface. ⑥ China in 2020: The phase-one deal has been signed; leaving most of tariffs on China intact and adding another $200 Billion burden for China. ⑦ Team-Z sets up a situation in the US where some event(s) would freeze the US supply chains & demand for the next three to ten months. • Just like the 9/11, the event will be initiated at the clique's own region. However, unlike in China, the US will report multiple epicentres simultaneously. • And the CDC and the US medical task force will carry on with a number of sabotage acts, to secure enough time for the infected yet untested in those US epicentres to spread plenty.    • Here's a feasible timeline of the operation. ⑧ Then, the BOOM: Team-Z (a) manipulates the markets to make sure MM will have liquidity concerns (b) when they need it most. The (c) bottomed out oil price will be an enforcement, which will also wreck the US energy sector as a kicker. The (d) WHO will also join as a disinformation campaign office. • Then a couple of big name investment managers will lead a movement that (will try to) bring back foreign money back to China.   • Meanwhile, in US, the disinformation campaign will continue to be pushed until the second wave of attack arrives. -------- MEASURABLE SHORT-TERM OUTCOME ☞ We're now going through World War III. The global structure laid down by World War II had been shaken by globalization and the rise of China. This pandemic event will shock the structure further. Human history will be divided into Before 2021 and After 2021. ① Outcome pt. 1: Immediate Aftermath [pt.1] [pt.2] ② Outcome pt. 2: The US economy goes deep dive along with world economy, and the only thing Team-Z has to do is to exploit the aftermath which has been thoroughly calculated and eagerly anticipated. — Favoured assessment: There won't be a V curve ever, unless drastic measures taken within the timeframe of four months. Unprecedented market crash, the rapid unemployment acceleration because of the supply-chain shut down, and the near-death security which in turn forces consumer confidence to plummet. We're looking at a super long L shape curve unless the US prepares fast for the second wave of their asymmetric warfare. ③ Outcome pt. 3: Arguably the most important outcome. — Because of the unprecedented shutdown of international trade, the nations heavily rely on exporting natural resources will face the extreme financial threats. What if some of those are emerging markets AND massively in debt to China? What do you think China would do to said nations while the aftermath is hitting the globe hard? [PDF] Something comparable to Latin American Debt Crisis will happen. ④ Outcome pt. 4: Not that significant compared to the others but still notable outcome. — The world will need Shanghai clique's help to get medical products and equipments. -------- WHAT'S NEXT? ☞ Several analysts have discussed off the record that next it'd be a proxy warfare not using armed conflicts but with spreading a galaxy of counterfeit-currency across every possible channels. Coincidently, on Dec 13, 2017, Business Insider reported in an article "A $100 counterfeit 'supernote' found in South Korea could have been made in North Korea" that:
"It was the first of a new kind of supernote ever found in the world," Lee Ho-Joong, head of KEB Hana Bank's anti-counterfeit centre told Agence France-Presse.
Reporting the same news, The Telegraph published an article on Dec 11, 2017:
"It seems that whoever printed these supernotes has the facilities and high level of technology matching that of a government", said Lee Ho-jung, a bank spokesman from KEB Hana Bank in South Korea. "They are made with special ink that changes colour depending on the angle, patterned paper and Intaglio printing that gives texture to the surface of a note".
Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.
This article is taken from the Wall Street Journal written about nine months ago and sits behind a a paywall, so I decided to copy and paste it here. This article explains Trump's policies toward global trade and what has actually happened so far. I think the article does a decent job of explaining the Trade War. While alot has happenedsince the article was written, I still think its relevant. However, what is lacking in the article, like many articles on the trade war, is it doesn't really explain the history of US trade policy, the laws that the US administration is using to place tariffs on China and the official justification for the US President in enacting tariffs against China. In my analysis I will cover those points.
When Trump entered the White House people feared he would dismantle the global system the US and its allies had built over the last 75 years, but he hasn't. He has realign into two systems. One between the US and its allies which looks similar to the one built since the 1980s with a few of quota and tariffs. As the article points out
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos. Furthermore, the article points out Douglas Irwin, an economist and trade historian at Dartmouth College, calls these results the “status quo with Trumpian tweaks: a little more managed trade sprinkled about for favored industries. It’s not good, but it’s not the destruction of the system.” Mr. Trump’s actions so far affect only 12% of U.S. imports, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In 1984, 21% of imports were covered by similar restraints, many imposed by Mr. Reagan, such as on cars, steel, motorcycles and clothing. Protectionist instincts go so far in the US, there are strong lobby groups for both protectionist and freetrade in the US.
The second reflects a emerging rivalry between the US and China. Undo some of the integration that followed China accession to the WTO. Two questions 1) How far is the US willing to decouple with China 2) Can it persuade allies to join.
The second is going to be difficult because China's economic ties are greater than they were between the Soviets, and China isn't waging an ideological struggle. Trump lacks Reagan commitment to alliance and free trade. The status quo with China is crumbling Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska, personifies these broader forces reshaping the U.S. approach to the world. When Mr. Xi visited the U.S. in 2015, Mr. Sullivan urged his colleagues to pay more attention to China’s rise. On the Senate floor, he quoted the political scientist Graham Allison: “War between the U.S. and China is more likely than recognized at the moment.” Last spring, Mr. Sullivan went to China and met officials including Vice President Wang Qishan. They seemed to think tensions with the U.S. will fade after Mr. Trump leaves the scene, Mr. Sullivan recalled. “I just said, ‘You are completely misreading this.’” The mistrust, he told them, is bipartisan, and will outlast Mr. Trump. both Bush II and Obama tried to change dialogue and engagement, but by the end of his term, Obama was questioning the approach. Trump has declared engagement. “We don’t like it when our allies steal our ideas either, but it’s a much less dangerous situation,” said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute whose views align with the administration’s more hawkish officials. “We’re not worried about the war-fighting capability of Japan and Korea because they’re our friends.”
The article also points out unlike George Kennan in 1946 who made a case for containing the Soviet Union, the US hasn't explicitly made a case for containing the Soviets, Trump's administration hasn't, because as the the article explains its divided Michael Pillsbury a Hudson Institute scholar close to the Trump team, see 3 scenarios
New Cold War with drastically reduced economic ties
China resolve their tensions, integrate and run the world together
Transactional US-China relationship of the sort during the 1980s
Pillsbury thinks the third is most likely to happen, even though the administration hasn't said that it has adopted that policy. The US is stepping efforts to draw in other trading partners. The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO effort to crack down on domestic subsidies and technology transfers requirement. US and Domestic concerns with prompted some countries to restrict Huawei. The US is also seeking to walloff China from other trade deals. However, there are risk with this strategy
Other countries like Japan and South Korea to dependent on China. Too integrated.
Raise objections to Belt and Road. But no alternative
My main criticism of this article is it tries like the vast majority of articles to fit US trade actions in the larger context of US geopolitical strategy. Even the author isn't certain "The first goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s goal. If his aim is to hold back China’s advance, economists predict he will fail.". If you try to treat the trade "war" and US geopolitical strategy toward China as one, you will find yourself quickly frustrated and confused. If you treat them separately with their different set of stakeholders and histories, were they intersect with regards to China, but diverge. During the Cold War, trade policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc was subordinated to geopolitical concerns. For Trump, the trade issues are more important than geopolitical strategy. His protectionist trade rhetoric has been fairly consistent since 1980s. In his administration, the top cabinet members holding economic portfolios, those of Commerce, Treasury and US Trade Representative are the same people he picked when he first took office. The Director of the Economic Council has changed hands once, its role isn't as important as the National Security Advisor. While State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor have changed hands at least once. Only the Director of National Intelligence hasn't changed. International Trade makes up 1/4 of the US economy, and like national security its primarily the responsibility of the Federal government. States in the US don't implement their own tariffs. If you add the impact of Treasury policy and how it relates to capital flows in and out of the US, the amounts easily exceed the size of the US economy. Furthermore, because of US Dollar role as the reserve currency and US control of over global system the impact of Treasury are global. Trade policy and investment flows runs through two federal departments Commerce and Treasury and for trade also USTR. Defense spending makes up 3.3% of GDP, and if you add in related homeland security its at most 4%. Why would anyone assume that these two realms be integrated let alone trade policy subordinate to whims of a national security bureaucracy in most instances? With North Korea or Iran, trade and investment subordinate themselves to national security, because to Treasury and Commerce bureaucrats and their affiliated interest groups, Iran and the DPRK are well, economic midgets, but China is a different matter. The analysis will be divided into four sections. The first will be to provide a brief overview of US trade policy since 1914. The second section will discuss why the US is going after China on trade issues, and why the US has resorted using a bilateral approach as opposed to going through the WTO. The third section we will talk about how relations with China is hashed out in the US. The reason why I submitted this article, because there aren't many post trying to explain US-China Trade War from a trade perspective. Here is a post titled "What is the Reasons for America's Trade War with China, and not one person mentioned Article 301 or China's WTO Commitments. You get numerous post saying that Huawei is at heart of the trade war. Its fine, but if you don't know what was inside the USTR Investigative report that lead to the tariffs. its like skipping dinner and only having dessert When the US President, Donald J Trump, says he wants to negotiate a better trade deal with other countries, and has been going on about for the last 35 years, longer than many of you have been alive, why do people think that the key issues with China aren't primarily about trade at the moment.
OVERVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE ORIENTATION
Before 1940s, the US could be categorized as a free market protectionist economy. For many this may seem like oxymoron, how can an economy be free market and protectionist? In 1913, government spending made up about 7.5% of US GDP, in the UK it was 13%, and for Germany 18% (Public Spending in the 20th Century A Global Perspective: Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi - 2000). UK had virtual zero tariffs, while for manufactured goods in France it was 20%, 13% Germany, 9% Belgium and 4% Netherlands. For raw materials and agricultural products, it was almost zero. In contrast, for the likes of United States, Russia and Japan it was 44%, 84% and 30% respectively. Even though in 1900 United States was an economic powerhouse along with Germany, manufactured exports only made up 30% of exports, and the US government saw tariffs as exclusively a domestic policy matter and didn't see tariffs as something to be negotiated with other nations. The US didn't have the large constituency to push the government for lower tariffs abroad for their exports like in Britain in the 1830-40s (Reluctant Partners: A History of Multilateral Trade Cooperation, 1850-2000). The Underwood Tariffs Act of 1913 which legislated the income tax, dropped the tariffs to 1850 levels levels.Until 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 making income tax legal, all US federal revenue came from excise and tariffs. In contrast before 1914, about 50% of UK revenue came from income taxes. The reason for US reluctance to introduced income tax was ideological and the United State's relative weak government compared to those in Europe. After the First World War, the US introduced the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921, than the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 followed by a Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. Contrary to popular opinion, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 had a small negative impact on the economy, since imports and exports played a small part of the US economy, and the tariffs were lower than the average that existed from 1850-1914. Immediately after the Second World War, when the US economy was the only industrialized economy left standing, the economic focus was on rehabilitation and monetary stability. There was no grandiose and ideological design. Bretton Woods system linked the US dollar to gold to create monetary stability, and to avoid competitive devaluation and tariffs that plagued the world economy after Britain took itself off the gold in 1931. The US$ was the natural choice, because in 1944 2/3 of the world's gold was in the US. One reason why the Marshall Plan was created was to alleviate the chronic deficits Europeans countries had with the US between 1945-50. It was to rebuild their economies so they could start exports good to the US. Even before it was full implemented in 1959, it was already facing problems, the trade surpluses that the US was running in the 1940s, turned to deficits as European and Japanese economies recovered. By 1959, Federal Reserves foreign liabilities had already exceeded its gold reserves. There were fears of a run on the US gold supply and arbitrage. A secondary policy of the Bretton woods system was curbs on capital outflows to reduce speculation on currency pegs, and this had a negative impact on foreign investment until it was abandoned in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s, where foreign investment recovered to levels prior to 1914. Factoring out the big spike in global oil prices as a result of the OPEC cartel, it most likely wasn't until the mid-1990s that exports as a % of GDP had reached 1914 levels. Until the 1980s, the US record regarding free trade and markets was mediocre. The impetus to remove trade barriers in Europe after the Second World War was driven by the Europeans themselves. The EEC already had a custom union in 1968, Canada and the US have yet to even discuss implementing one. Even with Canada it took the US over 50 years to get a Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was inspired by the success of the EEC. NAFTA was very much an elite driven project. If the Americans put the NAFTA to a referendum like the British did with the EEC in the seventies, it most likely wouldn't pass. People often look at segregation in the US South as a political issue, but it was economic issue as well. How could the US preach free trade, when it didn't have free trade in its own country. Segregation was a internal non-tariff barrier. In the first election after the end of the Cold War in 1992, Ross Perot' based most of independent run for the Presidency on opposition to NAFTA. He won 19% of the vote. Like Ross Perot before him, Donald Trump is not the exception in how America has handled tariffs since the founding of the Republic, but more the norm. The embrace of free trade by the business and political elite can be attributed to two events. After the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, a strong vested interest in the US in the form of multinationals and Wall Street emerged advocating for removal of tariffs and more importantly the removal of restrictions on free flow of capital, whether direct foreign investment in portfolio investment. However, the political class embrace of free trade and capital only really took off after the collapse of the Soviet Union propelled by Cold War triumphalism. As mentioned by the article, the US is reverting back to a pre-WTO relations with China. As Robert Lighthizer said in speech in 2000
I guess my prescription, really, is to move back to more of a negotiating kind of a settlement. Return to WTO and what it really was meant to be. Something where you have somebody make a decision but have it not be binding.
The US is using financial and legal instruments developed during the Cold War like its extradition treaties (with Canada and Europe), and Section 301. Here is a very good recent article about enforcement commitment that China will make.‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms NOTE: It is very difficult to talk about US-China trade war without a basic knowledge of global economic history since 1914. What a lot of people do is politicize or subordinate the economic history to the political. Some commentators think US power was just handed to them after the Second World War, when the US was the only industrialized economy left standing. The dominant position of the US was temporary and in reality its like having 10 tonnes of Gold sitting in your house, it doesn't automatically translate to influence. The US from 1945-1989 was slowly and gradually build her influence in the non-Communist world. For example, US influence in Canada in the 1960s wasn't as strong as it is now. Only 50% of Canadian exports went to the US in 1960s vs 80% at the present moment.
BASIS OF THE US TRADE DISCUSSION WITH CHINA
According to preliminary agreement between China and the US based on unnamed sources in the Wall Street Journal article US, China close in on Trade Deal. In this article it divides the deal in two sections. The first aspects have largely to do with deficits and is political.
As part of a deal, China is pledging to help level the playing field, including speeding up the timetable for removing foreign-ownership limitations on car ventures and reducing tariffs on imported vehicles to below the current auto tariff of 15%. Beijing would also step up purchases of U.S. goods—a tactic designed to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.
The second part will involve the following.
Commitment Regarding Industrial Policy
Provisions to protect IP
Mechanism which complaints by US companies can be addressed
Bilateral meetings adjudicate disputes. If talks don't produce agreement than US can raise tariffs unilaterally
China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer.
China conducts and supports cyber intrusions into U.S. commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information.
In the bigger context of trade relations between US and China, China is not honoring its WTO commitments, and the USTR issued its yearly report to Congress in early February about the status of China compliance with its WTO commitments. The points that served as a basis for applying Section 301, also deviate from her commitments as Clinton's Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky paving the way for a trade war. Barshefsky argues that China's back sliding was happening as early as 2006-07, and believes the trade war could have been avoided has those commitments been enforced by previous administrations. I will provide a brief overview of WTO membership and China's process of getting into the WTO. WTO members can be divided into two groups, first are countries that joined in 1995-97, and were members of GATT, than there are the second group that joined after 1997. China joined in 2001. There is an argument that when China joined in 2001, she faced more stringent conditions than other developing countries that joined before, because the vast majority of developing countries were members of GATT, and were admitted to the WTO based on that previous membership in GATT. Here is Brookings Institute article published in 2001 titled "Issues in China’s WTO Accession"
This question is all the more puzzling because the scope and depth of demands placed on entrants into the formal international trading system have increased substantially since the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994, which expanded the agenda considerably by covering many services, agriculture, intellectual property, and certain aspects of foreign direct investment. Since 1994, the international community has added agreements covering information technology, basic telecommunications services, and financial services. WTO membership now entails liberalization of a much broader range of domestic economic activity, including areas that traditionally have been regarded by most countries as among the most sensitive, than was required of countries entering the WTO’s predecessor organization the GATT. The terms of China’s protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization reflect the developments just described and more. China’s market access commitments are much more far-reaching than those that governed the accession of countries only a decade ago. And, as a condition for membership, China was required to make protocol commitments that substantially exceed those made by any other member of the World Trade Organization, including those that have joined since 1995. The broader and deeper commitments China has made inevitably will entail substantial short-term economic costs.
What are the WTO commitments Barshefsky goes on about? When countries join the WTO, particularly those countries that weren't members of GATT and joined after 1997, they have to work toward fulfilling certain commitments. There are 4 key documents when countries make an accession to WTO membership, the working party report, the accession protocol paper, the goods schedule and service schedule. In the working party report as part of the conclusion which specifies the commitment of each member country what they will do in areas that aren't compliant with WTO regulations on the date they joined. The problem there is no good enforcement mechanism for other members to force China to comply with these commitments. And WTO punishments are weak. Here is the commitment paragraph for China "The Working Party took note of the explanations and statements of China concerning its foreign trade regime, as reflected in this Report. The Working Party took note of the commitments given by China in relation to certain specific matters which are reproduced in paragraphs 18-19, 22-23, 35-36, 40, 42, 46-47, 49, 60, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73, 75, 78-79, 83-84, 86, 91-93, 96, 100-103, 107, 111, 115-117, 119-120, 122-123, 126-132, 136, 138, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152, 154, 157, 162, 165, 167-168, 170-174, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-185, 187, 190-197, 199-200, 203-207, 210, 212-213, 215, 217, 222-223, 225, 227-228, 231-235, 238, 240-242, 252, 256, 259, 263, 265, 270, 275, 284, 286, 288, 291, 292, 296, 299, 302, 304-305, 307-310, 312-318, 320, 322, 331-334, 336, 339 and 341 of this Report and noted that these commitments are incorporated in paragraph 1.2 of the Draft Protocol. " This is a tool by the WTO that list all the WTO commitment of each country in the working paper. In the goods and service schedule they have commitments for particular sectors. Here is the a press release by the WTO in September 2001, after successfully concluding talks for accession, and brief summary of key areas in which China hasn't fulfilled her commitments. Most of the commitments made by China were made to address its legacy as a non-market economy and involvement of state owned enterprises. In my opinion, I think the US government and investors grew increasingly frustrated with China, after 2007 not just because of China's back sliding, but relative to other countries who joined after 1997 like Vietnam, another non-market Leninist dictatorship. When comparing China's commitments to the WTO its best to compare her progress with those that joined after 1997, which were mostly ex-Soviet Republics. NOTE: The Chinese media have for two decades compared any time the US has talked about China's currency manipulation or any other issue as a pretext for imposing tariffs on China to the Plaza Accords. I am very sure people will raise it here. My criticism of this view is fourfold. First, the US targeted not just Japan, but France, Britain and the UK as well. Secondly, the causes of the Japan lost decade were due largely to internal factors. Thirdly, Japan, UK, Britain and France in the 1980s, the Yuan isn't undervalued today. Lastly, in the USTR investigation, its China's practices that are the concern, not so much the trade deficit.
REASONS FOR TRUMPS UNILATERAL APPROACH
I feel that people shouldn't dismiss Trump's unilateral approach toward China for several reasons.
The multilateral approach won't work in many issues such as the trade deficit, commercial espionage and intellectual property, because US and her allies have different interest with regard to these issues. Germany and Japan and trade surpluses with China, while the US runs a deficit. In order to reach a consensus means the West has to compromise among themselves, and the end result if the type of toothless resolutions you commonly find in ASEAN regarding the SCS. Does America want to "compromise" its interest to appease a politician like Justin Trudeau? Not to mention opposition from domestic interest. TPP was opposed by both Clinton and Trump during the election.
You can't launch a geopolitical front against China using a newly formed trade block like the TPP. Some of the existing TPP members are in economic groups with China, like Malaysia and Australia.
China has joined a multitude of international bodies, and at least in trade, these bodies haven't changed its behavior.
Trump was elected to deal with China which he and his supporters believe was responsible for the loss of millions manufacturing jobs when China joined the WTO in 2001. It is estimate the US lost 6 Million jobs, about 1/4 of US manufacturing Jobs. This has been subsequently advanced by some economists. The ball got rolling when Bill Clinton decided to grant China Most Favored Nation status in 1999, just a decade after Tiananmen.
China hasn't dealt with issues like IP protection, market access, subsidies to state own companies and state funded industrial spying.
According to the survey, 39 percent of the country views China’s growing power as a “critical threat” to Americans. That ranked it only eighth among 12 potential threats listed and placed China well behind the perceived threats from international terrorism (66 percent), North Korea’s nuclear program (59 percent) and Iran’s nuclear program (52 percent). It’s also considerably lower than when the same question was asked during the 1990s, when more than half of those polled listed China as a critical threat. That broadly tracks with a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that found concern about U.S.-China economic issues had decreased since 2012.
In looking at how US conducts relations foreign policy with China, we should look at it from the three areas of most concern - economic, national security and ideology. Each sphere has their interest groups, and sometimes groups can occupy two spheres at once. Security experts are concerned with some aspects of China's economic actions like IP theft and industrial policy (China 2025), because they are related to security. In these sphere there are your hawks and dove. And each sphere is dominated by certain interest groups. That is why US policy toward China can often appear contradictory. You have Trump want to reduce the trade deficit, but security experts advocating for restrictions on dual use technology who are buttressed by people who want export restrictions on China, as a way of getting market access. Right now the economic concerns are most dominant, and the hawks seem to dominate. The economic hawks traditionally have been domestic manufacturing companies and economic nationalist. In reality the hawks aren't dominant, but the groups like US Companies with large investment in China and Wall Street are no longer defending China, and some have turned hawkish against China. These US companies are the main conduit in which China's lobby Congress, since China only spends 50% of what Taiwan spends lobbying Congress. THE ANGLO SAXON WORLD AND CHINA I don't think many Chinese even those that speak English, have a good understanding Anglo-Saxon society mindset. Anglo Saxons countries, whether US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are commerce driven society governed by sanctity of contracts. The English great philosophical contributions to Western philosophy have primarily to do with economics and politics like Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. This contrast with the French and Germans. Politics in the UK and to a lesser extent the US, is centered around economics, while in Mainland Europe its religion. When the Americans revolted against the British Empire in 1776, the initial source of the grievances were taxes. Outside of East Asia, the rest of the World's relationship with China was largely commercial, and for United States, being an Anglosaxon country, even more so. In Southeast Asia, Chinese aren't known for high culture, but for trade and commerce. Outside Vietnam, most of Chinese loans words in Southeast Asian languages involve either food or money. The influence is akin to Yiddish in English. Some people point to the Mao and Nixon meeting as great strategic breakthrough and symbol of what great power politics should look like. The reality is that the Mao-Nixon meeting was an anomaly in the long history of relations with China and the West. Much of China-Western relations over the last 500 years was conducted by multitudes of nameless Chinese and Western traders. The period from 1949-1979 was the only period were strategic concerns triumphed trade, because China had little to offer except instability and revolution. Even in this period, China's attempt to spread revolution in Southeast Asia was a threat to Western investments and corporate interest in the region. During the nadir of both the Qing Dynasty and Republican period, China was still engaged in its traditional commercial role. Throughout much of history of their relations with China, the goals of Britain and the United States were primarily economic, IMAGINE JUST 10% OF CHINA BOUGHT MY PRODUCT From the beginning, the allure of China to Western businesses and traders has been its sheer size I. One of the points that the USTR mentions is lack of market access for US companies operating in China, while Chinese companies face much less restrictions operating in the US.
China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box. So while many attribute this shift to the Trump Administration, I do not. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed—by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to the United States but as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the US-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure: In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined the WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic and even opponent of past US policies toward China. American business doesn’t want a tariff war but it does want a more aggressive approach from our government. How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation? The answer lies in the story of stalled competition policy, and the slow pace of opening, over nearly two decades. This has discouraged and fragmented the American business community. And it has reinforced the negative attitudinal shift among our political and expert classes. In short, even though many American businesses continue to prosper in China, a growing number of firms have given up hope that the playing field will ever be level. Some have accepted the Faustian bargain of maximizing today’s earnings per share while operating under restrictions that jeopardize their future competitiveness. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. Nor does it mean they aren’t acutely aware of the risks — or thinking harder than ever before about how to diversify their risks away from, and beyond, China.
What is interesting about Paulson's speech is he spend only one sentence about displaced US workers, and a whole paragraph about US business operating in China. While Kissinger writes books about China, how much does he contribute to both Democrats and the Republicans during the election cycle? China is increasingly makING it more difficult for US companies operating and those exporting products to China.
I'm doing a tribute to the 24 days of Christmas by going over the financial statements of 24 companies that are considered downrange, speculative, and just plain high risk. The legal cannabis industry already has a ton of risk in it - but this stuff - is only for thrill seekers. All opinions are my own, and certainly not a recommendation for or against any of them, or to buy or sell. I've limited myself to 45mins to each, and kept to most recent financial statements You'll likely know more about the company than me if you're following them. This is only my reactions with a brief commentary about what I see in their financial statements. I haven't been consistent in following them all over the past year: some I have, others not. The second one of this year.....is here CMM - Canabo Medical Inc. Scratched! Guess there’s another slot open for a Dive in this year’s Crawl! I did take a run at Aleafia’s financials a few weeks ago though. Their ‘merger’ with Emblem hadn’t yet been announced. Alefia ‘Just Said No’ to cultivation by the looks of it. Best choice for them, at least on the face of it. ISOL - Isodiol International Price Then: $11.50 Price Now: $1.71
Has taken cash and turned it into receivables, inventory, prepaids, and fixed assets. Looking good here.
Except for the $110MM added in goodwill/intangibles. Entrance fee to explore the world of LATAM and vape pens I suppose.
Significant inventory build. 50% margin YTD.
That 50% margin - of $9MM YTD, is supporting $21MM of operating expenses over same period.
Wages and salaries have exploded. As has SBC (which has eclipsed it no less for last period).
As has advertising and promotions. Doesn’t bode well for margin maintenance
Professional fees same. ‘Detonated’ applies as an appropriate adjective as well.
Intangibles/goodwill now 76% of all assets. Up 10%. Less than the rest of G&A is a good thing?
Per Note 19, of the $143MM in these as Canadian assets, they have $0 in revenue attached.
US/UK - far better. Provided that goodwill can be leveraged somewhere…..
Kure Corp eye watering in cost. Hella price to pay for a vape manufacturer. $36MM cash too. Sellers weren’t taking (rolling) paper.
Share price blast radius is notable.
Well then. International operations do attract cost (their G&A is bracing), as does business dev. Especially in Brazil. When a company with a net book value of $2.7MM costs $36MM (takes me back to Canopy buying 2 money losing greenhouses with a net book value of $6MM for $86MM at the time). ISOL’s still shopping too. Round Mountain looks like ISOL tossed them a life preserver. One will have to trust mgmt as to quality/fit of underlying assets. I didn’t detail, it’s only a half million, they bought it for what looks like working capital, I assume it saved them from insolvency. A pretty sweeping and broad horizon is presented by these statements - in a company looking internationally. They’ve got a clean professional presence (I’ve seen them at pretty much every trade show I’ve attended), yet, $12MM in op costs per quarter based on $8MM in sales for same….sheesh. Margin relatively static as well. That needs to improve, and sales need to triple+ to support ops. They lost $6MM per quarter this year, sales modestly up Q over Q. IMH - Invictus MD Price Then: $1.40 Price Now: $0.81
Salaries at $2.5MM, professional fees $1.5MM. To the latter, these have been abating as companies get up and planing. Not here.
Op expenses high, $13MM this quarter. Ouch.
Margin seems erratic. Might be operational stabilization, might be a very dark cloud.
Note 15 explains where their cash came from, along with a 40% increase in shares o/s
Warrant strike prices are all over the map. Relatively modest in options. Despite $2.5MM in SBC this quarter, don’t look like it’s going to be as high for awhile. I’d need more time to confirm that.
Related party transactions…sigh. Compelling business reasons are great. Anything less....more than simply poor optics. Can’t tell either way, in any of these without going deep. Note 16.
Getting a rock star as a front end ain’t cheap. Added $7MM in goodwill, from an $11MM spend. Remainder was expensed in sales and marketing. Well then. Note 10.
Note 11 - ran out of time.
Few things here. While I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from this (what the elves are taking these days apparently does give you that & they swear by it), it looks better than it did last year. I have concerns over sales, margins, and the assets in subs. Wrote one off this year. Only 9 months to find out it’s a mutt? Honestly, this company requires far (far) more time to get a handle on. Will do on website. Needs a full once over to be fair. MDM - Marapharm Ventures (now: LIHT CANNABIS) Price Then: $0.92 Price Now: $0.17
50% of assets goodwill. Full Spectrum indeed. Better be some good gear.
70MM warrants o/s
Shares were issued for 2018 include (clears throat): cash; assets; services; debt; warrant execution; stock options; bond bonus; RSU’s; and even some for the treasury. Whew! Note 14
The 10MM warrants issued at $0.20 look like playing catchup. Share price dump has been….unhelpful in that regard.
Revenues anemic, laying missionary on 30% margins. Blech.
Wrote a gain on a ‘bargain purchase price’ regarding Full Spectrum. Sheesh. After booking the rest as goodwill?
Would show heavy losses if it wasn’t for that $7MM up write.
Good disclosure on commitments (Note 16). And in segmented reporting (Note 17).
Note 21 (subsequent events) is busy. Operationalizing the US.
Sigh. Another that needs more time. Where is Quadron when you need them? Nothing stand out - at least in terms of company differentiation or size. Boring. And leveraged. The Full Spectrum thingy hits their financials like landing an 8 ft fish in a 7 ft boat. I’d need to deconstruct that ‘asset’ to get any strong utility out of this. I’d really want to have a handle on it - and management - if I was to go anywhere near this outfit. Doesn’t look unfairly priced. Unless you ask the people who placed at $0.865, $0.70, and $0.50 during the year. Ugliest thing I see is them issuing shares for $0.38 and $0.04 to retire debts, when the share price was $0.80 and $0.40 respectively. If I was one of those in the private placements, I’d be coming out of my shoes on that (Note 14). Even if it was only $40k. Speaks to quiet desperation at one point. Whether there’s a viable business in here….tune in next time for another episode of ‘Dive Bar Pub Crawl’. As I see it….this would take far too much time for the level of interest I have in it. Unless Full Spectrum is a home run….. ATT - Abattis Biocuetical Corp. Price Then: $0.48 Price Now: $0.08 Man, what a difference a year makes. I’ve largely avoided looking over last years’ Crawl as reference, except to skim for major points. This one remains clear in my memory…it looked like a complete mutt then. Only thing they looked good at was producing press releases. They’re still kicking, as is the rate of news releases/month. They have begun paying a formal IR front end, so maybe this will slow down. Or perhaps speed up. Can’t tell. Ah well, latest fins I can find are somewhat old (Sept release. Amended too :( ). New ones should be due pretty quick.
Sales in first quarter of this year: $237.00. Yep, that’s dollars.
Expenses: $6.9MM same quarter. $3.3MM in consulting fees alone.
Note 13 details the consulting fees. The note is also titled ‘Related Party Transactions’.
Share float increased from 159MM to 406MM YoY. There are no words for this.
Net loss for year end, $24MM on $5,900 in sales. There are fewer than no words for this. Like, an empty set of words.
Well, at least there’s $1.3MM in PP&E. Woot!
And….$51MM in intangibles.
And….$10MM in blockchain, via investment in some sort of clearinghouse to provide liquidity for the crypto-tokens they’ve invented (some sort of Active Health/CanNUMUS spit swap).
* “Token burning will also act as a low‐friction method of returning value to token holders”.* Well, there you go. You can rich, and be frictionless whilst doing so (Note 7).
Gonna stop there. I’ve got a stitch in my side, and a headache. If I ever get my hands on the mug who suggested this one….the elves heads are collectively a ‘bag of cats’, and the little buggers staged a walkout. They’re outside singing Woody Guthrie songs and burning pallets. This totally sucks. As does Abattis’ financials. They offer low friction on tokens perhaps, but any cash put toward this thing will probably have the friction of a canvas bag re-entering the atmosphere. Poof. My personal choice for ‘Dive Bar of the Year’. Curiously, it’s not an easy title to take. IN - Inmed Pharmacuetical Price Then: $1.47 Price Now: $0.37
Plenty of cash. Not much change in assets, or anything else for that matter over the year.
Expenses flat, R&D up, as is SBC. Nothing earth-shaking
Easy to look at from B/S - Income Statement perspective. Loving pharma co’s in this regard.
Active in placements. Steady amount of funds coming in, even if down-raising. Shows interest.
50MM in options and warrants o/s. Share price trajectory has taken a lot of them out of play for the moment.
R&D expenses mainly salaries, nominal amount to patents. In pharma, investors need to have a handle on viability of the research, quality of the management, etc. doing these is kinda fun as the financials are a dream compared to… oh….an ‘Abattis’ let’s say.
TGIF - Friday Night Inc. Price Then: $1.20 Price Now: $0.37 I looked at these guys as recently as July. I also met up with them at MJBizCon in Vegas. I asked for a look at their facility….they never did get back to me. I won a laptop bag and some nice swag at the booth on a business card ‘draw’, it didn’t help getting a tour tho. I really wanted to see it…the financials got me curious in last year’s Crawl, and I strongly get the sense I’m missing something of note in them. Seems an incomplete story tbh. Maybe just some mild indigestion. And….for a region notorious for $70 eights in top shelf, I was also curious why they were recording sub $5 revenue on grams. Got the annuals now….
$6MM in gross margin, $11MM in expenses. Ramping.
Forex and translation (assuming Fx) $1.1MM. A correction, or, an acquisition conversion to native currency.
Modest forecast for sales price per gram ($4.16). I really want to know why their sales price sucks this hard. Outside of scope for the Crawl (time, and, I need an answer from the company. Guys?)
Good disclosure largely, Notes 8, 7, and 11
Writing up forex accretion on goodwill, ptooey.
Still 22MM of in-the-money warrants and options. ~=$4MM live.
Marginal adjustments to cap structure through secured lending. Marginal though.
Related party transactions relatively good compared to peerset.
More good disclosure in segmentation (Note 19).
There’s a reason price softening is lower in this one compared to others - at least they are in production & they have a product suite (at least in their booth at MJBizCon). No retail frontage (?) would explain the shitty sales price. I have somewhat of a soft spot for Canadian business, and I’d hope that relatively early movers would be seeing this start to ramp. As my trip to the US revealed - the US is a hyper-competitive compartmentalized environment. I do believe vertical integration is requisite for a company with this breadth and spend. Gonna sit in on the next call on these guys, and try and get a (the) story. Looks like false starts in build out, and challenges ramping. Sales are growing. They don’t look to be peddling a ’take me out’ story or stance…but….I have blind spots on this one. Because of Abattis, the elves are now wearing balaclavas and carrying home-made gas masks. Told me they are going for a stroll. I gave the RCMP a heads up. Gotta keep up good community relations and all.
How Fed Funds Rate Works (and Why Forex Traders Should Care)
The aim of this post is to show how the current federal funds rate operation differs from its pre-crisis model and how it is important to Forex traders.
When things were simple (before 2008), the Federal Reserve set its target federal funds rate (FFR) as a single number and made sure that the effective federal funds rate (EFFR) is at the target level by performing open market operations (OMO). Those OMO normally included repurchase agreements (repo or RP) to temporarily increase the reserves supply in the federal funds market (FFM) (and thus reduce the demand and the EFFR) and reverse repurchase agreements (RRP) to temporarily decrease the supply of reserves and drive the EFFR up. It worked very well because the total size of bank reserves was rather small ($15 billion) in pre-crisis times.
Nowadays, when the Fed is holding $2.27 trillion in reserve balances (as of March 27, 2017), the old scheme would not fare so well. There is no scarcity of reserve balances at all. To create it, the Fed would need to sell a big share of its securities to shrink the total reserves to manageable size. But that would create some problems — it would drive down the prices of those securities and would launch a series of unpredictable market feedback loops. Instead, what the Fed is doing since 2008 is setting a target FFR as a range between two interest rates. For example, it is 0.75%-1.00% as of today while the EFFR, measured as volume-weighted median, was at 0.91% during the last 3 days.
The Fed makes sure that the FFM respects the target bounds by setting the interest on excess reserves (IOER) to the top boundary rate. When 95% of the reserve balances are the excess balances (balances exceeding the required level), the IOER rate paid by the Fed to the banks for holding these reserves serves as the ceiling for the rate corridor. It may sound counter-intuitive, because IOER would have been a floor level if only the FFM was composed only of the banks. However, it is not the case. The government-sponsored enterprises (GSE), such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Banks, comprise the bulk of the FFM. GSEs do not earn IOER on reserve balances kept at the Fed. This creates an arbitrage opportunity for banks to borrow from GSEs and allocate the funds with the Fed to earn IOER. Consequently, the interest rate of GSE's loans to banks should be below IOER.
And how about the floor of the rate range (the 0.75% part of today's target range)? It is enforced by the Fed through the OMO called overnight repurchase agreement (ON RRP). With it, the Fed can drain some reserves from the system by borrowing cash from market participants, giving them securities as a collateral. Since not only banks can earn interest on their funds with ON RRP (GSEs can also do it), this sets the de facto lower boundary for the EFFR. Who would lend at a lower rate if they can choose to get at least this rate from the risk-less loan to the Fed? One important feature of the current system is that the EFFR does not cling to the upper side of the rate range (IOER) but hovers below it, falling down to near the ON RRP rate during the final day of the month. The reason for the former is that the banks pay higher FDIC insurance fees when they borrow more. And the reason for the latter is that the banks need to follow the Basel requirements, which limit their leverage, but are calculated based on the end-of-month balance sheet.
As a result, we can see the EFFR fluctuating between ON RRP and IOER — well within the boundaries of the Fed's target FFR. The short-term interest rates (represented by the 3-month Treasury bills) roughly follow the EFFR, which means that the interest rates get propagated beyond the FFM. Note the EFFR spiking down on each last day of the month: EFFR inside target FFR range with 3-month Treasury Bill rate for comparison
Relation to Forex
So why should Forex traders care about this? Because effective federal funds rate and the Fed's ability to uphold it are even more important for the US dollar than the target rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee at its meetings. It is the higher EFFR that would stimulate banks buying more USD to park it either with the Fed or with the GSEs. It is the lower EFFR that would let banks to use the USD as a carry trade short side. Now you see that any significant news concerning GSE regulations, Basel III requirements, or FDIC insurance fee policies could have tremendous influence on the USD rate based on how such news could affect the EFFR. As a currency trader, you have to be up-to-date with the expectations of the FFM participants regarding those three components. I recommend the following resources to stay up-to-date with those topics:
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Financial Transaction Tax Explained: Pros and Cons, Forex, High Frequency Trading (2011)
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