I am NOT RETIRED from the Securities Finance industry, but instead, approaching my 40th anniversary (12/06) in the industry, and am employed by top-notch Fintech solutions company, Transcend, the “Future of Capital Markets Innovation.
Likewise, the Repo Commentary is also not retired, but was merely sleeping. It is back, periodically.
I designed and taught an 11-week state-of-the-art virtual training/e education course on the Fundamentals of Repo, as part of Pierpoint’s Finance Academy. You can learn more about the course here: https://www.pierpoint.info/courses/the-fundamentals-of-repo.
or on LinkedIn
My Repo Commentary is posted FREE (it’s actually always been free) on my website: www.repocommentary.com. It also pops up on LinkedIn, the Global Investors Group (ISF Magazine) website, and on Securities Finance Times website. I am interested in entertaining you and taking your mind off the pressures you are under at work or working remotely. Since its inception in 1982, the Repo Commentary does not represent the views of any of my former employers or current employers, and reflects only my opinion and includes only publicly available information. I make a strong effort to attribute any quotes or thoughts that are not my own, I do not make marketing spiels, and I really am more interested in entertaining (70-80%) you than boring (20-30%) you with too much market info. You have more than enough stress already! Feel free, as always, to send me information, comments or pictures, to make it better!
Holidays or Events (11/11):
- Veterans Day (US, celebrating all military veterans, not to be confused with Memorial Day for veterans who died in battle, or Military Appreciation Day which is for veterans and currently active military.) Hopefully, you all had Friday off.
- Birthday of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (Bhutan)
- Children’s Day (Croatia)
- End of WWI observances (Armistice Day in New Zealand, France, Belgium, and Serbia; National Independence Day in Poland; Remembrance Day in UK, Commonwealth of Nations, Canada, and Australia; and formerly Armistice Day in the US)
- Independence Day (Angola)
- Independence of Cartagena (Colombia)
- Opening of Carnival (Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries)
- National Education Day (India)
- Republic Day (Maldives)
- Singles’ Day (China)
- Martin’s Day (Sint Maarten, Kingdom of the Netherlands)
- Women’s Day (Belgium)
- Pepero Day (South Korea)
Daily Weird Facts (from factslides.com):
While most penguins are monogamous, they spend most of their year apart.
“Every decision I make is the right one for me.”—Louise Hay
Currency and Commodity Markets:
Oil prices closed at:
$74.34/barrel on 10/5/18
$47.66/barrel on 12/23/18
$48.63 on 01/07/19
$73.77/barrel on 4/29
$58.81/barrel on 1/17/20
$35.92/barrel on 3/11
$27.15/barrel on 3/18
$24.90/barrel on 4/01
$31.80/barrel on 4/12
$28.31/barrel on 4/17
$20.03/barrel on 4/27
$35.69/barrel on 5/20
$50.70/barrel on 01/04/21
$66.34/barrel on 03/05
$61.30/barrel on 04/01
$63.68/barrel on 05/13
$72.25/barrel on 06/15
$74.86/barrel on 07/02, just where it was on 10/5/18 at the top of the list. What a roller coaster!
$72.30/barrel on 07/15
$68.03/barrel on 08/13
$68.06/barrel on 09/09
$90.99/barrel on 02/18/22
$97.28/barrel on 07/22/22
$94.47/barrel on 08/02/22
$90.59/barrel on 08/22/22
$89.71/barrel on 11/11/22
My West Palm Beach gas station is charging $3.29/gallon, down 19 cents in 2 weeks, and below the national average.
One USD versus the Yen was trading at (these are all around Repo Commentary dates:
104.80 on 02/07/20
99.23 on 03/11/20
103.55 on 12/16/20
110.63 on 04/01/21
108.61 on 04/28/21
110.05 on 06/15/21
111.44 on 07/02/21
109.94 on 07/15/21
109.59 on 08/13/21
109.92 on 09/10/21
115.15 on 02/18/22
136.03 on 07/21/22
132.15 on 08/01/22
137.51 on 08/21/22
139.20 on 11/11/22
One Euro was trading on:
12/24/18 at $1.1426
12/06/19 at $1.1688
03/11/20 at $1.1937
05/04/20 at $1.0903
12/16/20 at $1.2196
02/04/21 at $1.2625
04/01/21 at $1.1774
04/28/21 at $1.2123
07/02/21 at $1.1822
07/15/21 at $1.1806
08/13/21 at $1.1797
09/10/21 at $1.1820
02/18/22 at $1.1342
07/21/22 at $1.0236
08/01/22 at $1.0201
08/21/22 at $.9943 wow! We started this at $1.08. Highest since 2002
11/11/22 at $1.0331
One British Pound was trading on:
12/24/18 at $1.2655
12/06/19 at $1.3819
02/07/20 at $1.3574
03/24/20 at $1.2231
12/16/20 at $1.3494
02/16/21 at $1.3903
06/15/21 at $1.4083
07/02/21 at $1.3743
07/15/21 at $1.3819
08/13/21 at $1.3866
09/10/21 at $1.385
02/18/22 at $1.3583
07/21/22 at $1.2017
08/01/22 at $1.2222
08/21/22 at $1.1763 uh oh
11/11/22 at $1.1798
One USD versus the CAD at:
1.3442 on 12/24/18
1.2530 on 12/06/19
1.2390 on 01/17/20
1.3540 on 03/18/20
1.2752 on 12/16/20
1.2186 on 06/15/21
1.2417 on 07/02/21
1.2539 on 07/15/21
1.2515 on 08/13/21
1.2644 on 09/10/21
1.2737 on 02/18/22
1.2877 on 07/21/22
1.2848 on 08/01/22
1.3051 on 08/21/22 getting stronger
1.3255 on 11/11/22
With data showing continuing price increases and the Fed’s aggressive action to combat that inflation, precious metals, a historic hedge against inflation, one would think Gold would be advancing. But, it has been dormant. Gold prices:
07/27/20 a record $1,944.71/ounce
01/04/21 a new record $1,948.00
Bitcoin was trading at (around Repo Commentary Dates):
$8,185.21 on 7/25/18
$6,350.00 on 10/5/18
$3,774.97 on 12/24/18
$3,598.90 on 01/16/19
$3,421.10 on 02/06/19
$8,100.00 on 05/16/19
$7,215.79 on 05/17/19
$11,919.30 on 06/25/19
$9,790.37 on 07/24/19
$10,183.90 on 09/10/19
$8,235.46 on 10/02/19
$7,470.41 on 12/06/19
$8,876.87 on 01/17/20
$9,793.18 on 02/07/20
$7,871.60 on 03/11/20
$3,867.00 on 03/13/20
$5,216.64 on 03/18/20
$6,728.03 on 03/24/20
$7,748.29 on 04/27/20
$8,775.36 on 05/04/20 pre halving event
$9,794.46 on 06/04/20 post halving event
$10,849.00 on 07/27/20
$15,160.90 on 11/10/20
$19,411.50 on 11/30/20
$20,665.10 on 12/16/20
$31,592.20 on 01/04/21
$36,607.50 on 02/04/21
$48,526.90 on 02/16/21
$58,093.71 on 02/21/21
$43,170.01 on 02/28/21
$49,207.43 on 03/05/21
$58,979.60 on 04/01/21
$63,237.00 on 04/15/21
$54,886.50 on 04/28/21
$54,242.00 on 05/12/21
$39,804.90 on 06/15/21
$33,039.30 on 07/02/21
$31,280.00 on 07/15/21
$47,796.20 on 08/13/21 ouch what a whipsaw!
$46,574.40 on 09/09/21
$67,582.60 on 11/08/21 not a Commentary date, but the all-time high
$35,070.10 on 01/22/22 not a Commentary date, but relevant to show its volatility
$40,015.10 on 02/18/22
$23,143.10 on 07/22/22
$22,975.30 on 08/02/22
$21,169.80 on 08/21/22 down 340.60
On 3/13/20, just post COVID-19 breakout, Bitcoin had cratered at $3,867. It rallied sharply in the last few weeks before the ‘halving event’ on 5/12/20, its 3rd halving event. It exploded in early 2021, as new corporate investors (including Elon Musk) jumped in. On 4/15/21, it hit a high of $63,237. It made almost exactly a 50% downward correction, falling back to early 2021 levels, wiping out all 2021 gains. All of a sudden, it began climbing higher again in the Fall of 2021, hitting an all-time high of $67,582.10 on 11/08/21. But, volatility wasn’t over and was not for the faint of heart. The SEC signaled it is willing to take a hard line approach towards cryptoasset regulation and what Chair Gary Gensler has called the “Wild West of finance”, by threatening to sue Coinbase over a plan to offer accounts that pay interest on cryptoasset holdings. This has also intensified the debate about the SEC’s jurisdiction over cryptoassets. All of this led to another massive correction of nearly 50% (again), bringing it down to interim low of $35,070.10 on 01/22/22. Now, as I look at the moves since I wrote the last Repo Commentary, it was about $40,015 then and rallied to $47,454 on 03/28/22. Then it started the long road down, cratering at $18,948 on 06/18/22. Ever since the interim high of $31,750 on 06/09/22, Bitcoin has fallen below $20,000, rallied to nearly $25,000, and since August 2022, kept leaking to $16,4966.60 on 11/13/22.
My sources are still speaking regularly to me about Staking and Mining. They also are now talking about auction bidding for NFTs. Bitcoin and Ethereum took a major $200 billion whack, when FTX went bankrupt. Going back to Cryptocurrencies for a minute, there was big news this past week about crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried, who was worth $26 billion for his FTX.com, the multi-celebrity endorsed ‘gateway’ to all things crypto, which has now become its own celebrity, as the largest bankruptcy of the year. STB has resigned from the firm now. The digital assets were supposed to revolutionize finance, but we see the same mistakes and lofty promises made. He was supposed to be part of a movement called “effective altruism and donate his crypto wealth. Instead, he has now left many retail traders who poured their life savings into digital assets left with nothing. He has abandoned venture capital firms who gave him a lot of money, without demanding that he establish some kind of oversight over FTX. With the SEC and Justice Department now investigating, and Larry Summers likening FTX situation to Enron, the road for FTX and the industry looks bumpy ahead. FTX was tied to many exchanges and a massive trading operation. There were more than 130 entities tied to FTX.com. Somewhat lost in THAT headline news, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, just 2 days prior to FTX’s crash, announced that it was buying its arch-rival, then decided not to, and then it crashed. The deal fell apart just hours after it was announced. This also sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency market.
Global Financial News:
The G-20 summit is convening in Bali. President Biden is meeting with China’s Xi for the first time, and the stakes are high. Still one of the conferences I haven’t attended in 40 years. Biden seems to be going in hot to the meeting with Xi, but Yellen is backing improved US-China relations, according to the NY Times. DLT is expected to bring major efficiencies in global derivatives markets, but is not expected to be the answer to all issues, according to Acuiti. Bond buying has surged with investors more optimistic on inflation. Some $2.6 billion worth of bonds were purchased during the week ending 11/9/22, the biggest weekly total in 4 months, according to Bank of America Global Research. The surge implies that investor confidence was already returning, even before the positive consumer price report on 11/10/22. The WSJ reports that US regulators have issued a Treasury market reform report. Is the word “reform” the most used market word since 2007?? Yet, Treasury yields are climbing, as Waller pours cold water on the market by warning against dovish outlook. I actually found my old Whip Inflation Now pin from the Ford administration. The SEC is proposing human capital reporting rules. SLR, and other popular regulatory acronyms, may take on new human capital meanings, like for instance SLackeR. FINRA’s Cook is talking about how Reg BI exams are continuing to evolve. The People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission have urged financial institutions to provide more support for the country’s ailing real estate sector. The regulators reportedly outlined several measures financial firms can take, including deferred loan repayments by as much as a year, per Reuters. ECB’s Enria says that supervising crypto will be a struggle, per the Financial Times. Bank of England official says that rates are higher than needed to tame inflation, per the Financial Times. ESG funds continue to outperform, but a recent survey is showing pessimism ahead. The funds have declined slightly less than funds that track benchmark indexes like S&P 500, and 56% of ESG funds outperformed rival category groups in the 3-year period through September, according to Morningstar. Still, a Bloomberg survey shows that 65% of respondents expect the broader market to beat ESG funds next year. Global equity funds, unlike bond funds, posted $11.6 billion of Outflows during the week of 11/9/22, the first net outflow in 3 weeks, according to Refinitiv Lipper data. Investors withdrew $10.5 billion from US funds and $830 million from European funds, while Asian funds saw a $290 million Inflow.
US Market News:
Still at levels above the magic 30,000, the Dow is still well above its pre-pandemic peak of 29,569. But, it has retreated since the beginning of 2022, when it set a record high. The aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve to squash alarming inflation (brought about partly by the huge multi-$trillion injections of money into the economy by the US government to combat the economic disaster brought on by the pandemic), the war in the Ukraine, and negative GDP numbers, gave a 3-punch combo to the stock market. Stocks extended a rally, sparked by a slowdown in inflation last month, but equity analysts have only become more pessimistic about the future. A majority are projecting the S&P 500 earnings to decline by 0.39% year/year in Q4, down from August’s expectations of 6% increase. Yet, stocks on Friday capped their best week since June.
Here are the latest DJIA closes (this is the next list I intend to trim to just important dates):
08/21/22 33,063.61 down 643.13 for the day
01/04/22 36,799.65 all-time record high close
2/12/20 29,551.42 pre-pandemic high
S&P 500 has closed on:
10/5/18 at 2,885.58
12/26/18 at 2,467.70
12/06/19 at 3,145.91
02/07/20 at 3,335.27 down 10.51 from new all-time high
03/23/20 at 2,237.40
12/15/20 at 3,647.49
01/13/21 at 3,809.84
02/03/21 at 3,830.17
02/16/21 at 3,923.59
03/05/21 at 3,841.94
03/31/21 at 3,972.89
05/12/21 at 4,063.04
07/01/21 at 4,319.94
07/14/21 at 4,374.30
08/13/21 at 4,468.00
09/09/21 at 4,493.28
01/03/22 at 4,796.56 all-time high
02/17/22 at 4,380.26
07/21/22 at 3,955.47
08/01/22 at 4,118.63
08/21/22 at 4,137.99 down 90.49
11/11/22 at 3,992.93
S&P has drifted from its all-time high at the beginning of the year.
Nasdaq closed on:
10/5/18 at 7,788.45
12/26/18 at 6,554.36
12/06/19 at 8,656.07
02/07/20 at 9,555.96 down 16.19 from new all-time high
03/23/20 at 6,860.67
06/04/20 at 9,615.81 don’t look now, but we have set a new record high, above the previous high of 2/07/20!
12/15/20 at 12.505.06
01/13/21 at 13,128.95
02/03/21 at 13,610.54
02/16/21 at 14,047.50 new record high
03/05/21 at 12,920.15
03/31/21 at 13,246.87
05/12/21 at 13,031.68
07/01/21 at 14,522.38
07/14/21 at 14,644.95
08/13/21 at 14,822.90
09/08/21 at 15,286.64
12/27/21 at 15,871.26 all-time high
02/17/22 at 13,716.72
07/21/22 at 12,059.61
08/01/22 at 12,368.98
08/22/22 at 12,381.57 down 323.64
11/11/22 at 11,323.33
The US Treasury market is focused on Inflation, the Fed’s aggressive tightening policy, weak economic data, and sudden increase in unemployment (which the Fed seems to be okay with as the price to pay to get Inflation under control.)
2 YEAR NOTES closed on (trimmed list):
10/5/18 at 2.88%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
12/06/19 at 1.61%
02/06/20 at 1.44%
03/11/20 at 0.50%
03/17/20 at 0.47%
03/23/20 at 0.28%
05/10/20 at 0.16%
07/24/20 at 0.14%
12/15/20 at 0.11% wow really low!
01/04/21 at 0.11%
01/13/21 at 0.14%
02/03/21 at 0.11%
02/16/21 at 0.11%
03/05/21 at 0.14%
03/31/21 at 0.16%
05/12/21 at 0.16%
07/01/21 at 0.25% wow!
07/14/21 at 0.23%
08/13/21 at 0.23% back to 7/14 level, after having fallen 2 weeks ago to 0.17%
09/09/21 at 0.23%
02/17/22 at 1.49% what a dramatic change, as the Fed moved into tightening policy to rein in inflation
07/21/22 at 3.10%
08/01/22 at 2.90%
08/22/22 at 3.32%
11/10/22 at 4.34%
3 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 2.99%
12/18/18 at 2.64%
01/07/19 at 2.47% (inverted to 2years)
12/06/19 at 1.64%
02/06/20 at 1.43%
03/11/20 at 0.58%
03/17/20 at 0.54%
03/23/20 at 0.31% wow!
05/10/20 at 0.21%
07/24/20 at 0.17% wow!
11/09/20 at 0.25%
12/15/20 at 0.18% wow!
01/04/21 at 0.16% record low!
01/13/21 at 0.22%
02/16/21 at 0.17%
03/05/21 at 0.32%
03/31/21 at 0.35%
05/12/21 at 0.35%
07/01/21 at 0.47% wow!
07/14/21 at 0.44%
08/13/21 at 0.44% which ignores that it hit 0.33% on 08/02/21
09/09/21 at 0.43%
02/17/22 at 1.70% back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 3.07%
08/01/22 at 2.82%
08/22/22 at 3.36%
11/10/22 at 4.17%
5 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.07%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
12/06/19 at 1.67%
02/07/20 at 1.45%
03/11/20 at 0.66%
03/17/20 at 0.56%
03/23/20 at 0.38%
03/26/20 at 0.51%
03/31/20 at 0.37%
07/24/20 at 0.27% wow!
12/15/20 at 0.37%
01/04/21 at 0.36%
01/13/21 at 0.48%
02/03/21 at 0.46%
02/16/21 at 0.42%
03/05/21 at 0.79%
03/31/21 at 0.92%
05/12/21 at 0.87%
07/01/21 at 0.89% not much increase
07/14/21 at 0.80%
08/13/21 at 0.79% it hit 0.65% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 0.79%
02/17/22 at 1.85% also back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 3.00%
08/02/22 at 2.66%
08/22/22 at 3.17%
11/11/22 at 3.95%
7 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.18%
12/18/18 at 2.74%
12/06/19 at 1.78%
02/06/20 at 1.56%
03/11/20 at 0.78%
03/17/20 at 0.91%
03/23/20 at 0.63%
03/26/20 at 0.72%
03/31/20 at 0.55%
07/24/20 at 0.44% record low
11/09/20 at 0.70% back to near pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 0.64%
01/04/21 at 0.64%
01/13/21 at 0.80%
02/03/21 at 0.81%
02/16/21 at 0.76%
03/05/21 at 1.23%
03/31/21 at 1.40%
05/12/21 at 1.34%
07/01/21 at 1.24%
07/14/21 at 1.11%
08/13/21 at 1.08% hit 0.95% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 1.08%
02/17/22 at 1.94% also back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 2.99%
08/02/22 at 2.64%
08/22/22 at 3.12%
11/10/22 at 3.89%
10 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.23%
12/18/18 at 2.82%
09/09/19 at 1.83%
10/01/19 at 1.65%
12/06/19 at 1.84%
02/06/20 at 1.65%
03/11/20 at 0.82% wow!
03/17/20 at 1.02%
03/23/20 at 0.76% and back down again
07/24/20 at 0.59% record low
11/09/20 at 0.96% back to pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 0.92%
01/04/21 at 0.93%
01/13/21 at 1.10%
02/03/21 at 1.15%
02/16/21 at 1.09%
03/05/21 at 1.56%
03/31/21 at 1.74%
05/12/21 at 1.69%
07/01/21 at 1.48%
07/14/21 at 1.37%
08/13/21 at 1.29% hit 1.19% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 1.30%
02/17/22 at 1.97%
07/21/22 at 2.91%
08/01/22 at 2.60%
08/22/22 at 3.03%
11/10/22 at 3.82%
30 YEAR BONDS closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.40%
12/18/18 at 3.07%
07/24/19 at 2.58%
09/10/19 at 2.11%
12/06/19 at 2.29%
02/06/20 at 2.11%
03/11/20 at 1.30%
03/17/20 at 1.63% way up!
03/23/20 at 1.33% back down
07/24/20 at 1.23% record low
11/09/20 at 1.73% back to pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 1.65%
01/04/21 at 1.66%
01/13/21 at 1.82%
02/03/21 at 1.92%
02/16/21 at 1.84%
03/05/21 at 2.28%
03/31/21 at 2.41%
05/12/21 at 2.40%
07/01/21 at 2.07% dramatic drop almost below magic 2%
07/14/21 at 1.98%
08/13/21 at 1.94% although it hit 1.83% on 08/04/21
09/09/21 at 1.90%
02/17/22 at 2.31%
07/21/22 at 3.08%
08/02/22 at 2.92%
08/22/22 at 3.24%
11/10/22 at 4.03%
I am hearing from my real estate people that “houses that can sell are selling quickly.” The typical home that went pending in September managed to find a buyer in just 19 days. But, when you look at the Overall inventory of home for sale, including those that haven’t yet found a buyer, the number of days on the market is higher. In fact, it’s currently close to 54 days. That’s 45% increase from last year at the same time. So, homes are lingering on the market longer, which is good for buyers, not good for sellers. According to recent survey, 51 of the country’s largest 100 housing markets remain Sellers’ markets, not buyers’ markets. However, with affordability conditions in a flux and buyer demand slowing nationwide, we could see a buyers’ market on the way. In just the past few months, the number of sellers’ markets has fallen from 83 in August to 51 today. By next September, some analysts are predicting that those same 100 markets will show 27 favoring buyers, 30 as neutral, and only 43 favoring sellers.
The Housing supply and demand forces have both been culprits in this housing crisis. Typically, they act inversely to each other and have opposite effects on prices. But, unusual circumstances were created by the pandemic. Once we were out of many of the COVID restrictions, homeowners who worked remotely, suddenly had savings and government aid, historically low interest rates, and took interest in their homes (which were now their workplaces). This caused a boom in home repairs and remodeling. There was also a boom in refinancing to pay for those remodel jobs. I have a friend who refinanced a 30year 6.625% mortgage to 3.25%! That was just about the lowest the 30-year rate ever got! It also caused a boom in demand for upgrading homes to new larger homes. The problem is that this increased demand ran into a wall of supply problems. There was suddenly a labor shortage, coupled with high tariffs, and a huge supply chain problem, so builders and building materials were in ridiculously short supply. Prices for materials, like lumber, increased by nearly 500% from March 2020 to March 2021. According to a housing industry expert, some 25% of all construction jobs remain unfilled. A number of already started NYC apartment building projects were halted. Now, with interest rates forced higher by the Federal Reserve and uncertain builders, new permits and supply continue to fall short of demand. And, now, that demand has waned, with prices not adjusted lower and mortgage rates more than doubled from the lows.
The rental market is a whole ‘nuther animal, with the average renter in any major US city spending much more than 1/3 of their income on rent (the generally accepted rule of thumb), and in Miami and Los Angeles, the typical renter spends more than ½ of their income on rent. I’m sure you’ve watched one of those million-dollar listing shows or the Love It or List It, in which they have shown bidding wars to BUY houses. Well, that’s not happening much anymore in the current environment. However, I hear that the rental market is so hot that people I know are losing on rentals, because other renters are willing to pay more than the rent required, or are paying six months of rent up-front, etc. Who would have thought that there would be a bidding war for rentals? And, remember, this is not just the Manhattan real estate apartment rentals. We are also talking Florida home rentals and townhome rentals. Pretty scary.
Repo/Securities Financing News:
It was great seeing everyone again at the 37th RMA Conference in Key Biscayne, FL, in October! It felt great for me to be back at the conference which I have attended all of them, back in the industry, and back able to do post-pandemic face-to-face meetings again! Thanks for the dozens of people who took the time to speak with me and thanks for coming by the Transcend booth. It was amazing to see the turnout at the conference, some 1200 people, the most since probably 2005, pre-Financial Crisis. I think I was part of the well-represented ‘seasoned’ contingent, as many long-time familiar faces have returned in new roles and adapted.
I also enjoyed the Finadium Rates & Repo conference in November, virtual and reception in NYC, which had some great, timely topics.
I have the pleasure to still be working remotely from West Palm Beach, FL (okay, no mock sympathy please), but I am coming up to NYC and NJ, to visit in-person with some clients and with my teammates at Transcend. If you would like to meet with me, please let me know, and I’ll get it on the schedule.
What to talk about in our Repo & Securities Lending industry, besides the obvious, financial technology? Well, I have been addressing with clients lately not only their technological pain points, but also discussing the SEC’s proposal to move all Treasuries clearing to central clearing and away from bilateral trading. But, then Gensler came pretty close to saying that the SEC supports all-to-all trading, which could also increase liquidity that is direly needed in the Securities Financing market (particularly with the increase in US Treasury issuance and the cost of balance sheets for broker/dealers.) You have heard me expound on this subject since 2008, when I started peer-to-peer discussion, ironically with the Federal Reserve, and then probably with each and every one of you over the next 10 years. I am glad to see that P2P or All2All has grown, ATPs and ETPs are expanding members who can trade into the buyside, and efforts like the Global Peer Financing Association chaired by HOOPP’s Rob Goobie, have taken off. It’s our first time back together in a while, so I will spare you my spiel.
I’ve also had several discussions with clients about UMR, SLR, SOFR, Total Return Swaps, Modified Repo, and whether some venders are using the term “Collateral Optimization” as undefined vender jargon or as a promise that some of them can’t make.
Last Friday, Asset Servicing Times hosted its 2nd Industry Excellence Awards, celebrating the best in business. Nasdaq has appointed Christian Sjoberg as head of business development for post-trade in Singapore. FIA Tech has appointed Debby Planer to the newly created role of VP, Head of Connectivity. Software provider ION has expanded its XTP cleared derivatives platform, with the addition of JANUS solution and Clarus CHARM solution. Universal Investment Group has completed the acquisition of European Fund Administration (EFA).
Upcoming Securities Financing Conferences:
Finadium-Rates & Repo Conference 2022, 11/02/22, NYC hybrid, streamed and in-person reception the following week.
Securities Finance Times-Securities Finance Technology Symposium, 11/22/22, London, in person.
IMN-will hold its 28th Annual Beneficial Owners’ International Securities Finance and Collateral Management Conference, 01/24/23-01/25/23 in New Orleans, in person. I will be there.
Federal Reserve News:
The Fed Funds rate, which is still the target rate of Federal Reserve monetary policy and changes to which are made by and announced by the FOMC at regularly scheduled meetings, is currently set at 3.75%-4.00% (remember, the Fed has been using a target ‘range’ for a while and also up until just 03/16 of this year, that target range was 0.00%-0.25%). When I last wrote, the target rate was still 2.25%-2.50%, but then the Fed on 11/02/22 announced the second of two consecutive hikes of 75bp in the target rate. It wasn’t quite the 100bp that many market participants were expecting, but it was still a big move. It had a direct ripple effect on mortgage rates (particularly floating rate mortgages), prices, and consumer demand. It was part of the Fed’s aggressive tightening of monetary policy to combat rampant inflation. Actually, the Fed has 2 main missions: Keep inflation in check (around 2%) and keep the unemployment rate at a low equilibrium level. It is not charged with keeping stocks from collapsing, supporting GDP, or other economic tasks, in its mission. Having been a Fed watcher for my whole career, I know better than assuming one can predict the Fed’s behavior or what is Fedspeak and what is genuine foretelling. It is worth noting, as I mentioned in the US Markets section, that the Fed seems okay with letting the Unemployment rate rise, some pain to bring down Inflation further.
The Federal Reserve posts an Effective Fed Funds Rate (EFFR). The Overnight Bank Funding Rate (OBFR), is also published by the NY Fed to capture the volume-weighted median of overnight federal funds transactions, Eurodollar transactions, and the domestic deposits reported by banks.
The next FOMC meetings are: 12/14/22. The 2023 schedule of FOMC meetings has been announced, but it is still tentative: 02/02/23, 03/22/23, 05/03/23, 06/14/23, 07/26/23, 09/20/23, 11/01/23, 12/13/23, and 01/31/24. All of the scheduled meetings are two-day meetings. I have listed the 2nd day. However, as we saw on 3/3/20, the FOMC can call emergency meetings at any time, even on weekends, especially during the pandemic crisis we were in.
The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (mostly banks, GSEs, and MMFs) is used as a tool by the Federal Reserve, along with its Fed Funds target-setting monetary policy, and IOER for depository institutions, to help control short-term interest rates. The Fed is currently only repoing out US Treasuries from its portfolio and typically only Overnight. Note that the Fed has the nomenclature backwards, it is actually Repoing securities out of the Reverse Repo Program and taking cash IN from its perspective. As if Repo nomenclature, bid and offer, and acronyms weren’t hard enough for everybody.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes:
Here are significant earthquakes for just two days. It has been extremely active and these are fairly strong quakes.
11/13/22 5.0 Mariana Islands Region
11/13/22 4.9 Fiji Region
11/13/22 4.7 W of Buala, Solomon Islands
11/13/22 5.2 SSW of Kroya, Indonesia
11/13/22 4.5 SSW of Corinto, Nicaragua
11/13/22 4.6 NE of Cubara, Colombia
11/13/22 4.5 WSW of Adak, Alaska
11/13/22 4.6 ENE of Levuka, Fiji
11/13/22 5.1 ENE of Shikotan, Russia
11/12/22 5.0 E of Hihifo, Tonga
11/12/22 5.0 NNW of Lebu, Chile
11/12/22 6.2 Coast of Bio-Bio, China
11/12/22 5.7 WNW of Lebu, China
11/12/22 4.8 Crete, Greece
11/12/22 5.1 NE of Hengchun, Taiwan
Winter has arrived in many parts of the US, particularly Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Maine. But, the rest of the country seems to waffle between cold temperatures one day and record highs the next day. Here in Florida, after Nicole, we have been inching up to the high-80s and even 90 degrees.
In Florida, after a Summer that featured a record 74 days in a row of 90 degrees or greater temperature, the temperature has dropped to about 84 on average. We just finished with a nasty Category 1 Hurricane Nicole, which made landfall on the Treasure Coast and brought huge storm surge, flooding and high winds.
I welcome another new resource for the Repo Commentary, the World Weather Information Service, started in June 2022, covering 3,447 cities. Since June and July 2022, persistent, record-breaking heat waves have affected parts of Europe, sending temperatures soaring into triple digits, causing wildfires, evacuations, and heart-related deaths. In June, temperatures of 40-43 C (104-109 F) were recorded in parts of Europe, with the most severe temperature anomalies in France. The second heatwave occurred in mid-July and extended north to the United Kingdom, where temperatures surpassed 40 C (104 F) for the first time ever. The highest temperature recorded during this round of heatwaves is 47.0 C in Pinhao, Portugal on 07/14/22. For Fahrenheit users, that’s 47.0 x 9/5 +36=116.6 F. The heatwaves are believed to be part of a permanent climate change in Europe. Climatologists linked the extreme heat to the impact of climate change, and experts predict that changes in the jet stream as a result of climate change will cause heat waves with increasing frequency in Europe. Furthermore, they note that due to the jet stream, the increase in heatwaves for European countries is 3 to 4 times higher than for other countries in northern mid-latitudes, such as the US. Meteorologists blame the June heatwave on a rare interaction between the high pressures that generate atmospheric stability, Tropical Storm Alex, the strong sunshine of the boreal summer and an air mass emanating from North Africa that entered the Iberian Peninsula loaded with suspended dust and sand, which led to a haze over the area. Last year, July 2021, Europe was dealing with devastating floods.
Top US earth scientists from NASA and NOAA announced Thursday that 2021 was among the hottest years on record, the 6th hottest for average global surface temperature, to be precise. That makes the last 8 years the 8 warmest in over 140 years of reliable record-keeping. Temperatures in 2021 were nearly 2 degrees hotter than average temperatures in the late 1800s. But, more importantly, NASA and NOAA both issued warnings for the decades-long trend of upward temperatures. With current carbon-cutting commitments from global nations, the world is on track to warm by some 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which would have extreme, disastrous environmental consequences. We are already seeing some of those consequences, according to both organizations, including extreme fires, severe deluges, destabilized ice sheets, ocean heating, sea level rise, great disruptions to animal life, and vector-borne diseases (creatures that infect us with pathogens, like mosquitoes and ticks). President Biden’s administration has been focusing recently on climate change and even is discussing the radical use of massive windfarms for the Gulf of Mexico to replace the traditional offshore oil rigs there. The world’s race to replace Russian supplies may result in the planet missing the crucial 1.5-degree Celsius goal needed to avert catastrophic climate damage, according to a recent report. Emissions are still rising. One example is the recent methane cloud which developed in Alabama last month. It was so large that it was seen from space.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season BEGAN June 1st and ends November 30th. On 12/09/21, CSU issued an extended forecast for the 2022 hurricane season, predicting slightly above-average activity with 13-16 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes. La Nina pattern should keep the area less active, after two consecutive years of higher-than-average named storms. La Nina has the opposite effect from El Nino, which is when Pacific waters are warmed and there tends to be fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic. La Nina tends to cool Pacific waters. In 2021, ocean water temperatures hit a record high average temperature. 2021 was the third most active hurricane season on record for named storms with 21 named storms and 7 hurricanes. 2020 had 30 named storms and 2005 had 28 named storms.
Obviously, Hurricane Nicole, which just blew through Palm Beach County, Martin County, and Fort Pierce County in Florida, on its way to hammer Tampa, Daytona, and Jacksonville (who were less prepared for it), did not care about the calendar. It was only the 4th Hurricane to ever hit the US mainland this late in the season (which ends 11/30). The storm surge was 3-10 feet, depending on which coastal city you were in, which caused significant damage, putting a few restaurants under water, including 2 in Boynton Beach, FL. The rain, again depending on where you were, was 3-8”, and was coupled with post-Full Moon high tides which were higher than normal, on top of the flooding from rain and the storm surge. A strange thing that these hurricanes are typically hitting at night (this one made landfall at 3am Thursday morning) and the Category 1’s are causing so much damage (not due to winds, like the higher Category hurricanes, but due to water damage.) Now, this fact is freaky: Hurricane Nicole, which followed Hurricane Ian by 43 days, and made landfall in the same spot, Juno Beach, as Jeanne in 2004, which was exactly 43 days after Hurricane Charley hit the same area on the West Coast of Florida, south of Fort Myers, that Hurricane Ian just hit. All of this happening 18 years apart.
The Pacific Hurricane Season BEGAN 5/1/22 and ended 11/1/22.
In the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Rays 4 games to 3, to win in another exciting (and rare) 7-game series.
In the 2021 pandemic-impacted season, in the World Series, the Atlanta Braves shocked the sports world by beating the favored Houston Astros 4 games to 2.
The 2022 season, in the World Series, the Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2, and had a no-hitter as well.
The PGA season is in its annual break, taking a swing through Australia. But, the rhetoric between the PGA Tour and the new upstart LIV Golf tour, started by Greg Norman, is already heating up again. Phil Mickelson and Pat Perez, who are both playing on the LIV tour, are battling in the media. Perez has a “hate” for Mickelson. Even though Perez and his buddy Dustin Johnson are both on the LIV tour, they think that Mickelson’s legacy has been ruined with HIS defection to LIV and the comments that he made in the aftermath. Mickelson has made some controversial comments about the Saudis, who are backing the LIV tour. Perez’s beef with Mickelson, though, is one that goes back many years, when they grew up together. Perez publicly supported the PGA Tour, then switched gears and joined the LIV. Not unlike a lot of other golfers. The appeal of the LIV is, as in Perez’s case, he didn’t have one top-10 finish in his inaugural LIV season, yet earned $8 million in just 7 starts, in fields with just 48 golfers! By contrast, he made $28 million in 515 starts in 21 seasons on the PGA Tour. In other LIV news, LIV Golf says that Greg Norman has not been fired as CEO, amid reports that he could be replaced. Tiger Woods has released his schedule, at least for December. He has committed to his Hero World Challenge (12-1 to 12-4) and The Match VIII (12/10. He will also play the PNC Challenge (12/17-12/18) with his son Charlie.
College football is approaching its last few weeks before conference championships and the College Football Playoff. Alabama is shockingly not at No.1, as the perennial one to beat has suffered 2 defeats already this season. They are at No.8 in the latest rankings. Georgia is the No.1 ranked team. Two Big10 teams, Ohio State and Michigan, are in the Top 4 at No.2 and No.3, respectively. Here are the latest AP rankings:
- Georgia (10-0)
- Ohio State (10-0)
- Michigan (10-0)
- TCU (10-0)
- Tennessee (9-1)
- LSU (8-2)
- USC (9-1)
- Alabama (8-2)
- Clemson (9-1)
- Utah (8-2)
- Penn State (8-2)
- Oregon (8-2)
- UNC (9-1)
- Mississippi (8-2)
- Washington (8-2)
- UCLA (8-2)
- UCF (8-2)
- Notre Dame (7-3)
- Kansas State (7-3)
- Florida State (7-3)
- Tulane (8-2)
- Cincinnati (8-2)
- Coastal (9-1)
- Oklahoma State (7-3)
- Oregon State (7-3)
College Basketball began last week. In their second game of the season, my MSU Spartans took on No.2 Gonzaga on an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, in San Diego. Crazy to play such a powerhouse so early, but that’s coach Izzo’s style. Anyway, they were winning the whole way, but lost by one point at the end. Here are the very early AP Top 25 rankings (I can’t believe unranked Michigan State couldn’t get a ranking after losing to No.2 by one point??):
- UNC (2-0)
- Gonzaga (2-0)
- Houston (2-0)
- Kentucky (2-0)
- Kansas (2-0)
- Baylor (2-0)
- Duke (2-0)
- UCLA (2-0)
- Creighton (2-0)
- Arkansas (2-0)
- Tennessee (1-1)
- Texas (2-0)
- Indiana (2-0)
- TCU (2-0)
- Auburn (2-0)
- Villanova (1-1)
- Arizona (2-0)
- Virginia (2-0)
- San Diego State (2-0)
- Alabama (2-0)
- Oregon (1-1)
- Michigan (2-0)
- Illinois (2-0)
- Dayton (2-0)
- Texas Tech (2-0)
The 2020 NFL season ended with Super Bowl LV, which was played in Tampa Bay, with the Bucs beating the Chiefs 31-9. It was the first time that a team had played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium. QB Tom Brady broke his own record with his 7th Super Bowl ring. He is 7-3 in Super Bowls, but 2022 has not been kind to the 45-year-old, on the field and at home.
The 2021 NFL season ended with a dramatic playoff schedule of many close and Overtime games. In the end, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals (who were the worst team in the NFL only 2 years ago), 23-20. It was only the second time (and in a row) that a team had played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
The 2022 NFL season is in its 10th week and has been unlike any season I can remember. There have been more upsets than I can remember, as there is remarkable parity in the League. There are many injuries of key players, especially QBs. There are new faces at QB, even for those teams who don’t have injured QBs. As I said QB Tom Brady of the Bucs is not having a good season and got divorced from Gisele Bundchen. He just had to play one more season! Wow! QB Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, who held out for more money at the beginning of the season is having a terrible year, and blaming all of his teammates around him. His true, unlikable personality, seems to be showing this year. Another QB who should have probably retired, before he gets benched. Even wunderkind, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs is not having a typical Mahomes’ year. The Dolphins lead the AFC East and the Patriots are in last place? The Titans are in first place in the AFC South? Two of the best teams in football are now the Eagles and the Giants??? The Eagles are the only undefeated team, at 8-0? The Vikings lead the NFC North? The Packers have lost 5 games in a row? The Bucs, who are only 5-5, are still in first place in the NFC South? The Saints and Steelers, whose HOF veteran QBs, Brees and Big Ben, both retired, are in last place in their divisions? “Cats and dogs sleeping together…” I don’t even remember what movie that’s from. Here is a typical story from the 2022 NFL season so far, the 49ers shopped QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the entire 2021 season and offseason, believing their newly drafted QB was their future. When not one of the 31 other NFL teams picked up Garoppolo on waivers (and many needed and still need a QB), the 49ers took him back as a backup QB, at a much reduce salary. In the second game, the new QB Trey Lance gets hurt and is out for the season, and the 49ers announced that they were “Delighted” to have Garoppolo back, who has now started every game since and had a terrific year. Really not very nice of the 49ers, but ironic, since Garoppolo got the starting QB job originally, when the 49ers poorly handled QB Geno Smith’s injury, when he was their QB of the future and they traded him away and promoted Garoppolo. Speaking of QB injuries, Sunday night, the Rams played the Cardinals and both starting QBs, Murray for the Cards, and Super Bowl-winning Stafford, did not play due to injuries.
The 2021 NHL season (which normally would have started in 2020 and wrapped around to 2021) was delayed and started 1/13/21. The regular season is normally 82 games, but was only 56 games this year, once again due to the pandemic. In the end, The Tampa Bay Lightning repeated as Stanley Cup Champions, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.
The 2021-2022 season began on 10/20/21. It ended with a spectacular playoff schedule. The Tampa Bay Lightning tried to 3-peat as Stanley Cup Champions, but ultimately lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
The 2022-2023 season has already begun and we are about 15 games in. My Bruins and the Golden Knights are on fire, with the 2 top records so far.
The 2020-2021 NBA season tipped off more than two months later than usual on 12/22/20. The Suns beat the Bucks for the Championship. The 2021-2022 NBA season had a normal 82-game schedule and the Finals were won by the Warriors over my Boston Celtics in an exciting series.
The 2022-2023 season has just begun and is 12-13 games in. Bucks and Celtics have started well in the Eastern Conference, and the Jazz and Grizzlies and Blazers have started well in the Western Conference.
The NASCAR Cup Series of 2022 just ended. Joey Logano edged out Ross Chastain by 6 points for the NASCAR Cup. Logano had 4 wins and 11 top 5 finishes. Here was the 2022 schedule and winners:
02/06/22 Busch Clash at LA Memorial Coliseum-Joey Logano
02/17/22 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona-Brad Keselowski
02/17/22 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 at Daytona-Chris Buescher
02/20/22 DAYTONA 500-Austin Cindric
02/27/22 Wise Power 400 Fontana,CA-Kyle Larson
03/06/22 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas-Alex Bowman
03/13/22 Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix-Chase Briscoe
03/20/22 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta-William Byron
03/27/22 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Austin-Ross Chastain
04/03/22 Toyota Owners 400-Richmond Raceway-Denny Hamlin
04/09/22 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville-William Byron
04/17/22 Food City Dirt Race at Bristol-Kyle Busch
04/24/22 GEICO 500 at Talladega-Ross Chastain
05/01/22 DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover-Chase Elliott
05/08/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington-Joey Logano
05/15/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas-Kurt Busch
05/22/22 NASCAR All-Star Open at Texas-Daniel Suarez
05/22/22 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas-Ryan Blaney
05/29/22 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway-Denny Hamlin
06/05/22 NASCAR Cup Series at WWTR in Illinois-Joey Logano
06/12/22 Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway-Daniel Suarez
06/26/22 Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway-Chase Elliott
07/03/22 Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY at Road America-Tyler Reddick
07/10/22 Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Atlanta-Chase Elliott
07/17/22 Ambettor 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway-Christopher Bell
07/24/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway-Chase Elliott
07/31/22 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Indianapolis-Tyler Reddick
08/07/22 FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan-Kevin Harvick
08/14/22 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond-Kyle Larson
08/21/22 Go Bowling at The Glen, Watkins Glen-Kyle Larson
08/27/22 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona-Austin Dillon
09/04/22 PLAYOFFS round of 16: Southern 500 at Darlington-Erik Jones
09/11/22 PLAYOFFS: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas-Bubba Wallace
09/17/22 PLAYOFFS: Bass Pros Shops Night Race at Bristol-Chris Buescher
09/25/22 PLAYOFFS round of 12: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas-Tyler Reddick
10/02/22 PLAYOFFS: YellaWood 500 at Talladega-Chase Elliott
10/09/22 PLAYOFFS: Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte-Christopher Bell
10/16/22 PLAYOFFS round of 8: South Point 400 at Las Vegas-Joey Logano
10/23/22 PLAYOFFS: Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami-Kyle Larson
10/30/22 PLAYOFFS: Xfinity 500 at Martinsville-Christopher Bell
11/06/22 PLAYOFFS CHAMPIONSHIP at Phoenix-Joey Logano
Formula One integrity is hanging in the balance after failure to publish an Abu Dhabi report. There was a 23-race F1 calendar for 2021. It did not begin until 3/28/21. F1 has announced another 23-race F1 calendar for 2022. Here is the 2022 schedule and here are the winners. Hamilton hasn’t won a single race yet, which is a shock. And Verstappen seems to be winning most of them:
03/20/22-Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix-Leclerc
03/27/22-Saudi Arabia-Verstappen edged Leclerc
04/24/22-Italy Rolex Gran Premio Dell-Emilia Romagna-Verstappen
05/08/22-United States Crypto.com Miami-Verstappen
05/22/22-Spain Pirelli Gran Premio de Espana-Verstappen
07/10/22-Austria Grosser Preis Von Osterreich-Leclerc
07/31/22-Hungary Magyar Nagydij-Verstappen
09/04/22-Netherlands Heineken Dutch-Verstappen
09/11/22-Italy Pirelli Gran Premio D’Italia-Verstappen
10/23/22-United States Aramco-Verstappen
11/30/22-Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways
IndyCar Racing circuit (Indy cars are generally considered faster than F1 car along straight lines, mostly because their races are on oval tracks, while F1 tracks are more intricate, requiring better brakes and more aerodynamic grip than Indy cars). The 2022 schedule and the winners:
02/27/22 St. Petersburg-Scott McLaughlin
03/20/22 Texas-Josef Newgarden
04/10/22 Long Beach-Josef Newgarden
05/01/22 Barber-Pato O’Ward
05/14/22 Indy Road Course-Colton Herta
05/29/22 Indy 500-Marcus Ericsson
06/05/22 Detroit-Will Power
06/12/22 Elkhart Lake-Josef Newgarden
07/03/22 Mid-Ohio-Scott McLaughlin
07/17/22 Toronto-Scott Dixon
07/23/22 Iowa-Josef Newgarden
07/24/22 iowa-Pato O’Ward
07/30/22 Indy Road Course-Alexander Rossi
08/07/22 Nashville-Scott Dixon
08/20/22 St. Louis-Josef Newgarden
09/03/22 Portland-Scott McLaughlin
09/10/22 Laguna Seca-Weathertech-Alex Palou
The 2023 season will begin with:
03/05/23 St. Petersburg RP Funding
In Motorcycle Racing, Francesco Bagnaia won the MotoGP World Championship.
In the US, 6 people were killed on Saturday in a mid-air collision of restored WWII aircraft at an airshow in Dallas, TX. Precision Air Flight 494 crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania, killing 19 of the 43 people on board. AAA says that inflation has not slowed travel spending at this time. The rebound effect of people working from home, home-schooling, and being quarantined for the pandemic, is still fueling a surge in travel, as people just want to get out and are stir crazy. Japan is now open to visitors, as it lifts its COVID-19 restrictions. Hong Kong has now relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions for tour groups. The price is dropping for TSA PreCheck. Of course, I enrolled last year! Newark Airport authorities removed a snake from a plane. They should do a movie about that. A bird strike after takeoff sent a United Airlines plane back to Chicago airport. Some flyers will be traveling in new luxury on airplanes, as double beds and high-walled suites are being introduced. The FAA says that the ground-stop at Dallas-Fort Worth airport has been lifted. On Friday, you can get free entry to all US National Park sites. A gun hidden in a raw chicken was found by TSA at a Florida airport. A man stormed the cockpit of an American Airlines flight and broke controls before being arrested. After 2022’s travel chaos, not enough planes, flights, pilots, crew, etc., United Airlines announced that it is adding trans-Atlantic flights next summer. The Statue of Liberty’s crown has reopened for the first time in more than 2 years. Some of the sacred Easter Island statues have suffered “irreparable damage” due to a volcano fire. A Viking cruise ship can’t finish its voyage, because the Mississippi River is too low. The FAA has announced a rule allowing more rest for flight attendants. The CDC has suspended country-specific COVID-19 travel advisories. China is ending flight bans and easing quarantine, in COVID-19 shift.
As of today (11/11/11), globally, over 6.609,017 people have died from COVID-19. More than 634,677,211 (11/11/11) people have been confirmed infected with COVID-19. The US has the most deaths from COVID-19 of any country in the world, 1,074,513.
The next COVID-19 booster shots will target Omicron. The boosters will be bivalent and include both the original vaccine formula, as well as a component that targets Omicron. Since we last chatted, I managed to get COVID-19 again on 09/29/22, despite having had both Pfizer shots and both boosters, as well as having COVID-19 on 12/29/21. However, the symptoms were very mild. My doctor says that I am pretty well immunized and don’t need the bivalent until about January.
Grizzly bears could roam wildest reaches of Washington state again. The National Park Service has urged visitors not to lick toxic psychedelic toads. Here is another benefit to doing away with Daylight Savings Time, it could drastically reduce deer collisions, according to a new study. China experts have flown to Taiwan to help a sick panda, in a rare pooling of knowledge. Five lions escaped an enclosure at the Sydney Zoo. Guests of the zoo’s Roar and Snore overnight stay program were quickly rushed to safety. A woman was pulled to safety in a Florida canal, where she was stranded near some alligators, by a paraglider who made an emergency landing to save her. In what could be a world record, a 5-month-old Bar-tailed Godwit bird left southwest Alaska and touched down 11 days later at Ansons Bay on the island of Tasmania. A Florida teenager won the annual competition hosted by the state of Florida, by capturing 28 Burmese pythons. The seriously invasive and dangerous species is hunted every year in an annual challenge. This year, 1,000 participants from 32 states, Canada, and Latvia participated and removed 231 of the huge pythons. An 18-foot python that was removed, was found to have partially digested WHOLE 5-foot alligator in its stomach. The Fish and Wildlife Service said that Emperor penguins are now a threatened species, due to climate change. A 65-year-old Wyoming man managed to shoot himself, while fighting off an attacking grizzly bear. A grizzly bear mauled two college wrestlers hunting in Wyoming.
Carmen Electra is leaving little to the imagination in her new bikini shots. Dave Chappelle took on Kanye West, Kanye’s antisemitic remarks, and Trump’s distraction in his Saturday Night Live monologue. In case you were wondering, I binged the latest Star Wars mini-series, Andor, on Disney+. It was a little confusing at first, but wound up having relevance to later stories. I also caught the latest of White Lotus, this time, it’s a hotel in Sicily. I am currently binge-watching the series The Cleaning Lady on HBO Max. Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone series is back for season 5. Maybe, I will finally see it. I think Ozarks should be returning soon. I heard that the next season of The Crown is back. Tiffany Trump, daughter of President Trump and Megan Markle, got married this weekend at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL. Dolly Parton has received the $100 million Courage and Civility Award from Jeff Bezos. Well-deserved for this very philanthropic star. Emma Thompson says she was “utterly blind” to her ex-husband Kenneth Branagh’s on-set relationships. Rainn Wilson announced a name change to raise climate change awareness. Emily Blunt says she would be up for a DEVIL WEARS PRADA sequel. Nick Cannon is set to welcome his 12th child, third by Abby De La Rosa. This news comes on the heels of model Alyssa Scott announcing that she is also expecting a child by Cannon. Sylvester Stallone is trying to rewind the age clock in Paramount’s new movie TULSA KING. Watermelon-smashing comedian, Gallgher, has died at age 76. Kevin Conroy, the longtime voice of animated Batman, has died at 66. Chris Rock is set to make history, with Netflix’s first-ever live performance.
Okay, I’m going to have to go on a rant. I had a fellow employee once who did a weekly rant on people’s use of the words its and it’s incorrectly. I now have a pet peeve, which is being promulgated in the news media. All of the major networks are featuring this abomination of the English language every night. Even the Today Show does it frequently. I am referring to when a news anchor or reporter says, “Dave Chappelle, he said…” or “the Miami Dolphins, they have offered…” It’s the use of a Personal Pronoun, followed by a completely unnecessary regular Pronoun, before continuing on with the sentence. Why are they doing that??? They have already identified the person or the them, so why do they then need to say “he”, “she”, “they”, etc. I don’t think this is a nod to all the new pronoun terms for the multitude of gender qualifiers now. It is simply bad English. Or, as my 5 English friends on my Cantor Desk would say, “it’s bad England.”
I need to see OPERATION MINCEMEAT (2021), AVATAR: THE WAY OF THE WATER (2022), UNCHARTED (2022), BULLET TRAIN (2022), and THE GRAY MAN (2022). But, these are the ones that I HAVE seen and my 1-10 rating:
NO TIME TO DIE 8.0
WRATH OF MAN 7.0
THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS 7.0
THE CARD COUNTER 6.5
THE UNFORGIVABLE 6.0
HOUSE OF GUCCI 5.0
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE 4.0
TOPGUN: MAVERICK 8.8
JURASSIC WORLD 5.5
Technology & Space News:
Thursday, there was a chilling discovery by National Geographic divers off the coast of Florida, who were looking for WWII aircraft that had crashed into the ocean, but instead found a 20-foot section of the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger, which blew up on takeoff 25 years ago from Cape Canaveral, killing the entire crew, including beloved teacher Christa McAuliffe. The crew is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. It was a shocking and sad event for the entire country. The Space Shuttle program was put on hold for the subsequent 32 months. It was followed by the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia. The National Geographic divers immediately contacted NASA, who now faces the decision of whether to recover the wreckage or not. It is a Federal offense to find any Space Shuttle parts and not return them to NASA.
The technology industry is taking a beating lately in the stock market and the employment news (not the Financial Technology industry, thankfully). After Elon Musk finally decided to buy Twitter for $44 billion, he then fired 50% of the workers. That sounds like a Gordon Gecko move. Ahh, most of you are too young to understand that reference. More people have fled the ship of their own volition afterwards. Ironically, Musk is trying to hire back some 1300 workers whom he fired in a miscalculation of the company’s needs. Musk is now facing a battle in court over his $55 billion pay package at Tesla. Is that like “robbing from Peter to pay Paul?” Meanwhile, his money-making idea to indicate verified celebrities and brands with a blue check mark on Twitter has failed miserably, as hackers found it simple to use the check mark to impersonate celebrities.
It’s not all bad news on the Technology front, as 60 works from the estate of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen went on the auction block at Christie’s, and in just 2 ½ hours, sold for an unprecedented $1.5 billion. Some experts say (or used to say) that gold, currency, art, boats, antiques, memorabilia (now NFTs), physical items are one safe haven against inflation for investors. Cryptocurrencies were also supposed to be on that list, as they slowly replaced gold and silver as standards. But, that hasn’t happened and see the trouble brewing there above in the Currency section of the Repo Commentary.
Let’s to see if I can mention climate change in every section of the Repo Commentary today. Nah, just kidding. However, due to record low water levels on the Mississippi River, there are major shipping jams, just as the US needs to export critical supplies of food, wood, coal and steel to global markets. The problem has been around for months and seriously hampering US food exports in particular. A real supply chain problem. Plus, it will now get worse, as it’s harvest time, and farmers need to bring in their grain and lay down fertilizer before Winter snowfalls. This climate effect of scarce rain and high heat is not just being felt on the Mississippi River, but also other rivers in the US, Europe and China.
President Biden and Democrats are celebrating the retention of control of the Senate. So, the midterm election results were not as bad as he feared. Republicans did not get the red wave that they were expecting, although they are planning still on getting the majority in the House of Representatives, and installing their own Speaker of the House. However, it’s very likely that when US lawmakers return to Washington next week, they will not know who will wield the majority power. The Democrats appear to have an edge in the Senate and the Republicans in the House, but control of both is still up in the air, and is still being counted and may require runoffs, like in Georgia.
I have missed the Repo Commentary myself, because I find that I really get into the news and become aware of what is going around in the world in much more detail than I do when I am not writing the Repo Commentary. I’ve explained frequently that I do type the Repo Commentary by hand into Word, then copy and paste it to my website.
In the Russia/Ukraine war, the Russian military suffered a humiliating loss in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and had to retreat. it turns out that Russia is reportedly using about 300,000 low quality reservist troops for their mobilization, although they allegedly had a million fully trained troops at their disposal. Apparently, it’s because it’s all they have left to use. They had about one million military personnel when they started the war, and only about 25% of those were useful in the invasion. After fighting this war of attrition for more than 7 months, they’ve depleted their human resources to such a point that their only option to keep going was to send in less than quality troops. This may partially explain the reports of forced conscription by Russia of captured Ukrainian men, to fight alongside Russian forces against their own Ukrainian people. I don’t remember ALL of the articles of the Geneva Accord, but I think that is a violation. One puzzling and maybe bad sign about the war is that Bomb shelters across Russia are being brought back on line, after more than 3 decades of neglect and non-use since the end of the Cold War.
In other maybe related news, I’ve seen a few reports from different sources that I still think is more rumor than fact, that President Putin is very ill. Physically ill. It might explain, though not excuse, his irrational attacks on a neighboring country that he feels should be Russian, as it was part of the Soviet Union until 1991, even though his military is destroying it, ruining the infrastructure and buildings. I know that history has shown many instances of this behavior before, but I still don’t understand why a warring force that wants to assimilate other people and their resources, claiming that they are their own people after all, chooses to obliterate all of those people and their resources. Maybe it’s like that nihilistic expression, “if I can’t have it/you, then no one can have it/you.” Also, Putin chose not to go to next week’s Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, a rare occurrence. There’s still more Russian uncertainty, as the Ukraine-Russia grain deal is set to expire.
Thank you for indulging me, constant readers (for SK fans), in my opinions on geopolitics.
An American woman, jailed for trying to leave Saudi Arabia with her daughter, has been freed. Not so the WNBA star in Russia, who was just moved to serve her 9-year sentence for illegal drug possession to a hard labor camp.
When US President Biden accused Saudi Arabia of siding with Russia over oil, the Riyadh cast itself as an emerging power that stands up to Washington and looks after its own interests.
The Brightline train has resumed service, since Hurricane Nicole. The completed stretch travels at ONLY 88mph. However, just 2 weeks ago, Brightline successfully tested the train that will continue on to Orlando Airport (and Tampa in the future), which will be able to travel at 110mph. I actually took the train from West Palm Beach to Miami, right before the RMA Conference (which was ironically in Key Biscayne, just a bridge away from Miami), and enjoyed the 50-minute ride (versus what would have been 2 ½ hours of nerve-racking driving. It’s only 30 minutes from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale on the Brightline train, as opposed to a drive that is a minimum of one hour. I’m very curious to see what the Brightline train time will be to Orlando, which is normally about a 3-hour drive from West Palm Beach.
Here’s a look at new restaurants in 2022 for Palm Beach County:
- Casa Cana-North Tequesta (opened February)
- Lewis Steakhouse (sister to Okeechobee Steakhouse)-Jupiter/Indiantown (opened May)
- Taco Shack-Jupiter/Abacoa (opened July)
- Rembar-Jupiter/Bluffs (opened May)
- AquaGrille-Juno Beach (opened March)
- Mystic Lobster Roll Company-Juno Beach (opened April)
- Double Roads Tavern w stage-Jupiter (relocating)
- HoneyBelle-Palm Beach Gardens/PGA National (opened February)
- Voodoo Bayou-Palm Beach Gardens/Downtown (opened February)
- Cactus Grille and Tequila Bar-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross (opened January)
- Legends Tavern & Grill-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross (opened May)
- Ela (Indian)-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross
- El Camino-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened June)
- Zona Blu-West Palm Beach/Okeechobee (opened April)
- Pig Beach BBQ-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened June)
- Common Grounds Brew and Roastery-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened February)
- Bodega Taqueria y Tequila-West Palm Beach/Clematis (opened February)
- Mockingbird at The Regional-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened February)
- The SoSo-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened April)
- Hive Bakery Café-West Palm Beach/S. Dixie (opened March)
- Sweetgreen-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened January)
- Kosher Chobee-West Palm Beach/Okeechobee (opened June)
- Sicilian Oven-Wellington Mall (opened June)
- Bar 25-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave.
- The Falcon-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave (opened May)
- The Gringo-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave (opened March)
- Akira Back-Delray/Pineapple (opened March)
- The Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar-Boca Raton (opened April)
- Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza-Boca Raton (opened March)
- Ah-Beetz-Delray Beach (opened May)
- Spadella-Delray Beach (opened November)
I would list all of the restaurants that closed during the pandemic for good, even just the ones that had been open for at least 15 years, but I’m afraid the list might be longer, and depressing.