EARLY EDITION: Five Fast News Stories For The Water Cooler (Tues. Mar 21)

TODAY: Bitcoin Optimism; S. Korea & Japan relations; Hedge fund quits China; Mexico Seizes US Property; Manchin rips Biden

TODAY: Bitcoin Optimism; S. Korea & Japan relations; Hedge fund quits China; Mexico Seizes US Property; Manchin rips Biden

1. Some good news for Bitcoin

The financial world has taken a seemingly endless barrage of punches lately. Pandemic. Supply chains. Inflation. Energy crisis. Food crisis. Tech layoffs. FTX. And now? Contagion fears as some major banks go under. But there is one bright spot in the midst of all of this.

The Bitcoin business model has been holding up — for now at least.

“If you were going to describe an environment where there were successive bank runs because central banks are trying to fight inflation with fast rate increases, that is pretty close to as spot-on a thesis for owning bitcoin as you’ve ever heard,” said Stéphane Ouellette, CEO at digital asset investment platform FRNT Financial.

The cryptocurrency has, for now, severed its ties with stocks and bonds and tagged on to a rally in gold, fulfilling at least one part of creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s dream – that bitcoin can serve as a refuge for suffering investors. — Investing

2. Japan and S. Korea normalizing trade relations

In the same way that American diplomacy has tried to play Russians and Chinese against each other enough that they never become a combined threat, China has reportedly been running a similar strategy with Japan and South Korea — playing one against the other.

Now, with China taking an increasingly bellicose and militaristic stand both regionally and worldwide, they are seeing the importance of cooperation against a looming threat. Japan and South Korea recently held a summit, and now, South Korea’s trade policy is already reflecting a warming in relations with Japan.

“I will preemptively order our trade minister today to begin necessary legal procedures to have Japan back on our whitelist,” Yoon told the meeting, which was televised live. “I’m sure Japan will respond if South Korea first starts removing the obstacles.”

South Korea and Japan removed each other from the list in 2019 amid a decades-old row over a 2018 South Korean court order for Japanese companies to compensate forced laborers during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of Korea. — Nikkei Asia

3. Hedgefund giant, Vanguard, cutting ties with China

A retreat two years ago was the beginning of a management plan where a US-based hedge fund decided not to tie its economic future to China’s markets. Vanguard has now made the announcement to the Chinese government that it’s closing operations in Shanghai.

The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based firm has notified the Chinese government of intentions to close its unit in Shanghai, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. The company also is planning to exit a robo-advisory joint venture with Jack Ma-backed Ant Group, they added.
The moves will mark a complete exit from China for the US$7.1 trillion giant, which once saw significant potential in the world’s second-largest economy. The reversal stands as a cautionary tale for global peers including BlackRock and Fidelity International, that are still racing to build up local operations as the nation’s recovery and a new pension reform brighten prospects. –SCMP

4. Mexico seized the property of US-based construction firm

According to Alabama-based Vulcan Materials, armed Mexican forces have taken over the dock their company operates from on the Mexican coast. As of late Sunday, Alabama Senator Katie Britt said the office was ‘still under military occupation’.

“This forcible seizure of private property is unlawful and unacceptable. It is shameful that this Mexican presidential administration would rather confiscate American assets than the fentanyl killing hundreds of Americans per day,” Britt said in a statement.
The Alabama senator called upon President Biden to take action as “the ramifications of this illicit seizure extend into the United States.”
— TheHill

Vulcan has had operations there for more than thirty years, providing jobs for both countries.

“It should be clear that the rule of law is no longer assured for foreign companies in Mexico,” Vulcan said in a statement to The Associated Press. “This invasion, unsupported by legal warrants, violates Vulcan’s commercial and property rights.”
Britt on Sunday said the incident is “significantly hamstringing important American infrastructure, energy, and other construction projects that currently rely on Vulcan’s operations in Mexico for materials.”

Maybe telling Biden it will affect his precious infrastructure promises will help him take an interest in the story.

5. Manchin rips Biden over first use of veto power

Biden left House Democrats high and dry over the veto they thought Joe would invoke to back them up on DC soft-on-crime legislation. But with this veto, Joe is showing where his real priorities are. And those priorities have Joe Manchin spitting mad. From his press release:

Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on President Biden’s veto of the bipartisan Congressional resolution to nullify the Administration’s environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) rule which prioritizes politics over getting the best financial returns for millions of Americans’ retirement investments.

“This Administration continues to prioritize their radical policy agenda over the economic, energy and national security needs of our country, and it is absolutely infuriating. West Virginians are under increasing stress as we continue to recover from a once in a generation pandemic, pay the bills amid record inflation, and face the largest land war in Europe since World War II. The Administration’s unrelenting campaign to advance a radical social and environmental agenda is only exacerbating these challenges. This ESG rule will weaken our energy, national and economic security while jeopardizing the hard-earned retirement savings of 150 million West Virginians and Americans. Despite a clear and bipartisan rejection of the rule from Congress, President Biden is choosing to put his Administration’s progressive agenda above the well-being of the American people.”

On February 1, 2023, Senator Manchin led 50 bipartisan Senators in introducing the resolution to nullify the ESG rule. On March 1, 2023, Senator Manchin voted for the resolution and spoke on the Senate floor on its importance. On March 6, 2023, Senator Manchin published an op-ed on the dangers of promoting the ESG agenda.

Sources Cited

Nikkei Asia
Joe Manchin Senate page

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One Comment

  1. What makes them think that this current action by Mexico would engender a response from Biden. He hasn’t been awake for any of the other scandals. The only response so far is Biden taking the wrong side in the controversy.

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