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Trade Deal: $200 Billion or Bust? Not Quite- By: NEIL S. SISKIND

China finally did what I’ve been suggesting for over a year:

Stop retaliating- & start cooperating.

But, as I warned, China’s economy has taken a big hit along the way.

Chinese leaders were wise to sign whatever we asked- just to stop the tariff-bombing- even if they don’t plan to make the purchases in full.

For China, faux cooperation is better than no cooperation.

Too much is being made about the $200 billion in purchases the deal requires. Are tariffs going higher if the Chinese only buy $168 billion more? Maybe not. Would WWIII break-out? No.

It’s a “target” number. It’s a goal.

Are we going to wait until December 31st of 2021 to count the purchases, and then make a decision of what to do if they fall short? No.

Along the way, China will try to negotiate the number lower or have time frames extended out by explaining why numbers can’t reach targets. In some cases, other nations will be involved by opposing China’s U.S. purchases to their exclusions, so the facts will be apparent. It won’t be like a bookie chasing his customer into an alley. China would keep us apprised.

If progress is being made w/ China on other issues, like IP and market access, shortfalls may get excused.

Analysts will tell you that the Mandarin version of phase one of the trade agreement calls for $200 billion in purchases “if possible” (which is why Chinese officials were refusing to address or confirm the amount of purchases called for by the deal. They don’t see it as a hard number- they interpret it as a “best efforts” provision).

So, focus less on the number, and more on the concept of China cooperating … or not. Overall efforts to comply, or not, and to agree further as negotiations continue, or not, will determine future relations between us- not a particular number.

I’m not suggesting that the purchases can fall “way” short of the deal. I’m just suggesting that … well …

maybe we can all just get along.

Enforcing China’s Agriculture Purchase Promises: President Trump- Think Like a Real Estate Developer- by NEIL S. Siskind

By: Neil S. Siskind

President Trump should be inclined to secure any promises by China to make, and to have Chinese firms make, future agriculture product purchases in exchange for his present tariff levy forbearance the same way that he, as a real estate developer, would secure any promise by a counter-party to pay monies due following his performance under a contract, where that counter-party has previously shown to be unreliable: with a purchase and sale contract with China (or with Chinese state-owned firms), signed simultaneously with the signing of a trade agreement, that spells-out the products being purchased by China (or by state-owned firms), and the prices, quantities, purchase dates, delivery dates, payment terms, etc., for such, with the monies for payments to come due from China (or from state-owned firms) put in escrow by China (or by state-owned firms), for delivery by the escrowee when due.1 The funds could even be held in an interest bearing escrow account, with the interest paid to China (or to state-owned firms).

Or, the President could consider accepting a letter of credit from China or from Chinese state-owned firms (issued by a United States bank, of course) securing the payments.1

Alternatively, the parties could agree that the escrow or letter of credit mechanism be used only to establish secondary liability (or guarantor liability) of China or China state-owned firms, rather than being the primary source of payments for purchases, in which case, if Chinese firms’ imports of delineated U.S. agriculture products should fail to reach the agreed quantity at or by the end of a given year, the escrow or credit letter could be drawn on, to the extent of any shortfall. This would leave China and China state-owned firms financially responsible to the U.S. (and its agriculture product sellers and payment assignees) only if private and state-owned Chinese firms fail to meet a trade agreement’s requirements with their own respective purchase contracts and payments in a given year.

(Either of the above payment mechanisms should name the United States Department of the Treasury as the payment beneficiary, with the right of the Department to assign to another party, such as a farmer, the right to receive an escrow payment or draw on the credit letter when a payment becomes due.)

It would be like any other commercial transaction.

If China declines to allow us to secure future payments through one of these mechanisms, what would that tell us about China’s intention to perform? Not only would tariff rollbacks be entirely untenable in such case, holding-off on the new tariffs would, also, be sans a solid rationale.

Without one of the above payment mechanisms in place as to the agriculture purchases portion of a deal (if an agreed amount of purchases can even be reached, which, as of now, is uncertain), regardless of the existence of any dispute resolution or enforcement process for the purchases, or for any other deal point, “President Trump” should not agree to a deal, at all- just as “Donald Trump the real estate developer” wouldn’t.

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1.  Because imports normally require working through private companies, trade related import agreements can be hard to implement; but, in China, the government has state-owned companies it can direct to make the promised purchases and payments. Further, in order to reach and perform under an agreement with the United States, China’s government, itself, for financial purposes, may have to directly participate in the purchases to meet an agreement’s purchase requirements.

endnotes

1. To roll-back existing tariffs or forebear from levying new tariffs in phase 1 only to use those tariffs as a threat to secure terms in a phase 2 negotiation would be a ridiculous result. Phase 1 would immediately be under constant threat of being canceled.

2. China needs a deal that helps it dig itself out of the deep financial hole in which it has placed itself. China is unlikely to make a deal to spend money, and direct its private and state-owned firms to spend money, and change its laws, without tariff roll-backs. The “possibility” of lower tariffs “someday” will not be enough for China. This requirement by China could be a deal-breaker for both sides.

_ _ _

About the Writer

Get business and personal debts restructured and reduced; collect debts owed; monetize invoices by selling receivables: https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/

Monetize your accounts receivable today with Receivable Advance™

Neil Siskind is: President of The Siskind Law Firm, https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/, focused on debt negotiation and restructuring, debt collection, debt investing, product investments, trademark licensing, and product distribution; Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment™, a think tank and advocate for children with absentee fathers; Founder of the global charity marketing initiative, Caring is Free®; Founder of National Fatherhood Day™; Owner & Conservator of The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve, over 9 acres of conserved waterfront land along New York’s majestic Hudson River; and author of The Complete Guide To The Ways To Manufacture & Sell Your Products. On December 11, 2017, in his article The Yield Curve Speaketh: Why Stocks Might Crash in Early 2018, Neil Siskind accurately predicted the February, 2018 stock crash, the largest single-day point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s history. All the stock indices are down approximately 6% for 2018. In his September 26, 2018 article, Lots of “Bull” In The Bull Market: Let’s Look At What’s “Really” Growing, Neil Siskind explained that, despite Wall Street’s bullishness, the economic data and stock market underpinnings were in decline, and the economy and stocks were at imminent risk. By the closing of markets on October 23, 2018, the S&P 500 had fallen approximately 7%, with October being the S&P’s worst month since August 2015 (and December being the S&P’s worst month ever), the Nasdaq continues to have its worst month since 2016, and is down approximately 8% from article publication, and the DJIA is having its worst monthly performance since 2008. In 2018, Neil Siskind coined the phrase “synchronized global slowth™” (or “synchronous slowth™”) to describe the occurrence or condition of multiple emerging market and developed market economies commencing a downward trajectory of economic and GDP growth, or actually contracting to a point of slow, stagnant, or negative economic and GDP growth, at simultaneous, or nearly simultaneous times, largely, or, at least in part, due to rising interest rates and/or stricter lending regulations (such as higher bank reserve requirement ratios and stricter bank balance sheet requirements) in the larger, more developed or fully developed economies, such as the United States and China, resulting in diminished liquidity in those economies, and, thus, diminished liquidity in smaller, or emerging economies, in turn. If you are in need of office space in South Florida, contact Neil Siskind about space availability at The Siskind Executive Office Complex in Boca Raton, FL.

Other Recent Articles by Neil S. Siskind:

Settle Debts, Restructure Debts, Collect Debts, Sell Receivables: Debt Solutions From The Siskind Law Firm- https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/ 

How Wall Street Will Be Wrong- Again- in 2020- by NEIL SISKIND

How consensuses on “Wall Street” (meaning investment bank analysts and economists, and portfolio and asset managers), will be wrong in 2020:

“Wall Street” forecasts the following- with my responses below each of those forecasts:

– The dollar will weaken.
Nope. Low and negative yields and slow global growth, including in Japan, China, South Korea, and Europe will persist.
– Europe’s economy has bottomed and will rebound.
Nope. Too many structural issues with too many different cultures and practices and moving parts. Germany is restrained on fiscal help.
– China has plenty of levers to pull.
Nope. Well, only if it wants to destroy all its future economic hopes for decades out.
– EM economies will rebound.
Nope. China will remain weak, the dollar will remain relatively strong, global growth will remain weak. EM debt and defaults will rise.
– China will rebound.
Nope. Too many manufacturers have left and will continue to leave, banking internals are weak, and government debt issuance for unneeded infrastructure will grow. And what happened to the 2019 second-half rebound predicted?
– Fiscal stimulus can save China and Germany.
Nope (see India; how’s the fiscal stimulus working out there? There’s something to be said for executing on stimulus before it’s too late. Timing matters. The right kind of stimulus also matters. China is pushing its localities for infrastructure stimulus through bond sales. But, China doesn’t need more infrastructure investment at this time.)
– There will be a U.S.-China trade deal.
Nope. At least not one with lower tariffs.
– The yield curve has reverted, so we’re out of the woods.
Nope. Curves almost always invert and then revert before a recession.
– The business cycle is dead.
Nope. It can be extended out … if you use liquidity to form dangerous bubbles with financial crises and years of economic malaise to follow.
– A U.S. China trade deal will help the U.S.’s, China’s, and the world’s economy.
Nope- not unless existing tariffs are rolled back.
– U.S. small cap and value stocks are good investment ideas.
Nope, except to the extent of investing in acquisition targets. Scale- and economies of scale- is the name of the game. To that end, large cap growth companies in every industry will prevail- while acquisitions will often be needed to achieve scale.
– Lack of a trade deal is bad news for the U.S.
Nope- not if companies move forward with capex investments based on acceptance of the idea of having to permanently move their respective production sources and facilities.
– Inflation should return in 2020 as wages grow, over-capacity in China declines, and tariffs affect producer and consumer prices.
Nope. Mergers and acquisitions will cause scale, economies of scale, and job cuts.
– A strong U.S. housing market proves the economy and the consumer are strong.
Nope. How may home purchases are by investors due to low rates and yields? Lower interest rates from a weakening economy are stimulating investor asset purchases- houses and equities and credit.

 

 

Neil Siskind’s Poetry

Old and Cold

A weaker mind with stronger will,
his wayward thoughts are lined with ill,
anger, age, combine for truth,
rage ensues, with words in proof.

Youth of hope, but life of real,
imagined wealth with guts of steel,
dreams abound and thoughts aloft-
sure he’d conquer all and oft.

All men’s envy, he would reap
admirers a million deep;
short he fell for what he longed-
right in sow, in reap was wronged.

In daytime dreams a wealthy man,
but flaws would sink his crafted plan,
ventures stank with people’s rot-
efforts stymied, plot by plot.

Fiction falters, facts prevail
from storied battles, absent fail-
such stories, little more than tales,
where all the minnows, blubbered whales.

In his heart, the buried parts-
love and money – fits and starts,
with all the pressures life invokes,
the nightmare life of common folks.

Old age closer, father time
feeds upon a bitter mind.
Age can balance bring a soul-
but also ache of growing hole.

A lover’s heart, once warm and sweet,
stone-cold now, as if concrete.
Aging soul, once brash and bold,
survived … alive – but old and cold.

Neil Siskind’s Poetry

Warm in the Cold

I dress for the air that is frigid and brisk
I’m layered with thought, to avoid any risk
The frost and the flakes hardly breach my defense
The wind I can’t block is what makes me most tense
I’ve prepared best I can as the winter takes hold
I prepare- toes to hair- to stay warm in the cold

Neil Siskind’s Poetry

With Camilla’s Pain

The two of you live side by side
you love her not- or surely lied
your words provide a lover’s leads
but oft don’t match a lover’s deeds

You love me or you love me not?
This love to grow- or left to rot?
What is it that you’d have me do-
but lay with blokes I dream are you?

Your words and cards and gifts and jewels
perhaps believed by greater fools!
I haven’t heard your voice for days
I seek the exits from this maze!

I wait here with Camilla’s pain
as my lover speaks another’s name
the chance you’ll leave her, getting slim
’til then I sleep with lesser ‘him’

The Big Jackson “Hole” in the Fed’s Understanding of the Economy- by NEIL SISKIND

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By: Neil S. Siskind

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President, Patrick Harker, said the following during an interview with Bloomberg on August 23rd at the Fed’s 2019 Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole:

“Inflation clearly is a conundrum. That is, we don’t really understand why it has been low for so long … So, there’s some underlying trends with the economy that are different today than before that we continue to try to understand.”

Members of the Federal Reserve find low inflation – or, how inflation works in our economy- to be “a conundrum” (synonym: a riddle). Yet, the Federal Reserve (the FOMC, actually) determines monetary policy and sets the target federal funds rate for the United States. So, naturally, this hole in the Fed’s understanding of the economy is very concerning. (Federal Reserve Bank presidents from across the country serve one-year terms on the FOMC on a rotating basis, with the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank always being on the Committee. Mr. Harker is one of the Federal Reserve Bank presidents scheduled to serve in 2020.)

Here are some insights for the Fed into the prime reasons for persistently-low inflation in the economy (and for disinflation or deflation in some industries):

i. A global workforce with lower wages, and, by and large, a lower standard of living that competes with domestic U.S. labor- with its higher wages, minimum wage laws, and modern living standards- in the performance of manufacturing activities and services (such as phone support for banks and e-commerce companies);

ii. heavy competition among factories in a multitude of countries to supply products to U.S. corporate customers, with many such customers being so large that they can pressure prices lower and lower with a supplier that wants to obtain and/or maintain the customer’s account;

iii. low costs of capital over years of low interest rates leading to enormous “scale” for companies that use debt to fund online marketing initiatives, loss leaders, and aggressive pricing tactics to steal market share, helping large companies to grow larger in all industries and destroy smaller competitors, providing more market share to fewer companies with the resulting ability of such companies to accept volume and revenues over profit margins (i.e. lower consumer prices) and to achieve more bargaining power with labor, including providing more benefits in lieu of a higher wage- or neither;

iv. companies borrowing money to buy back their shares, and to achieve scale through lower prices to grow revenues, and to engage in mergers to control costs to grow profits, all instead of focusing on and investing in R&D and capex;

v. private equity funds flush with cash searching for yield and profits resulting in the funding of the growth of startup and unprofitable companies through the use of loss leaders and even free services designed to steal market share and achieve economies of scale, forcing existing companies to lower their prices and surrender margin to compete, and funding fringe benefits and campus-like work environments for employees, in lieu of higher wages;

vi. the Internet leading consumers to the best prices, over all else, as offered by companies that use low prices to scale, and then, in turn, use that scale to negotiate lower input costs (due to economies of scale), and, thus, achieve even lower consumer prices and scale even bigger;

vii. Internet competition for the lowest price, placing retailers in races to the bottom to get customers at any sort of profit, where, with the Internet, consumers prioritize price over location and relationships;

viii. consumers trading-in their relationships with local retailers, familiarity with local stores, the desire for thoughtful service, and shopping near our homes, for lower prices online (i.e. the desire for the lowest prices over service, relationships, and locality);

ix. use of advertising-driven and data-sales driven business models where services are free if users provide access to their personal information;

x. stagnant consumer prices through size and economies of scale and online competition acting as a double-whammy on inflation as employees (a/k/a consumers) don’t demand higher wages because they don’t see their household costs rising, and, in turn, producer prices don’t need to rise to offset rising wages;

xi. the Fed’s existing measures of inflation don’t include, but perhaps should include, measures of asset inflation, including inflation in equities and debt instruments. (I developed “The Shifted Path of Capital” Principle to explain that, in the modern (liquidity-driven) economy, debt capital, often, flows directly from banks, to borrowers, and into assets, such as stocks and houses for investment purposes, causing their respective values to rise, instead of debt capital flowing, first, into the things that are supposed to, or that historically have caused the resulting asset appreciation, such as into companies that grow their earnings to achieve higher stock prices, and to employees who buy houses after attaining income levels that make a house affordable as a home, with such shift leading to potentially-dangerous asset inflation, without more general economy-wide producer and consumer price inflation, and even with economy-wide price disinflation or deflation, where there’s been a systematic failure by businesses to use debt capital to stimulate organic business and earnings growth, instead of for asset growth (and market share expansion through low prices).

This shifted path of capital leads to asset and debt and house inflation that displaces price and wage inflation, as capital flows directly from the Fed to banks, and from banks to borrowers who acquire assets- instead of investing in capex, innovation, productivity, and wage growth- leading to higher stock and home prices sans organic earnings growth or rising incomes.

In other words, the inflation, and the economic risks, materialize elsewhere.

A rise in the value of asset prices is not referred to as “inflation”, but is referred to as “appreciation”, and, when it becomes exuberant, a “financial stability” risk, or a “bubble”, or “capital misallocation”. But, it’s inflation. If it’s too much capital chasing too few resources (such as in the case of a shortage of public stock, or a low supply of investment grade or high yield corporate bonds, or a limited number of houses in preferred neighborhoods that can provide investors with the best ROI) causing the prices to rise too much, and causing risks to overall economic stability, then it has the same effect, and provides equal or even greater risk to the overall economy, as does troublesome consumer price inflation.

In the modern economy, a mature economic cycle means less price and wage pressures, and more asset bubbles and financial imbalances from misallocations of cheap credit. As the Fed looks at accepted economic indicators to evaluate inflationary pressures, it misinterprets signals, like a soft PCE deflator, to indicate a low level of economic risk (because of low price inflation), and then keeps rates too low for too long, as asset imbalances grow- until it’s too late to ease-out of the situation or achieve a soft landing by slowly raising interest rates, because economic growth is rapidly slowing. 

When the Fed does decide to act because it sees credit and asset bubble risks, this divergence in how debt capital has affected prices and assets (to cause price and wage stagnation, or disinflation, or de-flation vs. asset in-flation) puts the Fed into no-win scenarios. Raising interest rates where economic growth and inflation are muted, but where assets grow pricey, causes public and political outrage because the Fed is deflating assets that have been the engine of the economy (such as real estate) while pushing already low growth and low inflation even lower through higher costs of capital. The Fed’s attempts to limit systemic risk from crashing asset prices where the Fed has let asset bubbles fester is difficult where price and wage growth and overall inflation are muted, with low inflation having been exacerbated by the cheap cost of money.

In the modern economy, if the Fed fails to raise interest rates in a timely manner (by choice or by external pressures) where inflation is not justifying such action, a business cycle will still come to an end, only in a different manner- despite investors preferring to not recognize this. If growth and inflation are low and the Fed maintains low interest rates to extend business cycles, asset prices and debt will become inflated, and, instead of economic slowdowns, we get asset crashes and financial crises, which can be triggered by any variety of events.

Whether the Fed should target asset prices (stock prices, real estate prices, corporate bonds) through monetary policy, or at least track and regulate the path of capital from banks to businesses and consumers, and be able to react to problematic flows before they result in systemic risk from credit and asset bubbles, may be worth a fresh look.);

xii. growth in domestic oil production;

xiii. lower commodities prices as China demand wanes; and

xiv. global excess capacity and capital misallocations from excessive global liquidity.

Low interest rates and excessive liquidity used by companies to grow revenues at the sacrifice of profit margins, leading to lower input costs through economies of scale for ever-larger companies which then take control of their respective industries with their ability to offer the lowest prices, and, then, to a resulting reduction in competition for them for customers and labor, all while these companies fail to make capital investments, and, instead, put cheap money towards marketing and growing market share through low consumer prices, combined with a global workforce, e-commerce, and the misallocation of cheap capital, plus the slowdown of demand from China (and other nations, since the trade war began), causes low inflation (or disinflation, or deflation).

This should not be a “conundrum” for Fed Governors or the FOMC- considering that it (the FOMC) is the decider of interest rates in these delicate and anxious economic times. The facts, data, and evidence on the matter are abundant.

It would be nice if members of the United States central bank would be able to understand what causes rising inflation, low inflation, deflation, and disinflation in our economy- and not find it all to be a conundrum. One would think this to meet just the minimum threshold of knowledge that should be held by the Fed and the members of the FOMC- even as the economy has shifted. It’s been shifting for many years, already.

Consider this: How can the FOMC effectively execute monetary policy in ways that address and manage the negative effect(s) that tariffs on U.S. imports from China may have on producer and/or consumer price inflation, or on overall economic in-flation or de-flation, if there are holes in the Committee members’ general understandings of the transmission mechanisms for inflation even without tariffs as a factor at all?

From Philadelphia Fed President Harker’s comments, it seems to me that Jackson Hole wasn’t the biggest or most noteworthy hole in the Wyoming mountains last week.

_ _ _

About the Writer

Get business and personal debts restructured and reduced; collect debts owed; monetize invoices by selling receivables: https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/

Monetize your accounts receivable today with Receivable Advance™

Neil Siskind is: President of The Siskind Law Firm, https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/, focused on debt negotiation and restructuring, debt collection, debt investing, product investments, trademark licensing, and product distribution; Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment™, a think tank and advocate for children with absentee fathers; Founder of the global charity marketing initiative, Caring is Free®; Founder of National Fatherhood Day™; Owner & Conservator of The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve, over 9 acres of conserved waterfront land along New York’s majestic Hudson River; and author of The Complete Guide To The Ways To Manufacture & Sell Your Products. On December 11, 2017, in his article The Yield Curve Speaketh: Why Stocks Might Crash in Early 2018, Neil Siskind accurately predicted the February, 2018 stock crash, the largest single-day point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s history. All the stock indices are down approximately 6% for 2018. In his September 26, 2018 article, Lots of “Bull” In The Bull Market: Let’s Look At What’s “Really” Growing, Neil Siskind explained that, despite Wall Street’s bullishness, the economic data and stock market underpinnings were in decline, and the economy and stocks were at imminent risk. By the closing of markets on October 23, 2018, the S&P 500 had fallen approximately 7%, with October being the S&P’s worst month since August 2015 (and December being the S&P’s worst month ever), the Nasdaq continues to have its worst month since 2016, and is down approximately 8% from article publication, and the DJIA is having its worst monthly performance since 2008. In 2018, Neil Siskind coined the phrase “synchronized global slowth™” (or “synchronous slowth™”) to describe the occurrence or condition of multiple emerging market and developed market economies commencing a downward trajectory of economic and GDP growth, or actually contracting to a point of slow, stagnant, or negative economic and GDP growth, at simultaneous, or nearly simultaneous times, largely, or, at least in part, due to rising interest rates and/or stricter lending regulations (such as higher bank reserve requirement ratios and stricter bank balance sheet requirements) in the larger, more developed or fully developed economies, such as the United States and China, resulting in diminished liquidity in those economies, and, thus, diminished liquidity in smaller, or emerging economies, in turn. If you are in need of office space in South Florida, contact Neil Siskind about space availability at The Siskind Executive Office Complex in Boca Raton, FL.

Other Recent Articles by Neil S. Siskind:

Settle Debts, Restructure Debts, Collect Debts, Sell Receivables: Debt Solutions From The Siskind Law Firm- https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/ 

Commercial Debt Collections

Commercial Debt Collections

We handle collection actions for businesses. These are not actually “debt collections”- they are legal steps and procedures taken pursuant to a breach of a written or verbal agreement to pay a sum certain for a product or service (or failure to repay a loan).

When customers and clients who don’t pay bills are a problem, sometimes it takes an aggressive approach to let them know you are serious about being paid. Other times, it is a sensitive topic that requires tact and care, so that relationships are not disturbed and more business can be done in the future.

We handle these on a contingent fee basis (20% of amount collected). We’ll review the basis for the payment owed and develop the theory of the breach of payment and the proper approach to collect monies due.

We use best efforts to resolve outstanding receivables without litigation. Filing of lawsuits, when necessary, are on an hourly fee basis.

Your businesses can be located anywhere in the U.S. as long as the payor/customer/client/debtor is in New York State.

Contact us today to discuss the scope of our service and the monies and/or receivables owed to your company.

* If you are a business that has business debt and open payables of your own with which you are struggling, see the “Business Debt” and “Business Restructuring” pages of our website for help.

https://www.debt-solutions-attorney.com/commercial-debt-collections