bryan cranston heisenberg © Toniflap
© Toniflap

On that happy note, the third quarter (and second half) of 2020 is underway. 


Law enforcement in Hong Kong was quick to exercise powers under the new national security protocols enshrined in the city’s laws by Beijing this week.

City police on Wednesday arrested a man in a shopping area apparently for being in possession of a Hong Kong independence flag. The “suspect” was also spotted in a “FREE HONG KONG” T-shirt. He now has the dubious honor of being the first guinea pig for the new laws, which can result in life sentences for offenders found to be engaged in subversive activities or collusion with foreign elements.

“The law is a ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging above extremely few criminals who are severely endangering national security”, Zhang Xiaoming, the deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters in Beijing.

On that happy note, the third quarter (and second half) of 2020 is underway.

Volumes were subdued in Europe following a technical glitch and US futures moved lower after closing the second quarter with a flourish on Tuesday.

The macro data was less than inspiring. Tankan missed in Japan and German unemployment pushed near 3 million, a level unseen in nearly a decade. South Korea’s exports fell a fourth month (and an 18th in 19th). The decline, at 10.9%, was less pronounced than the previous two months, though, and perhaps that offers a ray of hope for the bellwether, which suffered mightily during the trade war, only to be beset by the collapse in global demand that accompanied the pandemic.

Still, the headline print was boosted by more working days this year versus last. Average daily shipments fell 19% in June, worse than the 18% drop in the comparable figure for May. Imports fell 11%. Shipments to China rose 9.5%, and semiconductor exports were unchanged.

German retail sales were one upside surprise, if you’re looking for silver linings.

In a sign of the times, gold futures are perched near $1,800, as negative real rates and massive monetary and fiscal stimulus ostensibly make the case for bullion, as long as the dollar doesn’t mount some manner of charge during any risk-off episode.

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