Market highlights

As the nation reflects on the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women this Memorial Day, and as Q2 enters its third and final month with spring soon yielding to summer, approximately 40% of all Americans have received their vaccinations, two new airlines (Breeze, Avelo) are starting operations under the anticipation of increased air travel, and the Chinese government is authorizing a new policy of three children per family to provide an economic foundation for its aging population.

Against these scenarios, the Dow and the S&P 500 made positive gains during May while the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 regressed or remained in stasis. Yields on the 10-year Treasuries also pulled back, Comex gold continued to climb out of its early spring shadows, Texas crude stayed firmly in the $60 - $70/barrel price range, and retail gasoline prices edged upward. European markets made solid gains for the fourth month in a row, and Asian markets once again pointed upward.


U.S. Markets

Gaining over +1.5% since April, the Dow Jones Industrial Average enjoyed May’s flowers with 34,529 at month’s end, a gain of +655 points and a YTD of +11.5%. Following the steps of its big brother, the S&P 500 gained +23 points by chinning the bar at 4,204, scoring a YTD of +11%. Showing losses for the first time this year, the NASDAQ lost -214 points and settled at 13,748 with a YTD of +6%, down from 8% last month. The Russell 2000 still holds the blue ribbon YTD at +13% in spite of only picking up +2 points with its close of 2,268.



European and Asian Markets

Ascending for the fourth month in a row, European markets were showing steady annual gains. Britain’s FTSE index added +53 points for an +8% YTD, ending the month at 7,022. The German DAX added a solid +384 points and took the weekend off at 15,519 and a +12% YTD. The Paris CAC contemplated summer vacation with a close of 6,484, up +215 points and a Best In Show YTD at +14.5%. Asian markets also did quite well as the Shanghai Stock Exchange enjoyed a big jump of +154 points, a gain of +4.5% during the month, giving it a YTD of +3.5% when it closed at 3,600. Adding +400 points, the Hang Seng index grew to 29,124 and celebrated its +6.5% YTD. Tokyo’s Nikkei regained almost all its April losses, increasing +337 points for a month-end close of 29,149, and a +5.5% YTD.


News from China

“This summer will see the first joint trip to Beijing by a German and French leader, officials in Berlin and Paris confirmed. It would be Merkel’s 13th and final trip to China as chancellor—a farewell visit and a handover of sorts to Macron, who will be entrusted with keeping the EU’s relationship with China on track when the Merkel era ends. Other EU member states will have to accept that Berlin and Paris are taking the lead—and so will the Biden administration. The Americans don’t have a monopoly on talks with China and will just have to get used to this. A senior French diplomat put it more bluntly: “We refuse to be swept up in the American crusade against China. This is what Paris and Berlin fear most, and you are seeing both capitals push back against that narrative. A joint trip will send a strong message.” Source: German Marshal Fund, Asia.


Fixed Income

There was no meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee during May; its next scheduled meeting is June 15 – 16. Regarding the possibility of increasing inflation leading to a rise in the lending rates, CNBC reported on May 28: “Investors have been keeping tabs on inflation data, as the Fed has said it will let it run hotter, arguing that any rising price pressures are “transitory”. The 10-year rate rose to top 1.6% in the previous session, as the number of weekly jobless claims filed last week came in lower than expected. The U.S. Department of Labor said there were 406,000 initial jobless claims last week, below the 425,000 forecasts by economists polled by Dow Jones. Unemployment data has been closely monitored by investors, given that the Federal Reserve is seeking a fuller recovery in the labor market before considering tightening monetary policy. Despite rising inflation fears, yields will exit May about where they started the month. The 10-year Treasury rate closed out April at 1.63%.” The rate closed out on May 30 at 1.62%.



After dropping in value during January, February and March, gold showed a slight improvement in April but one heck of a whopper improvement in May as Comex gold jumped +$140 per ounce and closed at $1,905, a YTD of only +.75% but a monthly gain of over +7%. Reasons for this gain were cited by Bloomberg on May 30: “Gold headed for the biggest monthly advance since July, with inflation risks in focus ahead of key U.S. jobs data due later this week that will offer clues on the economic recovery. Some Federal Reserve officials have said that recent price pressures are to be expected as the economy reopens amid pent-up demand, and should prove temporary as supply glitches abate. The PCE price index -- which the Fed uses for its inflation target -- rose 3.6% from a year earlier, the biggest jump since 2008. The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report scheduled for release on Friday augurs a pivotal moment for investors to assess whether surprisingly tepid job gains seen last month were a momentary blip or the start of something more persistent. Bullion has erased its 2021 losses, and is one of the best-performing metals in May, amid signs of rising inflation and a potentially uneven economic recovery due to the resurgence in coronavirus cases in some countries. Investor interest has also returned, with hedge funds and other large speculators boosting their net-long position in gold to the highest since early January, while holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds have climbed in May following three straight months of declines. “It’s been a great month for gold price performance for a number of reasons -- a weaker U.S. dollar, slightly lower bond yields and a surprise CPI print in the U.S. started to spark inflation fears,” said John Feeney, business development manager at Sydney-based bullion dealer Guardian Gold Australia. “There is also growing concern over a new wave of Covid in Southeast Asia, which is adding to investors fears around a slower global recovery.”

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil increased +$1.62 per barrel to solidify its position in the $60 – $70 price range, and a YTD of +27%; it has been in this price range for four months, since February 2021. A retail gallon of regular gasoline was priced at the national average of $3.045, up +8 cents and increasing +29% YTD over its December 31 price of $2.158, an increase of almost +89 cents per gallon since the start of the year.


U.S. Economy

GDP: The Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its third estimate for Q1 in late June. By way of a recap, this information was available previously: “Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2020, real GDP increased 4.3 percent.”

Job Growth: The most recent report on employment was published on May 7 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the New York Times, “April’s anemic job creation was so out of line with what other indicators have suggested that it will take some time to unravel the mystery. It’s a little secret of the news business that for some anticipated events, like a Supreme Court decision or the death of a prominent figure, we pre-write much of an article or different versions of them so that we can publish quickly once news occurs. Which is why there is now a trashed draft of this article explaining how the April jobs numbers show what a hyper-speed economic recovery looks like. It was completely wrong. Employers added only 266,000 jobs last month, the government reported Friday morning, not the million or so that forecasters expected. The unemployment rate actually edged up, to 6.1 percent. The details of the new numbers are messy. Temporary employment fell sharply (down 111,000 jobs), while hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector was robust (up 331,000 jobs). It will take time to figure out why so many mainstream forecasts were so wrong — the modest job creation is out of whack with what other indicators have suggested — and whether some part of the weak results is more statistical aberration than reality. But if robust job growth doesn’t return quickly, it will be very concerning. The economy is still short 8.2 million jobs from its February 2020 level. The great hope has been that employers would fill that gap rapidly, bringing the United States back to its full potential in short order. Even if you view April as an outlier, job growth has averaged only 524,000 a month for the last three months, a pace that if continued would imply a long slog back to full health. It certainly does not signal the kind of rapid boom that many forecasters have started to expect, and that the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve are hoping for. These numbers are consistent with the story many business leaders are telling, of severe labor shortages — that demand has surged back but employers cannot find enough workers to fulfill it, at least not at the wages they are accustomed to paying. Many employers and conservatives argue that the expanded federal unemployment benefits have been too generous (they were extended as part of the recent pandemic rescue aid package and are scheduled to expire in September). Citing the jobs report, the Chamber of Commerce on Friday urged an immediate end to the $300 weekly unemployment benefit supplement. April’s slow job growth was accompanied by significant pay increases. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.7 percent, not too shabby on its own. And in certain sectors the pay raises were blockbusters, including a 4.8 percent rise in leisure and hospitality average hourly earnings — in a single month. It’s worth noting that the labor force is growing — an additional 430,000 Americans were either working or looking for work in April — so it’s pretty much the opposite of the situation after the 2008 recession, when wages were growing slowly and millions were leaving the labor force. Still, it remains possible that many people remain reluctant to jump back into work for a variety of other reasons: having to care for children whose classes are remote; fearing the coronavirus; reconsidering their careers. Back in 2010, the Obama administration introduced one of the more unfortunate economic messaging concepts of recent decades, announcing that a “Recovery Summer” was underway. It became a punchline, because while the economy was expanding, Americans were still far worse off than they’d been before the 2008 recession, and improvement was coming very slowly. That’s one outcome the Biden administration desperately wants to avoid.” Neil Irwin, NYT reporter


Existing Housing Sales: The National Association of Realtors reported the following information on May 21: “Existing-home sales waned in April, marking three straight months of declines. All but one of the four major U.S. regions witnessed month-over-month drops in home sales, but each registered double-digit year-over-year gains for April. Total existing-home sales slipped 2.7% from March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.85 million in April. Sales overall jumped year-over-year, up 33.9% from a year ago (4.37 million in April 2020). "Home sales were down again in April from the prior month, as housing supply continues to fall short of demand," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "We'll see more inventory come to the market later this year as further COVID-19 vaccinations are administered and potential home sellers become more comfortable listing and showing their homes. The falling number of homeowners in mortgage forbearance will also bring about more inventory. Despite the decline, housing demand is still strong compared to one year ago, evidenced by home sales from this January to April, which are up 20% compared to 2020. The additional supply projected for the market should cool down the torrid pace of price appreciation later in the year." The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $341,600, up 19.1% from April 2020 ($286,800), as every region recorded price increases. This is a record high and marks 110 straight months of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of April amounted to 1.16 million units, up 10.5% from March's inventory and down 20.5% from one year ago (1.46 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.4-month supply at the current sales pace, slightly up from March's 2.1-month supply and down from the 4.0-month supply recorded in April 2020. These numbers continue to represent near-record lows. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.
Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in April, down from 18 days in March and from 27 days in April 2020. Eighty-eight percent of the homes sold in April 2021 were on the market for less than a month. First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in April, down from 32% in March and 36% in April 2020. NAR's 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2020 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%. "First-time buyers in particular are having trouble securing that first home for a multitude of reasons, including not enough affordable properties, competition with cash buyers and properties leaving the market at such a rapid pace," Yun said. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17% of homes in April, up from 15% in March and 10% in April 2020. All-cash sales accounted for 25% of transactions in April, up from both 23% in March and 15% in April 2020.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in April, equal to March's percentage but down from 3% in April 2020. According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.06% in April, down from 3.08% in March. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%. Yun expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain below 3.5% in 2021. Single-family home sales dropped to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.13 million in April, down 3.2% from 5.30 million in March, and up 28.9% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $347,400 in April, up 20.3% from April 2020. Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 720,000 units in April, up 1.4% from March and up 84.6% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $300,400 in April, an increase of 12.6% from a year ago.”

New Home Sales: The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for April 2021. “Sales of new single‐family houses in April 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000, according to
estimates released jointly today. This is 5.9 percent below the revised March rate of 917,000, but is 48.3 percent above the April 2020 estimate of 582,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2021 was $372,400. The average sales price was $435,400. The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 316,000. This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate. The May report is scheduled for release on June 23, 2021.”

unnamed-Jun-14-2021-03-22-25-54-PMManufacturing: “U.S. factory activity gathered speed in early May amid strong domestic demand, but backlogs of uncompleted work are piling up as manufacturers struggle to find raw materials and labor, boosting costs for both businesses and consumers. Though other data on Friday showed sales of previously owned homes dropping to a 10-month low in April as an acute shortage of houses drove prices to a record high, they remained well above their pre-pandemic level. The housing market and manufacturing have led the economy's recovery from the COVID-19 recession, which started in February 2020. "The economic recovery continues," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JP Morgan in New York. Data firm IHS Markit said its flash U.S. manufacturing PMI increased to 61.5 in the first half of this month. That was the highest reading since October 2009, and followed a final reading of 60.5 in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dipping to 60.2 in early May. A reading above 50 indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy. Demand shifted to goods from services as the pandemic kept Americans at home, causing supply constraints. The virus also disrupted labor at manufacturers and their suppliers, leading to raw material shortages across industries. More than a third of the population has been vaccinated, allowing the broader economy to reopen. While that, together with nearly $6 trillion in pandemic relief provided by the government over the past year, is unleashing pent-up demand for services, appetite for goods remains healthy. According to IHS Markit "manufacturers highlighted that strain on capacity and raw material shortages are expected to last through 2021." It noted that the supply crunch was raising production costs for manufacturers, who "made efforts to pass higher cost burdens on to clients." The IHS Markit survey's measure of prices paid by manufacturers rose to the highest level since July 2008. Federal Reserve officials generally view the supply chain bottlenecks as transitory and expect them to temporarily drive inflation above the U.S. central bank's 2% target. There is also acknowledgment that the bottlenecks could take longer to ease.

Minutes of the Fed's April 27-28 policy meeting published on Wednesday showed "a number of participants remarked that supply chain bottlenecks and input shortages may not be resolved quickly," and that this "could put upward pressure on prices beyond this year. These officials also "noted that in some industries, supply chain disruptions appeared to be more persistent than originally anticipated." According to IHS Market, backlogs of work accumulated early this month at the fastest pace in 14 years. Its measure of new orders increased. Though factories tried to recruit more workers, the pace of hiring was the slowest in five months.” Source: Reuters, May 21, 2021.

Exports: The latest data on exports is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for March 2021. “Exports of goods increased $11.7 billion to $142.9 billion in March. Exports of goods on a Census basis increased $11.7 billion. Industrial supplies and materials increased $5.2 billion. Nonmonetary gold increased $3.4 billion.”

Imports: The newest information about imports was reported on May 4 by the Wall Street Journal based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis: “Consumers and a fresh round of stimulus money pushed demand for U.S. imported goods to a record high in March, further expanding the trade deficit. Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion for the month, fueled by higher shipments of items including toys, furniture, cellphones, automobiles and semiconductors. The previous record for imports, on a seasonally but not inflation adjusted basis, was recorded in October 2018 when the U.S. purchased foreign goods and services worth $266.72 billion.”

unnamed-Jun-14-2021-03-26-20-10-PMRetail Sales: “U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in April as the boost from stimulus checks faded, but an acceleration is likely in the coming months amid record savings and a reopening economy. The report from the Commerce Department on Friday also showed retail sales in March were much stronger than previously estimated, setting consumer spending on a higher growth path heading into the second quarter. There were also signs that Americans were starting to shift their spending from goods to services like restaurants and bars, with more than a third of the population vaccinated against COVID-19.
"There will be momentum going into the second quarter for economic growth because sales were off the charts in March," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York. The unchanged reading in retail sales last month followed a 10.7% surge in March, the second-largest increase on record and an upward revision from the previously reported 9.7% increase. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would rise 1.0%. Retail sales surged 51.2% on a year-on-year basis. A 2.9% rise in motor vehicles purchases was offset by declines in spending elsewhere. Sales at clothing stores tumbled 5.1%. There were also decreases in sales at sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores. Sales at building material stores slipped 0.4%. Online retail sales fell 0.6%. But receipts at electronics and appliance stores rose 1.2%. Sales at furniture stores dropped 0.7%. Consumers also increased spending at restaurants and bars, leading to a 3.0% rise in receipts. That followed a 13.5% jump in March. Sales at restaurants and bars are 116.8% higher compared to April 2020. Vaccinated Americans are patronizing restaurants and bars after being cooped up at home for more than a year. Retail sales account for the goods component of consumer spending, with services such as healthcare, education, travel and hotel accommodation making up the other portion. Households have accumulated at least $2.3 trillion in excess savings during the coronavirus pandemic, which should underpin spending this year. "We are going to see more and more people switching a greater proportion of their spending away from 'things', which are picked up by retail sales, towards 'experiences' which are reflected in broader consumer spending," said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING in New York. Many qualified households received additional $1,400 checks in March, which were part of the White House's $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package approved early that month. Some economists said the neutral retail sales report could ease financial market concerns about inflation which were fanned by reports this week showing strong increases in consumer and producer prices in April. Higher prices are starting to grab consumers' attention, clouding their perception of the economic outlook, a separate report from the University of Michigan showed on Friday. But record savings could provide a buffer against inflation.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales dropped 1.5% last month after an upwardly revised 7.6% increase in March. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. They were previously estimated to have shot up 6.9% in March. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, expanded at a 10.7% annualized rate in the first quarter, adding 7.02 percentage points to the economy's 6.4% annualized growth pace. Much of the surge in consumer spending last quarter occurred in March, which set a higher growth base for consumption heading into the second quarter. Economists maintained their estimates for double-digit growth in consumer spending in the second quarter. Even if retail sales do not rebound much in the months ahead, spending on services will more than compensate for it. "Retail sales growth will be solid through the rest of this year," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "Consumers have billions of dollars of stimulus payments saved up, and will gradually spend those funds over the next couple of years." But there are concerns that labor and raw material shortages, which are hampering production at factories, could weigh on retail sales. Ports also do not have enough workers to offload ships, delaying deliveries of imported consumer goods. Businesses depleted inventory in the first quarter and are struggling to restock. A separate report from the Federal Reserve on Friday showed manufacturing production rose moderately in April, with motor vehicle output declining amid a global semiconductor shortage. "The recovery in output is still badly lagging consumption and, with shortages becoming more acute and broad-based, that situation is only going to get worse in the coming months," said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.” Source: Reuters, May 14, 2021. 

Consumer Prices: “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.8 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.2 percent before seasonal adjustment. This is the largest 12-month increase since a 4.9-percent increase for the period ending September 2008. The food index increased 0.4 percent in April. The index for food at home also rose 0.4 percent over the month as all six major grocery store food group indexes increased. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.8 percent in April as the index for fresh fruits increased 1.5 percent. The index for dairy and related products rose 0.6 percent, and the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.5 percent over the month. The index for cereals and bakery products increased 0.4 percent and the index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.3 percent in April. The index for other food at home rose 0.1 percent over the month. The food away from home index continued to rise, increasing 0.3 percent in April. The food at home index increased 1.2 percent over the past 12 months. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period. The largest increase was the fruits and vegetables index, which rose 3.3 percent. Several groups posted increases of less than 1 percent, including dairy and related products (0.6 percent), other food at home (0.4 percent), nonalcoholic beverages (0.2 percent), and cereals and bakery products (0.1 percent). The index for food away from home rose 3.8 percent over the last year. The energy index declined slightly in April falling 0.1 percent after rising in each of the last 10 months. The gasoline index declined 1.4 percent in April, also ending a string of ten consecutive increases. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 2.0 percent in April.) Other major energy component indexes increased in April. The index for electricity increased 1.2 percent and the index for natural gas rose 2.4 percent over the month, its third consecutive increase. The energy index rose 25.1 percent over the past 12 months. The gasoline index rose 49.6 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending January 2010. The index for natural gas increased 12.1 percent, and the index for electricity rose 3.6 percent over the same period. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent in April. A 10.0-percent increase in the index for used cars and trucks was the largest contributor, but many indexes increased substantially. The shelter index rose 0.4 percent in April. The indexes for owners’ equivalent rent and for rent both increased 0.2 percent, while the index for lodging away from home rose sharply, increasing 7.6 percent. The index for airline fares also rose sharply in April, increasing 10.2 percent. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 4.2 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 267.054 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.8 percent prior to seasonal adjustment. The Consumer Price Index for May 2021 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
Consumer Sentiment: “The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® held steady in May, following a gain in April. The Index now stands at 117.2 (1985=100), down marginally from 117.5 in April. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—increased from 131.9 to 144.3. However, the Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to 99.1 in May, down from 107.9 last month. “After rebounding sharply in recent months, U.S. consumer confidence was essentially unchanged in May,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, suggesting economic growth remains robust in Q2. However, consumers’ short-term optimism retreated, prompted by expectations of decelerating growth and softening labor market conditions in the months ahead. Consumers were also less upbeat this month about their income prospects—a reflection, perhaps, of both rising inflation expectations and a waning of further government support until expanded Child Tax Credit payments begin reaching parents in July. Overall, consumers remain optimistic, and confidence should remain resilient in the short term, as vaccination rates climb, COVID-19 cases decline further, and the economy fully reopens.” Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in May. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” fell from 19.4 percent to 18.7 percent, but the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” also declined, from 24.5 percent to 21.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” climbed from 36.3 percent to 46.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.7 percent to 12.2 percent. Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook waned in May. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 33.1 percent to 30.3 percent, while the proportion expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 12.1 percent to 14.8 percent. Consumers were also less upbeat about the job market. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 31.7 percent to 27.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.4 percent last month to 17.3 percent in May. Regarding short-term income prospects, 14.5 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, down from 17.4 percent in April. The proportion expecting their incomes to decrease also fell, from 10.5 percent in April to 9.3 percent in May.” Source: May 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®.

Interesting News

“China has infamously built islands and laid controversial maritime claims to the South China Sea, but Beijing may have another reason to seek possession of those waters, beyond any sheer penchant for territorial expansion. The seabed off the South China Sea contains an abundant supply of small lumps of minerals known as polymetallic nodules, important rare-earth minerals in producing advanced electronics and batteries. China has developed the most advanced deep-sea extraction technology in the world, and its ability to harvest polymetallic nodules and the rare-earths within them is unparalleled. With the emerging mining code coming out of the International Seabed Authority, the best way for China to ensure continued access to these seabed minerals and an offshore supply of rare-earths would be to treat these waters as sovereign territory. China sought to leverage its existing advantage in rare-earths supply in the early 2010s, cutting its export limits, only to see other countries boost their own rare-earth mining. The speculation now is that China likely wants to head off international competition from other rare-earth producers, meet an expanding domestic need while continuing to dominate the global market and find an alternative to digging more mines on the mainland. Source: The Diplomat.


Final Reflections

With an eye toward the approaching summer months and the urge to enjoy time with family and friends after a long time in forced hibernation, do so with care and mindfulness that we are not quite out of the tunnel yet. Everyone at Carlton Wealth wishes you the reflective peace that comes with confidence in our collective strength through kindness to each other. 


Joseph Maas

Information contained herein is based on data obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however, such information has not been verified by Carlton Financial Group, LLC d/b/a Carlton Wealth or Synergy Financial Management, LLC. The information provided has been prepared and distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy or an offer of advisory services.

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