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Weekend Round-Up

Macro Monday, hopes to kickstart Chinese economy by issuing bonds, areas in Ukraine left devastated after renewed Russian attacks, and Trump promises tax cuts if he gets back into office.

Macro Monday
Gold: According to estimates, around 212,500 tonnes of gold have ever been mined. Its believed that some two-thirds of this amount have been mined since 1950. Jewellery makes up around 45% of the above ground stock, with bars and coins accounting for around 22%.

China

Chinese authorities have begun a programme of bond issuance that they hope will kick start the economy. The bonds being issued have maturities of 30-50 years and, unlike other government debt issues, are being raised against specific “significant, urgent and challenging projects that are essential for the modernisation of the economy”.

The hope is that they can raise a trillion yuan ($140bn) in fairly short order, and the signs seem very positive that they will be able to: Earlier in the year regional banks eagerly bought long dated government bonds in a bid to diversify themselves from the volatility of the stock market and property sector, which pushed the costs of borrowing to record lows for the government.

China also has the luxury of ‘only’ having a debt to GDP ratio of about 77%, which gives them potentially a few more rounds of debt issuance of this sort of size without really moving the needle towards the red, as many Western governments have.

Russia – Ukraine

Renewed Russian attacks in Ukraine over the weekend left multiple locations in the Kharkiv area devastated. On Saturday, Russian forces attacked around five villages in Kharkiv as they advanced through Ukrainian territory. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians evacuated the region as Russian artillery, glide bombers and troops attacked.

The villages claimed to be captured by Russia are around 20 miles to the north of Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, though Ukrainian officials say that fighting continues in the villages.

The surprise Russian attack comes as many analysts consider what a Russian summer offensive may look like amid heavy casualties and shortages of material and equipment. Some Ukrainian officials are suggesting that the Russian military is looking to create a buffer zone around its Belgorod region following a series of Ukrainian attacks there.

In Moscow, over the weekend Vladimir Putin moved Sergei Shoigu from the position of Defence Minister, replacing him with the Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov.

Shoigu became Russia’s Defence Minister in 2012 having had no previous military experience. He has since come under criticism for his handling of the Russian war in Ukraine, with many arguing that his position has become increasingly untenable. He also had a tempestuous relationship with the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin where the latter accused the former of being an “elderly clown”.

Given Shoigu’s close ties with Putin however, it is expected that Shoigu will be moved to the Security Council.

Shoigu’s replacement, Belousov, has a background in economics having come from the finance ministry with some commentators commenting on how the move is indicative of the way in which the Duma is becoming increasingly concerned with how their war is impacting their domestic economy.

US

In the US: Donald Trump has said that he’ll universally cut taxes if he gets back into office next year. The tax cut pledge is often a vote winner and with Trump pledging to cut taxes across all income brackets and business taxes, he has set himself in sharp contrast to Joe Biden.

Biden has said that he’d remove the Trump era tax cuts that benefit those earning over $400k and would increase taxes on the very wealthiest and corporations in a bid to slow the swelling budget deficit. Biden’s chief economic adviser has said “we should use the 2025 tax debate as an opportunity to meet our national needs by raising revenue overall by asking the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share”.

Trump’s planned extension of his tax cuts could add as much as $4.6trillion to the federal debt pile over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

 

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