Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 24 September 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Evergrande goes quiet
- U.S. household wealth rises, credit debts too
- Cyber attacks in Germany ahead of Sunday election
- Defense funding passes with little fanfare
EVERGRANDE: Following up yesterday’s coverage of the Evergrande crisis, the real estate giant has not released a statement on the $83 million interest payment due to investors for a dollar-denominated bond. The company has another payment due next Wednesday, and a lack of transparency already developing has many investors worried that the default of Evergrande on their $300 billion debt has begun. Thirty days must pass without payment before the company officially defaults, which would be October 23rd, 2021, if Evergrande has not yet paid interest due on its bonds from Thursday. While China has not announced any plans to intervene, they may nationalize the company, driving market participants to worry about the overheating and overleveraged real estate market in China. Up to 30% of Chinese GDP can be attributed to real estate markets and other related sectors. -T.W.
WEALTH: Total household net worth across the United States increased by $5.85 trillion from $135.85 trillion in Q1 of 2021 to $141.7 trillion in Q2 of 2021, a 4.3% increase. A majority of the growth comes from market performance, with real estate valuations coming in just behind. Shadowing the addition to net worth for Americans is the rise of debt. Consumer debt increased by 7.9% from Q1 to Q2 for a new total of $17.3 trillion, as released by the Federal Reserve. Contributing most to the increase in debt is an annual increase year-over-year to credit debt of 8.6% and an 8% increase in mortgage debt nationally. -T.W.
GHOSTWRITER: The European Commission formally accused Russia of executing a multi-year hybrid cyber attack and information operations campaign. In a statement, the European Commission said: “EU Member States have observed malicious cyber activities, collectively designated as Ghostwriter, and associated these with the Russian state.” Germany remains the current focus of Russian cyber activity as their parliamentary elections are on Sunday. Reports of compromised devices, email accounts, official document forgeries, and “fake news websites” are targeting Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and the Social Democratic Party. (AC: Russian provocations of the European information environment are ongoing. In recent months, however, the effectiveness of recent propaganda has likely driven Germans to the streets in protest of their government. The Russians expect a weak Germany after Sunday’s elections, to limit Western interference on the continent. – D.M.)
NDAA: Late Thursday evening, the House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act. Notable measures included the continuing sales of military equipment to law enforcement agencies and continued funding of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). Now the Senate’s version will be voted on and reconciled with the House. Other concerns like the discharge status of troops rejecting medical mandates survived the House version and will likely be included in the version sent to President Biden. (AC: The hundreds of amendments and additional funding for Pacific operations and an increased focus on cybersecurity continues to point toward high-end conflict with China. Lawmakers have set the stage for a complete military reformation from counterinsurgency to full spectrum operations. Rep. Garamendi’s (D-CA) wanton distaste for the GBSD and its continued funding signifies a prescient threat to the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missiles. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: A storm system east of Bermuda is slowly moving northwest toward the U.S., but is not expected to consolidate into a tropical depression, instead bringing rains and thunderstorms to the East Coast. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Sam formed in the mid-Atlantic and is headed for the Caribbean. No projection is available for U.S. landfall, currently.
In today’s Early Warning, Dustin looks at the Capitol Hill investigations into the 6 Jan. protests. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe