Good morning. Here’s your Daily SITREP for Thursday, 28 September 2023.
- READ TIME: 4 Minutes, 3 Seconds
- Inside the Beltway
- (1) NY Targets Trump’s Business Empire Ahead of Election
- (2) Supreme Court Declines to Hear Alabama Redistricting Case
- Domestic INTSUM
- (3) Leveraged Loans Raise Financial Crisis Odds
- (4) Pennsylvania Now Closing State-Owned Liquor Stores
- Global SITREP
- (5) Goldman Sachs: Copper is the New Oil
- (6) Russia Claims U.S. and U.K. Behind Attack on Black Sea Fleet Headquarters
- (7) China and Saudi Arabia to Hold Joint Naval Drills
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
- (1) NY TARGETS TRUMP’S BUSINESS EMPIRE AHEAD OF ELECTION: New York Judge Arthur Engoron authorized New York Attorney General Letitia James to cancel business certificates for companies that hold assets the court says former President Donald Trump fraudulently inflated.
- Trump’s Lawyer, Robert Kise, said the decision was “outrageous” and Trump would appeal the decision.
- Why It Matters: As Trump looks to be the clear Republican candidate heading into 2024 and a possible threat to President Biden’s reelection, New York state officials are now trying to eliminate Trump’s ability to do business in the state and force the dissolution of up to 500 business entities owned by the Trump family. Like the other civil and criminal cases Trump faces, this seems like a personal vendetta aiming to harm Trump through lawfare. – R.C.
- (2) SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR ALABAMA REDISTRICTING CASE: The Supreme Court declined to take up an Alabama Congressional redistricting case after Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen asked the court to hear the case in an emergency application to intervene.
- Allen requested an emergency intervention after a lower court ordered the Alabama state government to redraw their Congressional map to include a second majority-minority district to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
- Why It Matters: Another majority-black district in Alabama would effectively give Democrats a guaranteed seat pickup in the House, where Republicans already have a narrow five-seat majority. This new district and the possibility Democrats could flip Republican-held seats in New York could give Democrats control of the House in 2024. – R.C.
- (3) LEVERAGED LOANS RAISE FINANCIAL CRISIS ODDS: U.S. companies took on loans at ultra-low rates in 2020, but these leveraged debt payments are now much higher, raising the chances of corporate bankruptcies and a financial crisis.
- “The No. 1 risk to leveraged loans is if we get a big slowdown in the economy,” said a distressed corporate credit manager at Westwood Financial.
- The leveraged loan default rate is already the highest since 2014, excluding the brief 2020 COVID spike.
- Why It Matters: Federal Reserve officials have forecasted that interest rates will remain at 5%+ through 2024, adding pressure to the leveraged loan market. Higher rates should spur more corporate defaults and bankruptcies, leaving banks with losses and leading to another round of bank failures. This combination of distressed or bankrupt companies and bank failures makes a 2024 financial crisis more likely. – H.B.
- (4) PENNSYLVANIA NOW CLOSING STATE-OWNED LIQUOR STORES: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Press Secretary Shawn Kelly said all state-owned Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in Philadelphia will be closed until it is safe to reopen after 18 of the state-owned liquor stores were looted overnight Tuesday.
- Why It Matters: The underlying conditions of political unrest during the 2020 riots still exist heading into 2024. Youth unemployment is high, economic recession is likely, we are heading into a presidential election that may be a literal repeat of the 2020 election, and potential foreign wars are contributing factors to likely unrest next year. These conditions, combined with lower trust in law enforcement and decreased trust and legitimacy, could push unrest in 2024 beyond what the U.S. experienced during the Summer 2020 riots. – R.C.
- (5) GOLDMAN SACHS: COPPER IS THE NEW OIL: Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs’ outgoing Global Head of Commodities Research, said that a lack of investment capital is leading to global copper shortages and will raise prices in 2024, similar to what oil did this year.
- “If you’re going to electrify the world, given all the elements in the periodic table, the only thing that can conduct electricity sufficiently is copper. [Copper has a] strong demand story, and like oil, it has underinvestment on the supply side,” Currie said.
- Mining companies cannot keep up with global copper demand, which could nearly double by 2035, according to recent reports from the International Energy Agency, Wood Mackenzie, and S&P Global.
- Why It Matters: Copper is a critical mineral required for manufacturing electric vehicle (EV) batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and the power grids that connect renewable sources to homes and businesses. Underinvestment in copper mining, a long production timeline, and governments’ green energy agenda should push copper prices up in 2024, as Jeff Currie expects. – H.B.
- (6) RUSSIA CLAIMS U.S. AND U.K. BEHIND ATTACK ON BLACK SEA FLEET HEADQUARTERS: On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine’s NATO allies of providing intelligence and directing last week’s missile attack on its naval facility in Crimea.
- A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson alleged that NATO satellite assets, reconnaissance planes, and security agencies assisted in the attack.
- Unconfirmed reports indicate that Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the U.K. and France were used in the attack.
- Why It Matters: It is highly likely that Ukraine received intelligence and operational planning support in its attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters. The increasing footprint of Western participation in the conflict is moving it from a Western proxy war to a direct NATO war against Russia. – M.M.
- (7) CHINA AND SAUDI ARABIA TO HOLD JOINT NAVAL DRILLS: China’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that China and Saudi Arabia will hold joint naval drills next month in China.
- The exercise, dubbed “Blue Sword 2023,” will occur in Guangdong province and focus on maritime counterterrorism operations.
- Why It Matters: China has brought a considerable number of oil-producing nations under its influence, including Saudi Arabia. With the U.S. Permian Basin set to diminish output, Saudi Arabia will become the major oil-producing nation, with the U.S. likely increasing its share of Saudi oil imports. Increasing military cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia could lead to a Chinese naval presence in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf and a potential direct threat to U.S. energy availability. – M.M.
— END REPORT
M.S. indicates analyst commentary from Mike Shelby
M.M. indicates analyst commentary from Max Morton
J.V. indicates analyst commentary from Jared Vaughn
R.C. indicates analyst commentary from Robert Cook
H.B. indicates analyst commentary from Harrison Burge
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