”Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”— James Joyce, Ulysses
What’s a Secretary of State to do?
No sooner had Anthony Blinken made niceties with President Xi Jinping of China, than our own President Joe Biden offended him.
Blinken traveled to Beijing to quell rising military tensions between the two biggest economies on the planet.
On the docket, the spy balloon saga that just won’t quit. Then the Chinese jet that intercepted a US recon mission in international air space. Followed by the Chinese naval vessel veering into the path of a U.S. warship steaming through the South China Sea.
So what did Biden do exactly? Regarding the spy balloon, he likened Jinping to a “dictator”—without expressly saying it.
“These remarks are absurd and extremely irresponsible,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stated in a press conference.
All we can do is laugh. Xi Jinping wants to be “chairman of everything, for life,” which would make him a dictator in anyone’s book. But the American president just can’t say the word.
If we were at the press conference, we’d suggest to a stupified Mao Ning and Anthony Blinken that they don’t have much to worry about. After all, this is the same U.S. president who baffled an audience at a gun show in Pennsylvania last week by ending his speech with the patriotic saying “God save the Queen.”
The Chinese, we know, take a longview. When asked what they think about the United States, the Chinese have often referred to democracy in the West “an experiment,” and claimed the early millennium as “The Chinese Century.”
For now, China’s post-Pandemic reopening rebound, which looked hot two months ago, has frozen in its tracks. Data in the last month reveals record-high youth unemployment and shrinking credit demand. The government hasn’t commented; except to reassert Chinese President Xi Jinping’s role as the “chairman of everything.”
Today is the summer solstice. It’s the longest day of the year and the astronomical start of summer. We thought it would be a good day to rummage around the news cycle a bit and identify things that make you say “hmn,” as Grant Williams would put it.
Biden’s barb against Jinping was heard across the Atlantic in France. “Quel monde veut la Chine?” writes our colleague Bruno Bertez, at Publications Agora in France. His admonition roughly translates to “What the f’ does China want, anyway?”
Demonstrators continue to spoil summer travel plans for hundreds of thousands of wide-eyed tourists. The Egyptian obelisk at the Place de la Concorde looks more like the Arab Spring in 2010 than the place where you can find the world’s best croissants.
Back in the U.S… “We face uncertainty about the lagged effects of our tightening so far,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell asserted during a panel session at a conference in Washington yesterday. “And about the extent of credit tightening from recent banking stresses.”
Then he made another mouthful of a statement: “Today, our guidance is limited to identifying the factors we’ll be monitoring as we assess the extent to which additional policy firming may be appropriate to return inflation to 2%.”
Translation: “We’re trying to identify what data we should be looking at before we decide to hike rates again.” We suppose it’s a tad more helpful than this Powell statement from 2022 regarding the fabled 2% of old: “I think we’ll know when we get there.”
Down on the other side of the planet, inflation in Argentina passed 100% – and restaurants are jam-packed!
“It is the peso’s downfall that is fueling the restaurant industry’s upswing,” reads an article by DNYUZ. “Argentines are eager to get rid of the currency as quickly as they can, and that means the middle and upper classes are going out to eat more often—and that restaurateurs and chefs are plunging their revenues back into new restaurants.
“Crises are opportunities,” said Jorge Ferrari, a longtime restaurant owner who recently reopened a historic German eatery that had shut down during the pandemic. “There are people who buy cryptocurrencies. There are people who go toward other sorts of capital markets. This is what I know how to do.”
We’re fairly confident the men of letters at Bonner Private Research are clinking glasses of Malbec and enjoying the Paris of the Southern Hemisphere, too.
So it goes,
The Wiggin Sessions
P.S. “Generally,” we observed in this week’s session, “when there’s this much activity in the geopolitical and macroeconomic space, gold is a beneficiary, but it hasn’t really been able to break through $2,000.”
We’ve had other people on the show who would say, ‘Well, if we break through this point, then it’s going to hit $3,000. It’s totally possible.’
But how do you factor in all of these big picture items when you’re thinking about where you allocate your money, your assets? You can watch Peter Spina’s perspective on gold hitting 3000 here.
Addison Wiggin is an American writer, publisher, and filmmaker. He was the founder of Agora Financial and publisher for 18 years. An acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, his books include: Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt, The Demise of the Dollar, and The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar. Addison is also the writer and executive producer of the documentary I.O.U.S.A., an exposé on the national debt, shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his family. Addison started his latest project, The Wiggin Sessions, powered by Consilience Financial, in March 2020. He films from a homegrown studio in his basement.