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Recap September 5: Worst Drought in 70 Years, Binance BANNED 3x, Bitcoin Fraud (Recap ep139)

In this week’s recap, Marcello talks about the worst drought in 70 years and how that is affecting the market and Binance has been banned by a third country.

U.S. added just 235K jobs in August & unemployment rate fell to 5.2% from 5.4% in July, even as the economy appeared to falter w/surging coronavirus cases. Economists expected employment growth to slow slightly in Aug to a gain of 750K jobs, amid falling consumer confidence & disruptive school closures. Declines in restaurant reservations, air travel, & other drivers of recovery raised concerns. Steep drop in job growth raises alarm about the strength of the U.S. economy & boosts political pressure on President Biden.

Celebratory gunfire resounded across Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, as Taliban fighters took control of the airport before dawn, after the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, marking the end of a 20-year war that left the Islamist militia stronger than it was in 2001. It ended with a hasty & humiliating exit for both the U.S. & its NATO allies. 10’s of 1000’s of Afghans who helped Western nations during the war were left behind & possibly 1000’s of Westerners as well.

Apple has been quietly buying dozens of companies annually, often to acquire engineers w/ expertise in particular areas or to add key tech for ongoing initiatives. Some of the firm’s largest & highest-profile acquisitions have been in the music space: It bought streaming music service & headphone maker Beats for $3B in 2014, & music-identification service Shazam for around $400M in 2017. It quietly bought Platoon in 2018, a service for helping users discover artists, for an undisclosed sum.

Fuel shortages remain an issue for the Lebanese gov’t, as it grapples w/a 2-year-long economic crisis. Warning the U.S. to stay out of legitimate international trade on Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said Iran is ready to ship additional fuel to Lebanon, in order to alleviate the shortfall, despite U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports, which were reinstated in 2018. Hezbollah, a major power player in Lebanon & a close ally of Iran, is blacklisted by most Western countries as a terrorist group.

U.S. home prices have surged nationwide, in large part due to limited supply, with the median price for new single-family homes now topping $390K & for existing homes just under $360K. Available inventory has been squeezed to record-lows & has pushed prices to new highs.
China’s factory activity grew at a slower pace in August vs July, data released Tues. showed.

Official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for August came in at 50.1, vs July’s 50.4. PMI readings above 50 represent expansion, while those below signal contraction. Meanwhile, the official non-manufacturing PMI for August came in at 47.5, in lowest reading since the height of the pandemic in early 2020.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has won a 10-year contract with the NSA; August inflation is higher than expected in the Eurozone; Taiwan offers a stark assessment of the rising threat posed by China; New Orleans suffers major power outage after Hurricane Ida.

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