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Source: Zero Hedge

You know things are bad for Tesla’s “autopilot” when regulators are not only blaming Tesla, but turning on other regulators. This is what happened on Tuesday, when the NTSB criticized Tesla’s “lack of system safeguards” during a fatal 2018 Autopilot crash in California. They also faulted the “scant oversight” of U.S. regulators, according to Reuters.

The chairman of the NTSB, Robert Sumwalt, said that Tesla ignored safety recommendations issued in 2017 by the agency. “It’s been 881 days since these recommendations were sent to Tesla. We’re still waiting,” he said.

“Industry keeps implementing technology in such a way that people can get injured to killed, including this board’s recommendations intended to help them prevent such tragedies,” Sumwalt continued.

Since 2016, the company’s Autopilot has been tied to at least 3 fatal accidents. And why would Elon Musk rush to correct its behavior or pay attention to NTSB recommendations when there is no negative consequence to ignoring them?

Meanwhile, the NHTSA has been absolutely non-existent in forcing recalls or acting to sanction or regulate Tesla in any way. Recall, in late January, Senator Ed Markey said that Tesla should rebrand its driver-assist technologies and take “additional steps to ensure drivers

Source: Zero Hedge

As PeakProsperity’s Adam Taggart writes, for too many years now, the financial markets have been conditioned that “dips don’t last”. Confident that the Fed will always provide the liquidity needed to push assets higher, investors have come to believe that risk doesn’t matter.

But, after the last few days of market carnage…

The question that springs to mind is simple – Is the coronavirus the pin that will end the 10 year-long Everything Bubble?

Quite possibly, cautions Sven Henrick, technical analyst and lead market strategist for Northman Trader.

Well, covid-19 is exactly the kind of unexpected exogenous shock that central banks are powerless against. No amount of intervention by the Fed, the ECB or the PBoC will slow the spread of the virus, or force-start factories idle from workers quarantines.

So, what to expect from here? In terms of damage to market prices, we haven’t seen anything yet, predicts Sven.

And today’s failed recovery is a sign that the previously-bulletproof market ‘exuberance’ of the past decade is now losing out to ‘fear’.

Combine further spread of the virus with continued de-celeration of global trade, then “all bets are off” warns Sven.

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Source: Zero Hedge

Having already urged the American public to ‘buy the dip’, just before another 900 point drop in the Dow, President Trump has decided to take matters into his own hands – the only way he knows how.

In a double tweet this morning, Trump announced he will hold a news conference at 6pmET to put the American people straight.,

“I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 P.M. CDC representatives, and others, will be there. Thank you!”

The reason for his sudden need to address the public (aside from the 2000 points drop in the Dow) is that

“Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. “

And responding to Democrats new narrative that The Trump administration is not doing enough, he lashed out:

“Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”

One thing does make our eyebrows raise a little is the CDC official that raised what is somewhat unprecedented alerts yesterday has

Source: Zero Hedge

The Germans may have opposed closing borders in response to the outbreak in Italy, but it appears Berlin is planning to do something about the outbreak.

According to reports, the Germans are stepping up to suspend Berlin’s longstanding constitutional “debt break” and deliver the fiscal stimulus for which economists have been begging.

To try and prevent a full-blown recession as economists downgrade their projections for European economic performance, the German government is planning to temporarily suspend constitutional limits on public borrowing in order to offer debt relied to struggling municipalities.

GERMANY PLANS TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND LIMIT ON PUBLIC BORROWING

Futures jumped on the headline, as the Germans openly endorsed the prospect of a robust fiscal stimulus to buttress the global economy against any virus-related fallout.

The market should have been primed for reports of German stimulus, even if Berlin hasn’t always been thrilled with the idea: Remember back in September, when there was all that talk about a “shadow budget”?

Rumors about the plan to modify the debt brake appeared in a leaked report that hit a few hours before the official confirmation.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz plans to modify the debt brake provision

Source: Zero Hedge

With little other data to guide risk sentiment, traders remained in thrall to the barrage of coronavirus headlines with last week’s bizarre complacency now completely shattered as volatility soars.

As a result, with the global pandemic now getting worse by the day,  world stocks tumbled for the fifth straight day on Wednesday, while safe-haven gold rose back towards seven-year highs and U.S. bond yields held near record lows after governments and health authorities warned of a possible coronavirus pandemic.

Overnight, the closely watched South Korean cluster reported 115 additional cases as of 4pm, after announcing 169 as of 9am this morning, according to a statement. Among a total of 1,261 cases vs. 51 a week ago, 710 were confirmed from Daegu and 317 from neighboring North Gyeongsang province Total death toll is 12; one fatality includes Mongolian citizen.

South Korea also said 16,734 people are currently being tested for coronavirus, up from 13,880 last night. Many of them are being tested as a precaution. Also overnight, Italy

Source: Zero Hedge

Update (0750ET): While the Germans oppose closing borders in response to the outbreak in Italy, it appears Berlin has stepped up to rescue the market and placate economists begging them to roll out a fiscal stimulus program to stop the European economy from sliding into the gutter.

GERMANY PLANS TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND LIMIT ON PUBLIC BORROWING

Futures soared on the headline, which is hardly surprising, as the market has already been primed for German stimulus, even if Berlin has always held the idea at a distance. Back in September, there was all that talk about a “shadow budget”.

As sentiment plunges, WHO’s Dr. Tedros has stepped in to try and soothe rattled investors, warning that government officials, economists, infectious disease researchers and any self-styled ‘experts’ should avoid using the word ‘pandemic’ to describe the outbreak.

Yes, while it does technically meet the definition of a pandemic, that word has some seriously negative connotations which Tedros feels isn’t really appropriate here.

Italy, meanwhile, has reported its 12th death after confirmed cases soared above 300 earlier.

* * *

Update (0730ET): The UK has announced plans to start randomly testing citizens with flu-like symptoms for COVID-19. The plan is part of measures

Source: Zero Hedge

One week ago, a team of analysts at Nomura research covering the European economy made a bold prediction: Italy’s economy would enter a technical recession during Q1 as the fallout from COVID-19 reverberates across global supply chains upon which the country’s prosperous North depends.

At the time, Italy had only 3 confirmed coronavirus cases, and it appeared that the outbreak would mostly pass it by without much of a direct economic backlash. Fellow economists commiserated about this ‘aggressive’ call, and speculated about the impact that declaring a ‘technical recession’ in the eurozone’s third-largest economy might have on consumer sentiment across the Continent.

On Tuesday, that picture was looking very different. And while the call appeared aggressive a week ago, today, if anything, it might not prove weak enough.

Though the virus officially spread to the Italian South on Tuesday, it has mostly affected the affluent North, particularly the regions in the “splayed” top of the Italian ‘boot’. So far, the 100,000 Italians under army-supervised lockdown are located mostly in towns and villages. Still, the fallout For Lombardia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Piemonte could have serious repercussions. Veneto and Lombardia alone constitute two of the three

Source: Zero Hedge

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Pipelines convey fluids and gas within and between many countries and continents and in addition to making a profit for producers indubitably benefit those for whom the raw materials are destined. In India, for example, the most recent gas pipeline project is going to bring comfort to the neglected peoples of the north-east, as part of the grid being constructed to reach remote locations — which is expensive. So the government has stepped in with hundreds of millions of dollars to help complete the programme.

There are many other success stories about pipelines, but also some controversial instances of construction, as in Canada where some indigenous communities are objecting to a 600 km natural gas line in which some $5 billion is being invested. The benefits to Canada as a whole are potentially immense, but the Wet’suwet’en indigenous people of British Columbia are attempting to shut down the operation and have been joined by activists whose motives may not be altogether benign. These protestors have imposed a blockade of railways that has caused grave disruption to a vast number of passenger and freight services, thereby posing a serious threat to Canada’s overall economy. The protestors’ actions are

Source: Zero Hedge

While China may have led the charge in dragging the global automotive industry deeper into recession than it already was pre-coronavirus, equally ugly numbers are starting to pop up in other parts of the world.

For instance, the French car market has fallen a staggering 18% since the beginning of the year, demonstrating that the recession is running far and deep – and this is without the impact of the coronavirus hitting France.

Nissan West Europe Managing Director Guillaume Boisseau at a press conference outside Paris on Monday: “This is very preoccupying.”

The French sales slump is being attributed to a pull forward of sales to the end of 2019 in order to skirt new emission rules, in addition to tax modifications, according to Bloomberg.  

Boisseau expects the French market to be “slightly down” this year and Nissan has held firm on its goal to grow sales in France for the upcoming year after a 27% drop last year. Since the beginning of the year, Nissan sales in France are up 11%. We’ll see if those forecasts are revised as the coronavirus makes its way through Europe.

Meanwhile, one silver lining for France has been its

Source: Zero Hedge

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Even as the coronavirus begins to spread around the continent, EU officials have steadfastly refuse to implement border controls, insisting that the sanctity of open borders is more important.

The number of confirmed cases in Italy has soared from 3 to 322 in the space of just five days, with 10 deaths, but authorities insist that the Schengen Area, which abolishes passport checks and border controls between 26 European states, must not be compromised.

Despite 50,000 citizens in Lombardy and Veneto being under internal lockdown, no such measures have been proposed for national borders.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has refused to implement border controls, claiming it wouldn’t help stop the containment of the virus. This prompted former interior minister Matteo Salvini to demand Conte’s resignation “if he isn’t able to defend Italy and Italians.”

“We agreed to keep borders open, closing borders would be a disproportionate and ineffective measure at this time,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza also told reporters in Rome on Tuesday.

As RT highlights, borders will remain open despite Italy now being a major source of coronavirus spreading into neighboring European countries.

“Switzerland