It was the night before the Fist Bump summit

We look forward to President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia tomorrow. He will take a historic flight from Tel Aviv, which is truly a wonderful thing, but what happens next is anyone’s guess.

There is a lot of speculation that Biden will try to avoid shaking hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which is unlikely to be a great way to start negotiations. Maybe it will be known as Fist Bump Summit. Or maybe Biden will resort to tremor hands with the air again. But again, what is traded, if anything, and why? Biden indicated that the purpose of this visit is to strengthen security and other political issues, not oil. But we all know that what would really benefit the United States is if Biden convinces the key OPEC nation to pump in more crude.

Yet this premise is, of course, absurd. America has vast untapped energy resources at home that we are not even trying to access right now; and Biden, perhaps out of fear of the Democratic Party’s green base, generally doesn’t seem interested in changing that. So will he ask the brutal (but slowly modernizing) regime hated by his base to pump more? Maybe that will work.

Moreover, it is unclear whether the Saudis are even capable of bringing more oil to the world market, which would trickle down to America and provide at least some relief at the pump. So what’s really the point of this visit anyway? Maybe we’ll never know, and many of you won’t ever really care either.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right) and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attend the 39th Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 9, 2018. (Bandar Algaloud/Getty Images)

On the bright side, the Biden administration recently expanded offshore oil exploration after the West Virginia vs. EPA decision rendered by the Supreme Court a few weeks ago. Yet, characteristic of the Biden presidency, this milquetoast effort satisfies no one. The Greens resent his insufficient attempts at climate change activism, and the Conservatives believe he is not doing enough to renew our efforts for energy independence.

Unemployment claims came in at around 244,000 today, a slight increase from last week. Those numbers were right in the middle of the projections, providing a minor victory for the struggling economic forecasting industry.

The producer price index (PPI) rose to 11.3% from a year ago, close to the record high of 11.6% set in March. The PPI is up 1.1% since May. Energy costs are almost entirely responsible for the increase. There were a few small bright spots in the data, including a rapid drop in chicken eggs and a sharp drop in iron and steel.

Bank of America lowered its 2022 target for the S&P 500 from 4,500 to 3,600. The mega-bank predicts a recession this year.

Overall, things are not looking good. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon summed it up on Thursday: “Geopolitical tensions, high inflation, declining consumer confidence, uncertainty about how rates should rise and unprecedented quantitative tightening and their effects on global liquidity, combined with the war in Ukraine and its adverse effects on global energy and food prices will most likely have negative consequences for the global economy at some point.

And with the re-emergence of coronavirus slowdowns and lockdowns, many Americans are being forced to succumb.


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