Friday, 11 March 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami.

Baltic Dry Index. 1538 +66

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000. Revised due to QE.

The big news today is the massive earthquake that hit in the Pacific off Japan, and the tsunami warning it’s spawned across the Pacific. It’s a time to ride out the weekend in cash and precious metals. Our sympathy and prayers go out to all affected and suffering loss. At this point it’s impossible to know how this will impact a wobbly global economy, if at all, but caution is the preferred investment stance until the situation clarifies.

March 11, 2011, 3:18 a.m. EST

Powerful earthquake shakes Japan

Tsunami hits Miyagi prefecture; Buildings shake in Tokyo

TOKYO (MarketWatch) – A powerful earthquake shook northeastern Japan on Friday, causing buildings to sway in Tokyo and triggering a tsunami alert.

The quake caused glass to fall out of the windows of some older buildings in central Tokyo and construction cranes on building sites to teeter violently. Streets in the financial district of Otemachi and the government district of Kasumigaseki were filled with people evacuated from office buildings, unable to reach family on cell phones, and unable to return home because subway services stopped.

Government media firm NHK broadcast live images of a tsunami hitting Miyagi prefecture in Sendai area, with the onrushing water engulfing farmland areas. It was not was clear whether there were any fatalities associated with the destructive wave.

Kyodo reported that a 10-meter tsunami was observed at Sendai port, in Sendai, at around 3:55 local time.

The magnitude 8.9 temblor struck at 2:46 p.m. local time and was centered near the east coast of Honshu, about 231 miles northeast of Tokyo, according a revised reading put out by the U.S. Geological Survey.


• Japan hit by vast 8.9 magnitude earthquake, 30ft tsunami
• At least 19 dead, dozens injured
• 1000 times more powerful than Christchurch quake
• Tokyo 'shut down', four million without power
• Google launches 'people finder'
• Economic fears for world economic power

In Jasmine revolution news, yesterday it was the Saudis turn to fire rubber bullet, tear gas, and to contact the Swiss bankers about putting some cash beyond the reach of asset seizures. Stay long precious metals, we haven’t seen anything yet, I suspect. A long difficult west threatening decade lies ahead I suspect. If the Dow collapses 200 points because 200 disaffected Saudis gather to get shot at, what happens when 10,000 of them show up after Friday’s prayers?

March 10, 2011, 5:02 p.m. EST

Dow slides below 12,000 after Saudi report

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks closed with broad, steep losses Thursday after rumblings of unrest in Saudi Arabia compounded economic worries abroad and in the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,985, -228.48, -1.87%)   closed under 12,000 for the first time since Jan. 31, falling 228.48 points, or 1.9%, to 11,984.61.

Pressure on the major indexes intensified late in the day with reports that Saudi Arabian police fired rubber bullets to disperse about 200 Shiite protesters in the eastern town of Qatif, injuring at least three. Major indexes had already been lower after a downgrade of Spain’s government debt, worry about trade in China and a disappointing read on U.S. employment.


In other news, with Italy sinking with Libyan dictator Gaddafi, Moody’s put the boot into Spain. Fiat Euros anyone? Stay long gold and silver. Our present decade will be unlike any other anyone’s lived through.

Spain downgrade sparks storm over rating agencies

Moody's has reignited the storm of controversy over the power of rating agencies after it downgraded Spain, and warned that the bank clean-up will cost vastly more that claimed.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor 8:41PM GMT 10 Mar 2011

The move comes a day before a crucial summit of EMU leaders to thrash out a "grand deal" intended to create workable machinery for the euro and end the debt crisis once and for all.

Moody's cut Spain's credit by one notch to Aa2 and said Madrid's estimates of €20bn (£17.2bn) of fresh capital needed to rebuild the banks and cajas is too low. "The overall cost is likely to be nearer €40bn to €50bn," rising to as much as €120bn in a "stressed scenario".

Moody's report raises fresh doubts over Spain's ability to fend off contagion as the bond spreads on Greek, Irish, and Portuguese debt reach post-EMU highs.


We end for the day and the weekend, wondering if finally it’s “let’s make a deal time in London. So far, on both sides of the Atlantic, no bankster or great vampire squid has yet been discomforted by the wrecking of capitalism in 2008, let alone gone to jail. Poor Bernie is lonely in Camp Fed and needs company. Downwardly mobile ex-billionaires are usually fair game for deal makers. So who’s wearing a wire? Who’s call is bugged, and who’s meeting is being taped? Did so and so really shred the papers as ordered? Kaput thing rolls on into a starring role in London. God’s work is coming under the devil’s scrutiny, it appears.

Tchenguiz brothers on bail as police probe widens

Officers from the Serious Fraud Office and the City of London Police sifted through documents in Vincent Tchenguiz's Mayfair offices for a second day in connection with their probe into the collapse of Kaupthing, the Icelandic bank.

By Louise Armitstead 6:10AM GMT 11 Mar 2011

Both Tchenguiz brothers were released on police bail late on Wednesday, along with seven other men who were questioned by police in the wake of the dawn raids on Wednesday morning.

The Icelandic public prosecutor told The Daily Telegraph: "The questioning of the two individuals continued today in connection with the British investigation. The men were released last night[Wednesday] but returned today[Thursday] on request. They are not in detention and no charges have been brought."

Sources close to Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz insisted that they were "both very relaxed" and "confident that no charges will be brought."

But behind the scenes fresh teams of lawyers were galvanised to add to the Tchenguiz team of advisers, which is being led by Burton Copeland.

Osborne Clarke, a law firm that has advised them on property deals before, was one firm to have been called-up in the wake of the SFO swoop.

The extra help has been called upon to prepare in case for what is expected to be a wide and thorough probe. The brother's financial affairs are complicated.

According to documents filed at Companies House, Robert Tchenguiz is currently director of 172 companies, he has resigned from 136 while a further 210 have been dissolved. Vincent holds 143 directorships; 233 are resigned; 207 have been dissolved.

Their main holding company is Rotch Group, which they set up as a property financing firm in 1982 but which has since morphed into a more complex empire. For instance, both brothers are directors of Rotch Investments; Rotch Financial and Rotch Properties. Robert's main investment vehicle is R20, while Vincent has Consensus Group.

Since the financial crisis, Robert has been forced to sell down most of his high profile business assets – including his stakes in J Sainsbury, Travelodge and Mitchells & Butlers. Vincent added Peverel, a UK property manager, to his Consensus 2007.

The SFO and City Police have refused to discuss the extent of their probe. They are focusing on the collapse of Kaupthing, Iceland's biggest bank, which helped fund the brothers deals. Robert was Kaupthing's biggest client having drawn loans worth around £1.7bn.

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday, final figures were: Registered 41.21 Moz, Eligible 61.86 Moz, Total 103.07 Moz.


Crooks and Scoundrels Corner.

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, the bankster who crashed the Royal Bank of Scotland. No wonder he seeks to hide from the glare of public scrutiny. Today we present Sir Fred Goodwin crawling out from his rock. Thankfully Britain still has Parliamentary privilege to thwart the ludicrous new laws that shield the guilty from public scrutiny and free speech comment, though Brussels will soon enough try to stop this British freedom. Parliamentary rights are already under attack by UK courts which have recently moved against the supremacy of Parliament by trying crooked MPs in courts of the land rather than in the court of Parliament itself. Soon enough maverick MPs will come under trumped up charges before hand picked judges the better to serve the UK government and its masters in Brussels. For this did our ancestors fight Nazi germany?

Sir Fred Goodwin, RBS chief, takes out gagging order

Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has obtained a secret super-injunction banning the publication of information about him, an MP has disclosed.

By Steven Swinford 6:28AM GMT 11 Mar 2011

The existence of the injunction was revealed by John Hemming, a back-bench Liberal Democrat MP, during a business debate in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

His comments are protected by parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot face court proceedings for revealing the injunction's existence.

His question raised speculation yesterday about the nature of the information which Sir Fred is trying to protect. The Daily Telegraph is prevented from disclosing any details under the terms of the injunction.

It has also led to questions about the secretive nature of super-injunctions – which ban any mention that a court order even exists – and whether they are damaging freedom of speech.

Mr Hemming said: "In a secret hearing, Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction, preventing him being identified, [even] as a banker. Will the Government have a debate or a statement on freedom of speech and whether there's one rule for the rich like Fred Goodwin and one rule for the poor?"

Sir George Young, the Leader of the House, said a forthcoming Westminster Hall debate would explore freedom of speech, adding: "I will raise with the appropriate minister the issue he has just raised."

Sir Fred, nicknamed "Fred the Shred" for his management style, presided over the near-collapse of RBS, which needed a £20 billion bail-out by the taxpayer.

Married to his wife Joyce for more than 20 years, his house in Edinburgh was attacked by protesters after it was disclosed that he had retired on an annual pension of £703,000, which was later reduced to £342,000. The father of two also received a lump sum of almost £3 million.

The case represents one of the first times a high-profile figure outside the world of celebrity has resorted to using a super-injunction.

Niri Shan, the head of media law at Taylor Wessing, said that, following the recession, bankers and other professionals could find themselves subject to similar scrutiny.

“This is the first time we have seen someone who has a public figure outside of the world of celebrity resorting to a super-injunction,” he said. “I think it is indicative of the fact that the public are more interested in professionals such as lawyers and bankers.”

There have been several super-injunctions obtained by celebrities in recent months. Last month, a sportsman known to have cheated on his partner with two women won an appeal to remain anonymous when the judge said the fact he had conducted a previous affair would make it easier for people to work out the nature of the allegations.

Parliamentary privilege dates back to the English Civil War, when Parliament was fighting for independence from the monarchy. But it was not until 1689, when the Bill of Rights established the rights of Parliament after the “Glorious Revolution”, that it became enshrined in law.

In 2009 Paul Farrelly, a Labour MP, took similar steps to disclose the existence of a super-injunction obtained by the oil firm Trafigura, which banned reporting of toxic waste dumping in the Ivory Coast.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those suffering from today’s tragic events. God shows us yet again how fragile our hold is on life and how we mustn’t waste our time here on earth to do good. Have a great weekend everyone.

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