Wednesday, 31 July 2013

China’s Wobble Gets Worse.

Baltic Dry Index. 1067 -08

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

Debt to right of them,
Debt to left of them,
Debt in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they charged and well,
Into the jaws of Debt,
Into the mouth of Hell
Charged the six billion.

With apologies to The Light Brigade and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Whether China has a hard landing or not may be debatable. My guess is that after over 3 decades of rapid expansion at double digit or near double digit rates, any slowdown in the Chinese economy is going to feel like a hard landing in any case. What is less debatable is the impact that China’s wobble is having and will increasingly have on the global economy. An economy currently undergoing a great central bank fuelled, stock market disconnect from reality. China has massive over capacity in just about all areas of its economy. Adjusting that excess capacity is about to have a massive impact on the global economy in H2 13. Starting initially in the commodity exporting nations, but eventually impacting the great manufactured goods exporting nations like Germany and Japan, we are headed into a great economic reality reconnect H2 13 and H1 14, I believe.

While the Fed meets for day two of its mutual admiration session at the fantastic job that Bernocchio has done for banksters, let’s not talk about tapers or the end of QE forever or other silly ideas, the growing typhoon out in Asia is about to sink many great ships of state, eventually including the already sinking SS Europa. With “Obamacare” already starting to distort the US economy with far more to come at year end, viewed from my lifeboat station on the reviving, though not for long, RMS Great Britain, the great liner SS America looks all too likely to join the sinking SS Europa early next year. 

At that point the RMS Great Britain and the SS Nippon will probably get swamped as well. Stay long physical gold and silver as insurance. The Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, and the voodoo economic policies of the Fed and BOE have long passed their sell-by date. With no good options left, we are about to charge the guns of unrepayable debt.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Debt
Charged the six billion.
"Forward, the Flight Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" B said:
Into the valley of Debt
Charged the six billion.

With apologies to The Light Brigade and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

China underwhelms with salvo to slim bloated industry

SHANGHAI | Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:45pm EDT
(Reuters) - China's edict to more than 1,900 companies to shut excess production capacity by September is the latest effort to slim down bloated industries, but in the key steel, aluminum and cement sectors the cuts are just a fraction of their surpluses.

Broader efforts, including credit curbs, raising environmental standards and energy efficiency will help slow the expansion of these sectors, but Beijing's push towards industry consolidation will be slow to materialize, analysts said.

Premier Li Keqiang has vowed to curb overcapacity as part of efforts to shift the economy away from investment in heavy industries, a move that could dampen its appetite for raw material imports such as iron ore, coal, copper and bauxite.

China is the world's biggest producer of steel, aluminum and cement.

Beijing's latest orders suggest less than 1 percent of steel and aluminum production capacity will shut by September, which analysts said will still leave a significant surplus. In cement, the shutdown will cover about 3 percent of production capacity, also only denting the excess.

"Many of these plants that have overcapacity problems have actually idled their production line for a while," said Raymond Yeung, an economist with ANZ Banking Group. "So the actual impact of the cut on the rebalancing of supply will be pretty mild."

China has ordered about 7 million metric tons of excess steel output to be shut in a sector that the China steel association says has surplus capacity amounting to 300 million metric tons.

It has ordered 260,000 metric tons of excess aluminum output to be shut when smelting capacity is 27 million metric tons and demand is about 21 million metric tons.

Many smelters ordered to shut were already running at production rates as low as 20 percent and the impact of the shutdowns will be offset by some 2 million metric tons of new projects due to start by the end of 2013, analysts said.

China has said 92 million metric tons of excess cement production must be phased out. Capacity is now about 3 billion metric tons a year and demand is 2.2 billion metric tons.

"The expansion of aluminum smelting plants happening in the western regions like Xinjiang will have a cheaper production cost and that will again hit domestic prices further," said Liao Zhenyuan, an analyst at Minmetals Futures.

In base metals, China also plans to phase out 654,400 metric tons of copper production capacity.

The nonferrous metals association estimates there was more than 7 million metric tons of idle capacity last year and production capacity is expected to reach 40 million metric tons by 2015.

China Stocks World’s Worst Losing $748 Billion on Slump

By Richard Frost & Weiyi Lim - Jul 31, 2013 3:33 AM GMT
Four years after China’s growth helped lead the global economy out of a recession and won the admiration of luminaries from billionaire George Soros to Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the nation’s stock market has lost more money for investors than any other in the world.

The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), which doubled in 10 months through August 2009 as the government poured $652 billion of stimulus into building roads, railways and housing, has tumbled 43 percent from its high, destroying $748 billion in market value. Only Greece’s ASE Index (ASE) has fallen more in percentage terms. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the benchmark gauge of American equity, erased all of the losses from the worst recession since the Great Depression and has gained 68 percent since the China peak, reaching a record this month

China looked unbeatable in 2009, surpassing Germany as the world’s third-largest economy and growing 6 percent in the first quarter while the U.S. shrank 4 percent. Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius, who oversees about $53 billion, said in July 2009 that China’s stock market could be larger than America’s in three years. Now, China is poised for the weakest expansion since 1990 as the government orders more than 1,400 companies to close factories.

“The Beijing consensus as endorsed by some western observers as an alternative to the market economy is indeed a sham,” said Hao Hong, the Hong Kong-based head of China research at Bank of Communications Ltd., whose forecasts for stock losses have proved prescient. “Now we are all paying for it.”

Back in the land of I-Spy on everyone between the shinning seas and beyond, it is day two of the meeting of the coven of Mammon. Will Bernocchio go out with a bang or a whimper? Will the bankster’s best friend resume talking about “tapers and the death of QE forever,” or will it be “QE will end, but only under my successor?” Either way, it looks like our central bankster world is to be lead down the garden path of unrepayable debt by newbies next year.  Hopefully some of them will have read more than just Harry Keynes and the Chamber of Secrets.  Is it too much to hope that at least one of them will have read and understood Hayek and his Road to Serfdom?

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Debt
Charged the six billion.

With apologies to The Light Brigade and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

July 30, 2013, 7:46 a.m. EDT

Fed watchers debate timing of taper

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A lively debate has broken out among economists about whether the Federal Reserve will decide to slow down the pace of its asset purchase plan in September or December.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has suggested only that the slowdown of purchases is likely “later this year.”
Markets are expected to hang on every word change in the Fed statement on Wednesday to see whether the Fed adds more clarity to the timing. They are likely to be disappointed, analysts said.

While it is not certain, many Fed watchers think the central bank will keep mum and not insert any forward guidance about its quantitative easing program.

“At this point they will attempt not to create any additional ripples” in financial markets, said David Stockton, a former top Fed staffer and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“When push comes to shove, I expect an ambiguous message,” added Michael Hanson, U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

July 29, 2013, 7:45 a.m. EDT

Bernanke’s lame-duck status having policy impact

Bond purchase program seen continuing in July

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s perceived lame-duck status adds a wild card for markets trying to understand monetary policy, as the central bank prepares to meet this week.

“We are entering a lame-duck period now through January,” said Nigel Gault, co-chief economist at Parthenon Group in Boston.

Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo, said Bernanke’s expected departure is already having an impact, loosening his grip on his already fractious colleagues at the central bank.

----The big question at the July meeting is whether the central bank will mention its September tapering plan in the policy statement released on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Supporters of a slowdown in purchases may push for including the plan in the statement.

Some economists think the Fed will make few changes to the statement.

----Although Bernanke has yet to address whether he wants to serve a third term, the choice to replace Bernanke appears to be down to Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

With speculation running at a fever pitch this week, a White House official on Friday told reporters that no decision on the top Fed spot would be made until the fall.

Wall Street is facing the possibility of a many fresh faces at the Fed, with as many as four vacancies.
Fed. Gov Elizabeth Duke announced earlier this month she is stepping down in August. Fed Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the number-two spot at the Treasury Department. And Fed Gov. Jerome Powell’s term expires in early January.

Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six billion.

With apologies to The Light Brigade and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 46.36 Moz, Eligible 117.15 Moz, Total 163.51 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

With the bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over, all meeting again today in Washington District of Crooks, it only remains today to offer a glimpse of the future.

When did their charge cards fade?
O the wild charges they made!
All the world wondered.
Dishonor the charges they made,
Dishonor the Flight Brigade,
Impoverished six billion.

With apologies to The Light Brigade and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.

Friedrich August von Hayek

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.

Friedrich August von Hayek

“Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe.”

Friedrich August von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished June:
DJIA: +145 Up. NASDAQ: +146 Up. SP500: +177 Unch  

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Quack, Quack, Quack.

Baltic Dry Index. 1075 --07

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

The real interest rate is probably minus 2% in the world today. It should be in line with the per capita income growth rate or 1%. The difference is 3%.

This environment redistributes wealth from savers to debtors on a scale of over $2 trillion per annum or $55 billion per day. This must be the biggest legal robbery ever in human history. But it is always coded in arcane academic lingos spoken by respected central bankers with impeccable CVs. All that is just packaging; it is robbery nevertheless.

Andy Xie

It is day one of the two day meeting of the lame duck Bernanke lead Fed. With the Fed running scared from the effects of their last disastrous meeting, when Bernocchio’s loose lipped leak to his favourite hack at the Wall Street Journal, about “QE tapers” and an end to QE forever in 2014, this month’s meeting is likely to be tame. With Bernocchio headed back to the Ivory tower existence from whence he came, this month’s meeting is likely to be all spin to burnish up the calamitous Greenspan-Bernanke era of serial bubbles, casino crony capitalism, and the central bank socialism for banksters that continues on to this day. Welfare for the Dim un’s and Ebenezer Squids, austerity for Main Street and the sick, disabled and working poor.

That Greenspan-Bernanke era will take the rest of this century to burnish up, and that assumes that QE forever, and the theft of the savings of the thrifty, to pass on to the feckless, reckless, gambling banksters, doesn’t still end in an eventual systemic collapse of the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money. Soon we will have newbies at the helm of the Fed and the BOE, and a fallen “Super Mario” about to be tested over Club Mad. With the German general election just two months away, the ECB has just two months of relative leeway left. Stay long physical precious metals. H2 13 is likely to become manic.

On the other side of the Pacific a different drama is unfolding. One that makes anything the Fed does irrelevant, save only for more unwise talk of tapers and ending QE forever.  Below, the PBOC pre-empts the Fed by easing and tightening at the same time. China responds to the IMF. China steps up its trade war with the EU, retaliating against Germany rather than France. Our unstable global economy is getting more unstable with each passing month.

PBOC Conducts First Reverse Repos Since February; Swaps Decline

By Lilian Karunungan - Jul 30, 2013 4:15 AM GMT
China’s central bank conducted reverse-repurchase operations for the first time in five months, helping alleviate a cash squeeze that drove the benchmark interbank lending rate to a four-week high.

The People’s Bank of China added 17 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) to the financial system today at a yield of 4.4 percent using seven-day reverse repos. That compares with 3.35 percent when the contracts were last used on Jan. 31 and a Feb. 7 auction of 14-day agreements at 3.45 percent, according to central bank data compiled by Bloomberg. Interest-rate swaps and money-market rates declined.

“The PBOC is not prepared to ease liquidity aggressively; that’s why they offered these reverse repos at a higher rate than before,” said Albert Leung, a strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. “At the same time they are also prepared to step in when the liquidity is too tight, so most likely the situation will be that liquidity will be tighter in the second half of the year than the first half.”

----The seven-day repo rate, a gauge of the availability of cash in the banking system, fell 14 basis points, or 0.14 percentage point, to 4.98 percent, according to a weighted average compiled by the National Interbank Funding Center. It exceeded 5 percent yesterday for the first time in four weeks and reached a record 12.45 percent on June 20. Liquidity is often tight at month-end as banks hoard money to meet regulatory requirements, Bank of America’s Leung said.

China orders 'urgent' audit of debts after IMF warnings

China’s leaders have ordered an “urgent” audit of local government debt, responding to warnings from the International Monetary Fund that rampant borrowing by the regions could trigger a serious crisis.

The State Council told the country’s audit office to suspend work on other projects and launch an immediate inquiry to assess the gravity of the risk. The audit office in the northern port city of Dalian has cancelled holiday leave, and will dispatch inspectors this week.

Andy Xie, a financial commentator at news website Caixin, said reliance on land sales to fund regional spending was an accident waiting to happen. “While household income may have tripled in a decade, the average land price has risen by over 30 times. Income growth to come cannot justify the current price of land. Nor can a supply shortage. China has no shortage of land. The sustainable land value is probably 70pc to 80pc below current levels,” he said.

Mr Xie said there may be financial panic over coming months but the government should ride out the storm. “The impact on the real economy will be limited. China’s land bubble has become almost entirely a financial phenomenon. Its problems should be contained within a small if vocal community,” he said.

The IMF is less sanguine. It warned last week that local government reliance on “off-budget activity” and land sales to pay its bills have pushed China’s underlying fiscal deficit to 10pc of GDP. “Fiscal space is considerably more limited than headline data suggest,” it said.

The IMF said these deficits “raise questions about local governments’ ability to continue financing the current level of spending and service their debts, which has implications for financial system asset quality. Further rapid growth of debts would raise the risk of a disorderly adjustment in local government spending. Financial distress would lead to a contraction in credit, a fall in domestic demand, and lower growth, which would make it more difficult for highly leveraged borrowers to grow out of their debt. The timing and coincidence of events that would trigger such an adverse feedback loop are difficult to predict,” it said.

China fires warning shot at foreign carmakers

China has fired a warning shot at foreign makers of luxury cars, as it accused them of reaping exorbitant profits and called for them to face an antitrust investigation.

Reuters 3:45PM BST 29 Jul 2013
Xinhua, which acts as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, said some imported cars were twice as expensive in China than in overseas markets. It added that the price of imported cars had become a contentious topic following investigations into how foreign companies in other sectors priced their goods.

The Xinhua report used the example of Audi Q7's model, which it said could be bought in Canada for 78,000 Canadian dollars, or about 460,000 yuan (£48,900). It claimed the same car was on sale in China for 1m yuan.

Xinhua said similar price differences existed between some unspecified Land Rover models, as well as the BMW X5.

In a statement, Audi said that allowing for taxes and differing vehicle specifications, prices were comparable.

On the subject of the German general election, things get more interesting by the day. After a dozen years of the Gestapo, and a lifetime under the Stassi, NSA whistle blower Snowy has breathed some life back into the “Hammer of the Greeks,” all too easy path to guaranteed re-election. Below, the Nixon-Obama tag team call Chancellor Merkel a “hypocrite.” That ought to play well on the Unter den Linden.

“The Germans outside looked from America to Russia, and from Russia to America, and from America to Russia again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

With apologies to George Orwell and Animal Farm.

John Podesta on the NSA Scandal: 'We Need Better Oversight'

In a SPIEGEL interview, Obama advisor John Podesta calls Europe's outrage over the NSA spying scandal hypocritical, but says America needs a national debate on surveillance laws too.
July 29, 2013 – 04:47 PM

SPIEGEL: According to a recent survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans believe National Security Agency (NSA) spying is infringing on their privacy rights. A proposal to restrict such programs failed only by a narrow margin in Congress. Are Americans beginning to fear a surveillance state?

Podesta: We are in uncharted territory, facing rapid technological change that has simply swamped our existing legal regime. The media's focus in recent weeks has circled almost exclusively around Edward Snowden's attempt to earn the world record for longest airport layover. But the focus on Snowden distracts from what is most problematic about the information he provided to the media.

SPIEGEL: And that is?

Podesta: Unlike the last time we had a national conversation about the NSA and domestic surveillance during the days of "warrantless wiretapping" in 2005, a legal framework exists today to support PRISM and the other programs. Therefore, the challenge is not rooted in the NSA overstepping its legal boundaries. Instead, new products and services, increasing processing power, and the decreasing cost of storing huge amounts of data means that surveillance on an unprecedented scale is now not just technologically possible but is also financially feasible for the first time. It is past time for us to begin a new national debate about what we want our surveillance laws to permit, particularly in light of how rapidly technology and society are changing.

----SPIEGEL: You talk a lot about the rights of Americans. But Europeans are furious that the NSA can spy on them with barely any restrictions.

Podesta: We need better oversight of our surveillance agencies and we need increased transparency at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Surely we can meet our national security needs without sacrificing the respect for personal privacy that has long been a hallmark of American life. The president could quiet some of the international critics if he explained better what the US is doing.

SPIEGEL: Instead you hear in Washington that Europeans are "whiners" and "hypocrites".

Podesta: Well, I agree that European anger is largely hypocritical. Most of the governments there have known for a long time what the US has been doing and they have often cooperated closely and willingly. I understand why leaders in Europe need to speak out against PRISM and other programs, but they still act like hypocrites.

We close for day one of the Fed’s quackery, with something to ponder on the rest of our decade. Is the Middle East about to lose the House of Saud? Electric vehicles anyone?

"[the] process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

Creative Destruction. Joseph Schumpeter, 1942.

US shale threatens Saudi funding crisis and demise of OPEC

Saudi Arabia and the Opec oil states must wean their economies off energy exports immediately or spiral into decline as America’s shale revolution shatters the world order, a top Saudi business leader has warned.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the country’s best-known global investor, said the business model of Middle East oil exporters risks unravelling rich industrial states find ways of cutting demand. “Our country is facing a threat with the continuation of its near-complete reliance on oil: 92pc of the budget for this year depends on oil,” he said in a letter to Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi.

Mr Al-Naimi and Opec leaders have taken a relaxed view of growing US shale output. “This is not the first time new sources of oil are discovered. There was oil from the North Sea and Brazil, so why is there so much talk about shale oil now?” he said last month.

Opec admits that new output from hydraulic “fracking” could chip away its dominant position in the market but secretary general Abdalla El Badri still insists that Opec “will be around after shale oil finishes”. The group is more worried about recession in Europe and a hard landing in China.

Prince Alwaleed said oil demand from OECD rich states is in “continuous decline”, and the Saudis will not be able to ratchet up their output from 12.5m to 15m barrels per day (bpd) to cover growing budget costs. “It is necessary to diversify sources of revenue, establish a clear vision, and start implementing it immediately,” he said.

A report last month by Leonardo Maugeri at Harvard University said US shale oil output could triple to 5m bpd by 2017, turning America into the world’s top producer once again.

Again, however, from destruction a new spirit of creation arises; the scarcity of wood and the needs of everyday life... forced the discovery or invention of substitutes for wood, forced the use of coal for heating, forced the invention of coke for the production of iron.

Werner Sombart,  Krieg und Kapitalismus, 1913.

At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 46.35 Moz, Eligible 117.46 Moz, Total 163.91 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Yes it’s the banksters once again. “God’s work” in California apparently involved fleecing everyone who used electricity. Well at least they were allegedly fleecing the 1 percent along with the other 99 percent.  It’s a funny old world on Nixon’s fiat money, crony capitalism. I wonder why the NSA never called time?

Banks are an almost irresistible attraction for that element of our society which seeks unearned money.

J. Edgar Hoover

JPMorgan Accused of Gaming Energy Bids as FERC Deal Looms

By Brian Wingfield & Dawn Kopecki - Jul 30, 2013 5:02 AM GMT
PMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) manipulated power markets in California and the Midwest, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission claimed in a proceeding that sets up a settlement to be announced as early as today.

A JPMorgan trading unit gamed wholesale electricity markets from September 2010 to June 2011, leading to overpayment of “tens of millions of dollars at rates far above market prices” in California alone, FERC staff said in a Notice of Alleged Violations yesterday.

The nation’s biggest bank and its chief energy-market regulator have agreed to settle the matter with sanctions that include a fine of about $400 million, according to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t yet public. Brian Marchiony, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment on the FERC action.

“JPMorgan picked the pockets of California households and businesses, and their manipulation increased the electric bills that people pay,” said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group.

The case marks another setback for JPMorgan, which sailed through the 2008 financial crisis without a single quarterly loss. Last year JPMorgan lost more than $6.2 billion from wrong-way derivatives bets placed by traders in London. The incident prompted a U.S. Senate investigation, the departure of two senior executives and a debate over whether Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 57, should keep his chairman role. In May shareholders re-elected him as chairman.

JPMorgan said July 26 it was considering the sale or spin off of its physical commodities business, including energy trading, three days after a congressional hearing examined whether banks are using their ownership of raw materials to manipulate markets.

Commodities chief Blythe Masters oversees the unit, J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp. The wholly owned subsidiary trades and holds physical commodities, including agricultural products, metals and energy, as well as derivatives.

The FERC in November revoked the unit’s right to trade power for six months after accusing the firm of providing misleading information to regulators. The suspension, which took effect in April, marked the first such sanction for an active market participant

Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.

Blythe Squid, with apologies to Cary Grant. To Catch A Thief.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished June:
DJIA: +145 Up. NASDAQ: +146 Up. SP500: +177 Unch