Friday, 18 October 2013

'I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday'.

Baltic Dry Index. 1960 -05

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

There can be few fields of human endeavour in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.

J. K. Galbraith.

With brand America well and truly trashed, and with more to come in January-February next year, China’s top ratings agency yesterday downgraded Uncle Scam’s credit rating. The first of many to come, I suspect, given the open warfare ahead out to November 2014’s US mid-term elections. Both US parties now have too much to lose in those elections. The Republican’s flirt with a wipe-out, unless they can somehow regain the public’s esteem following their recent rout. But if they do regain that esteem, especially if “Obamacare” backfires,  it’s the Democrats that face a rout, leaving President Obama the lamest of lame duck presidents for the rest of his lingering Presidency. From faraway neutral London, it looks like a take no prisoners fight to the finish in just over twelve months’ time. Stay long physical gold and silver. Nothing good comes from a house so divided.

“Egol and Fabrice were way ahead of their time,” said one of the former Goldman workers.

“They saw the writing on the wall in this market as early as 2005.”

17 October 2013 - 11H37  

Chinese agency downgrades US credit rating

AFP - A Chinese ratings agency downgraded its US sovereign credit rating Thursday despite Washington's resolution of the debt ceiling deadlock, warning that fundamentals for a potential default remained "unchanged".

Dagong lowered its ratings for US local and foreign currency credit from A to A-, maintaining a negative outlook, the agency said in a statement.

The announcement came after the US Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed a bill that extends the nation's borrowing authority and ends a two-week government shutdown.

"The fundamental situation that the debt growth rate significantly outpaces that of fiscal income and gross domestic product remains unchanged," Dagong said in the statement, adding Washington's solvency was vulnerable as old debts were still repaid through raising new debts.

"Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future," it said.

Dagong made headlines in August 2011 when it lowered its main rating for US sovereign debt after Congress passed an earlier bill to raise Washington's debt ceiling.

The agency, which is far less prominent than long-established Western competitors including Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's, has been working to further raise its profile.

China's official news agency Xinhua said Thursday in a bylined commentary that US politicians had held the rest of the world hostage in the crisis.

But Beijing welcomed the agreement, saying it will contribute to global economic stability.

Dollar Slumps to 8-Month Low on Fed-Stimulus Bets

By Andrea Wong - Oct 17, 2013 10:13 PM GMT
The dollar fell to an eight-month low against a basket of 10 major currencies on bets disruption from the U.S. debt-ceiling debate will damp growth and prompt the Federal Reserve to postpone tapering its stimulus program.

The greenback lost the most in a month versus the euro as Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said fiscal discord has undermined the case for slowing the central bank’s bond purchases, which tend to debase the dollar. A 16-day government shutdown ended after Congress approved a deal yesterday extending funding and debt-limit deadlines into next year. The pound climbed after U.K. retail sales rose more than forecast.

----“The market is getting grumpy with the dollar,” David Bloom, head of global currency strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc in London, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse” with Francine Lacqua and Guy Johnson. “It is going through the throes of thinking, can the Fed taper this year? It’s starting to look less likely.”

In “better news” from the east, China’s growing wobble eased, if you take the latest figures at face value. Few inside China let alone outside China do. Under China’s latest restructuring plan to reduce pollution and increase efficiency, if they go ahead as announced, China’s growth will slow again in 2014, before any gains from better efficiency kicks in.

It's good to trust others but, not to do so is much better

Benito Mussolini

China Growth Rebounds After Li Stimulus to Meet Target: Economy

By Bloomberg News - Oct 18, 2013 4:54 AM GMT
China’s economic growth accelerated for the first time in three quarters, as Premier Li Keqiang spurred factory output and investment to meet the government’s expansion goal for 2013.

Gross domestic product rose 7.8 percent in the July-September period from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today in Beijing, matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Industrial production advanced in September by 10.2 percent, in line with projections, while retail sales gained 13.3 percent.

The pickup reflects Li’s implementation of what Bank of America Corp. called a “mini fiscal stimulus,” including railway spending and tax cuts, to support the world’s second-largest economy. Today’s figures also showed home sales jumped 34 percent in September from the previous month even amid restrictions aimed at preventing a bubble, adding to signs of imbalances that may cast doubt on the recovery’s staying power.

“There’s no question China can achieve this year’s growth target of 7.5 percent,” said Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Hong Kong. Even so, the “recovery momentum is not likely to last long,” he said, citing relatively weak emerging markets, the yuan’s appreciation and a cooling in manufacturing investment.

China's Overcapacity: New Projects Banned In Steel, Cement And Aluminum

Oct, 16 2013
China is finally getting serious about its overcapacity problem under a new plan targeting an array of industries that have seen too many competitors and subsequently heavy losses for too many years.

The new plan issued by the State Council on Tuesday names steel, aluminum, cement, shipbuilding and glassmaking among the affected sectors in which new projects will not be approved and oversized firms will be restructured. State-owned enterprises in these sectors have relied heavily on government subsidies, Reuters reported.

The plan will focus on “establishing and perfecting” market mechanisms and encourage the private sector to play a role in restructuring oversized firms. Previously, the government has encouraged state-owned firms to merge with or buy out smaller competitors, but the strategy has proved unsuccessful, with the resulting conglomerates raising capacity instead of reducing it.

In addition to supply-side reforms, the plan involves efforts to stimulate domestic demand in these sectors and offer tax breaks to encourage firms to relocate plants overseas.

According to the plan, China will also enforce higher environmental, safety, energy and quality standards for industries, which will help to reduce current capacities (the rationale is that plants will produce less if they have to retool these aspects of operation) while also helping the world’s biggest polluter tackle its dire environmental problems. Under the new capacity plan, firms that violate environmental standards will have to pay higher prices for electricity and water.

Overcapacity has been driven in large part by growth-obsessed local governments, which had encouraged capacity expansion via subsidies, access to credit and favorable contracts – a process termed “administrative interference” by Su Bo, China’s vice minister of industry at a conference last month.

Preferential policies in areas such as land allocation had distorted the market and created unfair competition, Su added, according to Reuters. To combat such interferences, Beijing has put in place a series of reforms aimed to reduce the power of local governments in the approval process.


In East Asian coming war news, Japan backed up by its “Ace in hand” America,  upped the ante against China by again honouring Japan’s war criminals at the Yusukuni shrine. If this were Germany much of the world would go ballistic. This being Asia, only China and South Korea took offense. Japan is playing with fire in provoking China if America reneges on backing up Japan against China all the way. Is New York City really going to be swapped for Shanghai, just to leave what’s left of Tokyo in administration but not sovereignty, over five uninhabited islands in the East China Sea? I don’t think so either.

Abe Offering at Yasukuni War Shrine Same as Visiting, China Says

By Isabel Reynolds & Takashi Hirokawa - Oct 18, 2013 5:08 AM GMT
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew criticism from China for sending an offering to a Tokyo shrine during the autumn festival, a move the People’s Daily said was the same as visiting in person.

Internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo paid his respects at the Yasukuni shrine today and about 160 lawmakers visited as a group, Kyodo News reported. Abe sent a traditional “masakaki” offering, according to an official in the shrine’s public relations department who asked not to be named because of policy.

Visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine, which honors the country’s war dead including World War II leaders convicted as Class A war criminals, spark anger in parts of Asia that suffered under Japanese occupation. Abe has not visited Yasukuni publicly since his election win in December, amid a territorial dispute with China that has prevented the two countries from holding a summit for almost 18 months.

A commentary in the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, said the offering had hurt the feelings of Asian nations and challenged the current international order by harking back to the spirit of nationalism. The author’s name, Zhong Sheng, is a pseudonym meaning “Voice of China”, the paper said.

----Japan’s relations with China have been acrimonious since it bought three of five East China Sea islands last September that are also claimed by China. Since then, Japanese and Chinese patrol ships and planes have tailed one another through the area and trade, investment and tourism ties between Asia’s two largest economies have suffered. Japan is also embroiled in a separate territorial dispute with South Korea.

'I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

President Obama, with apologies to "J. Wellington Whimpy."

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 43.53 Moz, Eligible 122.37 Moz, Total 165.90 Moz.  

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

Today, it’s those dogs of the EUSSR once again. Alitalia gets 300 million to keep flying to Christmas. Good luck to anyone trying to fire half the 14,000 staff on the payroll. It would appear that buying a ticket on Alitalia after Christmas, is something of a reverse lottery. You win if you lose and vice versa. Welcome to Europe in the 21st century. Euros anyone?

Italy is not technically part of the Third World, but no one has told the Italians.

P. J. O’Rourke

Alitalia rescue plans hit turbulence

Struggling national airline is again staring into the abyss, but could a takeover be on the horizon?

IT has debts of a billion euros, is losing 1.5m euros a day and has been beaten on its home turf by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet.

Alitalia, Italy's national carrier, has been in trouble for decades – it has lost 800m euros over the past five years, last turned a profit in 1999 and had to be rescued from bankruptcy five years ago.

Held to ransom by intransigent unions and bullied by meddling politicians, it has long been the butt of jokes.

"You know what Alitalia stands for?" one industry insider asked. "Arrived Late In Tokyo, All Luggage In Amsterdam".

The struggling airline stared into the abyss of bankruptcy once again this week, before a deal - hastily cobbled-together on Tuesday after an all-night crisis meeting - gave a last-minute reprieve.

Company shareholders backed a move to issue new shares worth 300m euros as part of plans to save the airline from bankruptcy. They now have until Nov 16 to decide whether to take up the issue and how much money to sink into it.

The share issue is the largest component of a 500m euro rescue package that Alitalia's board agreed to last Friday.

That averted the ignominy of the carrier having its aircraft grounded – fuel suppliers had threatened to halt deliveries unless a rescue deal could be hammered out under which they would be paid the money they are owed for previous consignments of fuel.

But the deal is a temporary reprieve, and fails to address the airline's long-term problems, analysts said.

"It's a sticking plaster," said airlines expert James Halstead, managing partner at UK-based Aviation Strategy Ltd.

"They were running out of cash. But this will keep them going only until Christmas - March at the latest."

While the deal has bought desperately-needed time, Alitalia needs to embark on a fundamental restructuring that would entail reducing its 14,000-strong work force, experts said.

The question now is whether Air France-KLM, which owns a 25pc stake in the Italian national carrier, will step forward to take it over and try to turn it around. Air France-KLM backed the capital increase but it is not yet certain whether it will buy into it.

The French-Dutch airline tried to take control in 2008 but the deal was scotched by Silvio Berlusconi, the then prime minister, who presented himself as a patriot saving the iconic brand from foreign predators. The fierce opposition of powerful Italian unions also helped torpedo the accord.

"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

Ludwig von Mises

Another weekend, and what are we to do for laughs now that the lion has laid down with the lamb in Washington D.C. As more and more of the world comes to realise just how precarious are the foundations of the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, an accelerated search for a way out is the likely result. But there is no easy ending to a world of QE forever and ZIRP. America long ago spent its way past the point of no return. The benefits of fiat money were all front loaded and long ago dissipated. Our new graphene carbon age revolution, offers a new renaissance, but that still lies about a dozen years off into the future. The trouble lies in getting from here to there. Have a great weekend everyone. For me time to on harvesting the free sweet chestnuts.

“The world is a place that’s gone from being flat to round to crooked.”

Mad Magazine.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished September:
DJIA: +167 Up. NASDAQ: +213 Up. SP500: +203 Up. All three are back positive again, thanks to continued Fed QE.  High risk speculators will now use any stocks sell-off to go long. After the last Fed meeting and QE U-turn, the Bernocchio put is back on.

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