Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Reconnect?

Baltic Dry Index. 2237 +54

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

If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.

Mark Twain.

Oh the uncertainty of it all! Are the disconnected global stock markets starting to reconnect ahead of next week’s  coming Federal Reserve meeting? But how likely is the soon to retire Bernocchio about to blow up the stock and bond markets before Christmas, and his escape from Dodge City at the end of next month? Pretty unlikely I think. Still getting out early and first beats being one of the last Muppets left holding Ebenezer Squid’s ever growing great bag of trash.

“Nobody can catch all the fluctuations.”

Jesse Livermore.

Asian Sovereigns Lose for First Year Since 2008 as Growth Stalls

Dollar-denominated bonds sold by Asia’s sovereigns are losing money for the first time since 2008 as growth slows in four of the region’s five largest economies.

Debt issued by countries outside Japan lost 7.1 percent since Dec. 31, the worst performance in five years, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes. Quasi-sovereign borrowers, such as Indonesia’s PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, fell 2.8 percent while corporates gained 1 percent. Emperor International Holdings Ltd., which develops real estate in Hong Kong, Macau and China, hired banks for a possible sale in the U.S. currency, according to a Dec. 10 statement.

Growth from China to India and Indonesia is slowing as local governments look to rebalance their economies and funds flow back to developed markets ahead of expected cuts to record U.S. stimulus. Yields on 10-year Treasuries, the benchmark over which most Asian sovereigns sell bonds, have climbed 72 basis points since the end of May when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled the central bank would look to wind back its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases


Asian Stocks Drop Second Day Amid Concern Fed Will Taper

By Adam Haigh Dec 12, 2013 6:02 AM GMT
Asian stocks fell, with the regional index heading for its lowest close in two months, as investors speculate the U.S. budget deal will give the Federal Reserve confidence to curb stimulus as soon as next week.

----The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.8 percent to 138.69 as of 2:02 p.m. in Hong Kong, falling for a second day as all 10 industry groups on the gauge dropped. The budget compromise forged by U.S. lawmakers, which will ease automatic spending cuts and reduce the deficit, comes after 34 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg on Dec. 6 said the Fed will begin paring its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases when it meets Dec. 17-18.

“There is risk of a short-term correction in shares,” Shane Oliver, who helps oversee $131 billion as head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney, said in an e-mail. The risk is “we see a combination of Fed tapering and a faster growth acceleration. After the rapid gains of the last two years, shares are no longer dirt cheap. As a result, returns are likely to be more constrained and volatile.”

Japan’s Topix index fell 0.7 percent as the yen held near its strongest level this week versus the dollar. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.8 percent, falling for a sixth day in the longest losing streak in 17 months. South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.4 percent as Doosan Heavy lost 4.2 percent to 32,100 won. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.2 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index dropped 0.9 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.1 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index lost 0.6 percent.

China New Loans Exceed Estimates

By Bloomberg News Dec 11, 2013 4:01 PM GMT
China’s new yuan loans and broadest measure of credit exceeded estimates last month in data at odds with indications that the government wants to curb borrowing.

New local-currency loans were 624.6 billion yuan ($103 billion), the People’s Bank of China said yesterday in Beijing, compared with the 580 billion yuan median estimate of 41 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Aggregate financing was 1.23 trillion yuan, topping all economists’ estimates, while M2 money supply increased 14.2 percent from a year earlier.

The figures suggest authorities are finding ways to support growth, with gains in retail sales and slowing industrial production presenting a mixed picture of the world’s second-largest economy. China may add clarity with a statement this week following an annual economic meeting in Beijing, after rising money-market interest rates and bond yields spurred speculation that officials are clamping down on debt.

“The current pace of extension of credit is still rather strong,” said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Hong Kong, who previously worked at the World Bank. The latest data “will lead people to wonder how adamant are the authorities to rein in credit growth, how serious are they to contain the increase in leverage.”

We end for today with a diversion into our new dumbed down, “celebrity” fawning, world of falling standards. Thanks to 24 hours 20 second news updates, crass modern TV, the takeover of BBC World News by uneducated leftist cretins, and banal modern moral equivalency, and giving a free pass to the lunatic left, murderous communism, and the homosexual TV agenda, standards have fallen everywhere since the 1940s and 50s.

Below this morning’s dismal new low.

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it."

Attributed to Mark Twain.

Asiana Pilot Set Throttles He Didn’t Understand to Idle

By Alan Levin and Jeff Plungis Dec 12, 2013 3:28 AM GMT
Pilot error was involved in the Asiana Airlines Inc. (020560) crash that killed three passengers July 6 in San Francisco after a captain inadvertently disabled a speed-control system and the plane crashed into a seawall, documents show.

Lee Kang Kuk, a veteran with Seoul-based Asiana who was being trained on the Boeing Co. (BA) 777-200ER wide-body, had momentarily adjusted the power without realizing the plane’s computers then assumed he wanted the engines to remain at idle, according to information released yesterday at a U.S. National Transportation Safety Board hearing.

The documents also raise questions about the design of auto-throttles on Boeing aircraft and whether related training has been adequate. The safety board hasn’t concluded what caused the crash, which killed three teenage girls from China in the first fatal U.S. airline accident since 2009.

Lee, 45, “believed the auto-throttle should have come out of the idle position to prevent the airplane going below the minimum speed” for landing, the NTSB said in a summary of an interview with him. “That was the theory at least, as he understood it.”

----“The accident has damaged Asiana’s reputation especially in China, one of its biggest markets,” said Kang Dong Jin, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities Co. in Seoul. “It’s also going to be a long-term financial burden because the outcome could mean lawsuits and higher insurance payments.”

In some combinations of auto-throttle and autopilot settings, such as during Asiana Flight 214’s approach to San Francisco, the system becomes dormant, according to NTSB documents.

The three pilots in the cockpit didn’t sense the impending danger until seconds before impact, according to NTSB documents and a voice-recorder transcript made public at the start of the hearing.

----Shortly after the plane descended below 50 feet, the plane’s control column began shaking to warn pilots they were in danger of losing lift, known as an aerodynamic stall, according to the recording.

Only then, 8.5 seconds after the initial speed warning, did Lee Jung Min command to abort the landing and climb, according to the transcript. The pilots added power too late to prevent the collision.

Lee Kang Kuk, asked about his approach to the airport, told safety-board investigators it “was very stressful, very difficult.” He wasn’t accustomed to landing without an instrument-landing system guiding him to the runway, as pilots had to do in San Francisco that day because of airport construction, according to an NTSB summary of his statement.

The captains still work for Asiana though they are not flying, Ki Won Suh, an Asiana spokesman, said in an e-mail. Bong, the relief pilot on Flight 214, has resumed flying.

----The impact sheared off the tail section and engines, according to the NTSB. Besides the three passengers who died, more than 200 people were taken to hospitals. The plane held 291 passengers, 12 flight attendants and four pilots.

All three victims may have been flung from the plane, according to statements of unidentified witnesses who were traveling with them, the NTSB said. At least one girl wasn’t wearing her seatbelt, a student seated nearby said.

A 16-year-old girl traveling with a school group from China was run over twice, not once, by fire trucks responding to the crash, investigators disclosed at the hearing.

An autopsy found that the girl, who wasn’t named by the NTSB, wasn’t dead until she was struck by a fire truck. She was covered in firefighting foam. While investigators after the accident said she was run over once, a review of video found a second truck ran over her 11 minutes later.

Nelson Mandela memorial interpreter 'was a fake'

Man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was simply "making childish hand gestures" for hours

6:27PM GMT 11 Dec 2013
A mystery South African man who acted as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was a “fraud” who simply made “childish hand gestures” for hours as he stood on stage.

Deaf groups say the man, who has not yet been identified, made no sense in any language to those relying on him around the world, and did not seem to know the recognised signs for South Africa, Mr Mandela’s clan name Madiba, President Jacob Zuma or former President Thabo Mbeki.

As a result, they say, he had the effect of marginalising the deaf community, which was “contrary to everything Mandela fought for”.

The embarrassing revelation also raises questions about the security at the landmark event, which was attended by 91 heads of state and government including Barack Obama and David Cameron.

The interpreter, who wore the clearance pass of a government official, stood just feet from Mr Obama as he made his widely-praised speech, and also interpreted for South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who apparently faces such a high threat level that he recently spent £12.4m on security upgrades to his private home.

The latest embarrassment was compounded by the news that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s house in Cape Town was burgled as he spoke at the event.

----While some South Africans took to Twitter to claim the man had been signing in a South African language such as Xhosa or Zulu, Mr Buxton said he was purely making “childish hand gestures and clapping, it was as if he had never learn[t] a word of sign language in his life”.

“It was hours of complete nonsense,” he said. “He is clearly a fraud who wanted to stand on stage with big and important people. It’s quite audacious if you think about it,” he said.

“It is incredibly disrespectful and hurtful to the deaf community.”

Mr Buxton said the man had provided sign language for a speech for Mr Zuma at a military event last year. At that appearance, a deaf person in the audience videotaped the event and gave it to the federation for the deaf, which analysed the video, prepared a report about it and submitted a formal complaint to the African National Congress (ANC).

Sign language experts in South Africa said that all of the country’s 11 official languages were covered by the same signs, and they saw none of them used, nor any of the facial gestures that usually feature.

Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said she had received complaints from deaf people from around the world about the “gibberish” interpretation.

Former BBC boss Mark Thompson 'lied' over Savile evidence, Nick Pollard claims

Telegraph publishes full tape recording of Nick Pollard suggesting that former BBC boss Mark Thompson lied when giving evidence about Jimmy Savile scandal

The author of a controversial inquiry into the handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal at the BBC has suggested that a former director-general lied when giving evidence, according to a tape recording.

Nick Pollard was asked by a journalist during a taped conversation if Mr Thompson's "instinct" was to "lie" during questioning when he appeared before the inquiry. Mr Pollard replied: "Yes. Well... yeah, yeah."

Earlier this week Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC trust, warned Rob Wilson, the Tory MP who obtained the recording, that he risked legal action if he made it public. Mr Wilson instead passed the full recording to The Telegraph, which has today published it in full.

Mr Wilson, who described Lord Patten's warning as "Soviet era" behaviour and a "chilling" threat, said: "This episode paints a worrying picture of the culture at the BBC.

-----"It appears that the BBC's instinct is still to cover up potentially embarrassing information rather than facing up to the truth about itself."

Mr Pollard, the former head of Sky News, last year lead a £3million inquiry into the BBC's decision to drop a Newsnight investigation into allegations that Savile sexually abused schoolgirls.

Mr Thompson, who left the BBC in September 2012 to become chief executive of the New York Times, told the inquiry that he had not been told about the allegations being investigated.

However, five days before the report was published a lawyer for Helen Boaden, the BBC's former head of news, wrote to Mr Pollard saying that she had told Mr Thompson in December 2011 of the "nature of the Newsnight investigation".

Despite her evidence the £3 million inquiry made no reference to Miss Boaden’s claim, and Mr Pollard wrote in the report that he had “no reason to doubt what Mr Thompson told us”.

In February, Mr Pollard contacted a journalist and admitted that he had made a "mistake" by failing to refer to Miss Boaden's evidence in his final report.

"Lack of money is the root of all evil."

Bernocchio, with apologies to  George Bernard Shaw

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 53.49 Moz, Eligible 116.48 Moz, Total 169.97 Moz.   Someone seems to be expecting a massive December delivery.

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

Why do these criminal banks still hold banking licences practically everywhere? How many strikes does it take to invoke the US RICO laws? Below, more on our new lawless age.

"A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it."

 Bob Hope

December 11, 2013, 10:01 pm

Criminal Action Is Expected for JPMorgan in Madoff Case

JPMorgan Chase and federal authorities are nearing settlements over the bank’s ties to Bernard L. Madoff, striking tentative deals that would involve roughly $2 billion in penalties and a rare criminal action. The government will use a sizable portion of the money to compensate Mr. Madoff’s victims.

The settlements, which are coming together on the anniversary of Mr. Madoff’s arrest at his Manhattan penthouse five years ago on Wednesday, would fault the bank for turning a blind eye to his huge Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case who were not authorized to speak publicly.

A settlement with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, the people said, would include a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement and more than $1 billion in penalties to resolve the criminal case. The rest of the fines would be imposed by Washington regulators investigating broader gaps in the bank’s money-laundering safeguards.

The agreement to deferred prosecution would also list the bank’s criminal violations in a court filing but stop short of an indictment as long as JPMorgan pays the penalties and acknowledges the facts of the government’s case. In the negotiations, the prosecutors discussed the idea of extracting a guilty plea from JPMorgan, the people said, but ultimately chose the steep fine and deferred-prosecution agreement, which could come by the end of the year.

Until now, no big Wall Street bank has ever been subjected to such an agreement, which is typically deployed only when misconduct is severe. JPMorgan, the authorities suspect, continued to serve as Mr. Madoff’s primary bank even as questions mounted about his operation, with one bank executive acknowledging before the arrest that Mr. Madoff’s “Oz-like signals” were “too difficult to ignore,” according to a private lawsuit.

JPMorgan, which declined to comment for this article, has repeatedly said that “all personnel acted in good faith” in the Madoff matter.

----In recent months, the bank has emphasized that it is scaling back businesses that could be vulnerable to money laundering and cutting ties to certain clients.

Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive, made a reference to the settlement talks at an industry conference on Wednesday, saying: “You read about Madoff in the paper the other day. We have to get some of these things behind us so we can do our job.”

The looming settlements would come on the heels of JPMorgan’s reaching a record $13 billion settlement over its sale of troubled mortgage securities before the financial crisis.

The scrutiny has taken a toll on JPMorgan, undercutting its leverage in negotiations and casting the bank as a symbol of Wall Street risk-taking. That stigma also sapped the influence that JPMorgan once used to shape policy in Washington, people briefed on the matter said, where regulators are increasingly skeptical of the bank’s lobbying.

----Of all its legal problems, the Madoff case appears to be among the biggest threats because of the criminal element. The deferred-prosecution agreement, the people said, is expected to fault JPMorgan for a “programmatic violation” of the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires banks to maintain internal controls against money laundering and to report suspicious transactions to the authorities.

The bank is also planning to settle with the federal Comptroller of the Currency and a unit of the Treasury Department, which are scrutinizing broader breakdowns in JPMorgan’s detection of suspicious transactions routed through the bank. In addition to focusing on JPMorgan’s ties to Mr. Madoff, regulators from the comptroller’s office have also examined the safeguards at JPMorgan’s private banking unit in Asia and within the so-called correspondent banking business, in which it relies on foreign institutions to process transactions overseas.

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

 Yogi Berra

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November:
DJIA: +190 Up. NASDAQ: +281 Up. SP500: +232 Up. The Fed’s final bubble continues to grow, until QE Forever isn’t forever. Up will remain up, until one fine day out of the blue the Fed finally loses control, or the next Lehman hits.

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