Thursday, 26 November 2015

2016 – Survival of the Fittest.

Baltic Dry Index. 546 +18        Brent Crude 46.11

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

We open today with yet another international terror attack claimed by ISIS. This time involving military grade explosives sourced from Libya. When will America act to take out the oil trading companies and countries like Turkey funding ISIS. My guess is that the recent spate of widespread terrorist attacks, together with Europe’s migrant crisis will have a major impact on European/Mediterranean tourism in the weeks and months ahead. Will ISIS try to hit at Christmas shopping? I suspect that this will be a growing drag on the EU economy.

Islamic State Claims Suicide Bombing of Tunisia Military Bus

November 25, 2015 — 3:01 PM GMT Updated on November 25, 2015 — 4:15 PM GMT
Islamic State claimed the suicide bombing of a security forces bus in Tunis, as Tunisian officials said the military-grade explosives used in the blast came from neighboring Libya. Twelve people were killed in the assault in the capital.

The bombing, the third major terrorist attack in Tunisia this year, prompted President Beji Caid Essebsi to declare a state of emergency, only weeks after he lifted restrictions imposed after a gunman killed 38 tourists in the resort area of Sousse in June.

Initial studies of the Tunis blast site established that a suicide belt containing about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosive was used, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday. The device contained Semtex similar to that found in suicide belts smuggled in from Libya and seized in 2014, it said. Police are analyzing the DNA of a 13th body found at the scene believed to be that of the bomber.

Officials have repeatedly said the chaos in Libya is spilling across the border, undermining efforts to revive an economy where high unemployment has been partly blamed for stoking sporadic unrest since the ouster of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Tunisia’s National Security Council on Wednesday ordered the frontier with Libya closed for 15 days and called for tighter checks at all other land and sea borders, according to the Mosaique FM radio station.

In July, Tunisia said it would build a barrier along the frontier with Libya -- where it said the Sousse attacker was armed and trained -- that will stretch about 100 miles (160 kilometers) inland from the coast. Law and order in Libya has collapsed as two rival governments, allied militias and groups including Islamic State vie for influence. The latter claimed responsibility for the Tunis bombing in a statement on social media.

----It was the first time that Tunisian security forces have been targeted in such a way in the capital, though dozens have been killed since 2012 in battles with militants in the Mount Chaambi area on the border with Algeria.

“Terrorists are diversifying their attacks and bringing the terrorism of the mountains to the capital,” UGTT chief Houcine Abassi said in a press conference on Wednesday. He called for a new strategy against terrorism.

Meanwhile Russia suspects it was set up in the shooting down of its warplane.

Russian pilot: there was no warning before jet was downed by Turkey

In his first interview, rescued pilot Konstantin Murakhtin tells Russian state media there had been no warning before his plane was shot down by Turkish fighter jets

By Claire Lomas, video source APTN 5:43PM GMT 25 Nov 2015
One of the Russian pilots of a fighter jet shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border told state media on Wednesday that there was no prior warning.

In his first interview, rescued pilot Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian state media:

"There was no warning, not by radio exchange nor visually. There was no contact at all," Murakhtin said at Moscow's base in Syria, with his back to the cameras.

Turkey insists it gave 10 warnings in the space of five minutes, an account backed up by its NATO ally the United States which spearheads a coalition against Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

The downing has threatened ties between two major rival players in the Syrian war and raised fears it could escalate into a wider geopolitical conflict.

"We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after speaking to Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu by phone in the first contact between the two over the incident.

"We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude toward the Turkish people has not changed," he added, but warned Moscow would "seriously reevaluate" relations with Ankara.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday branded the incident a "stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists", and told Russians not to to visit Turkey, a key tourist destination.

In other news this Thanksgiving holiday in America, Rio Tinto sees commodity deflation for at least another couple of years. Others think longer. In commodities, the usual maxim is, the best cure for high prices is high prices, and vice versa. But this burst commodities bubble was no ordinary bubble but a “super cycle” of ZIRP and QE Forever fuelled malinvestment. This commodity bubble went far higher for far longer, as China went through its own once in a century malinvestment, build out super cycle. That Chinese super cycle has now ended in a surfeit of just about everything. In lower for longer, many over indebted commodities behemoths are going to find it hard to stay alive. My guess is that many won’t survive 2016.

Copper Faces at Least Two More Years of Pain, Rio Estimates

November 26, 2015 — 1:50 AM GMT Updated on November 26, 2015 — 6:18 AM GMT
The copper market is facing two or three years more of pain, though the good news for the metal, which hit a six-year low this week, is that it will recover faster than other commodities, according to Rio Tinto Group.

Copper has tumbled 26 percent this year as China’s faltering expansion curbs demand and with the dollar trading near its highest level since at least 2005, making commodities more expensive for buyers in other currencies.

Rio, the world’s-second biggest miner, is becoming confident the market could move back into deficit by the end of 2017 or in 2018, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, chief executive officer for copper and coal, said Thursday in an interview in Sydney at the Bloomberg Address.

“The one commodity we expect to recover faster than others is likely to be copper,” Jacques said. “In the next two or three years we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as copper is concerned.”

China’s slowest pace of economic growth in a quarter of a century is weighing on metals to energy prices and eroding profits for producers. The Bloomberg Commodity Index of returns on 22 raw material this month touched a 16-year low and is heading for the fifth straight annual loss, the longest slide on records dating to 1991.

Coal faces a longer path to a price revival, according to Jacques. “For coal it’s a different horizon,” he said in the interview. “It will take much more time for coal to recover.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says the bear cycle in copper has years to run, predicting rising global surpluses through 2019 and seeing prices at $4,500 a metric ton by the end of 2016, with the risk skewed to the downside. The metal touched a six-year low of $4,490 a ton on Monday.

With demand weak and cuts to output so far having failed to deliver a significant boost, it’s likely copper will remain mired for longer than Jacques predicts, according to Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox. “The prices will probably lament for some time,” he said by phone. “Probably longer than two years.”

We end this holiday shortened update with another look at the El Nino weather event in the Pacific. NASA compares the current El Nino to the 1997-1998 El Nino. 

El Niño déjà vu or something new?

NASA scientists weigh in on whether this year’s El Niño will rival the monster El Niño of 1997-98.
By Carol Rasmussen, NASA’s Earth Science News Team

El Niño is an unusually warm pool of water off the west coast of South America, usually arriving around Christmas time, linked with complex, large-scale interactions between the atmosphere and ocean in the Pacific.

If you live anywhere El Niño has important impacts, you’ve heard forecasters say this year’s event looks just like the monster El Niño of 1997-98.

NASA satellite images of the Pacific Ocean in November 1997 and November 2015 show almost identical, large pools of warm water in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The National Weather Service has forecast that impacts this winter will resemble those in 1997, when California and the U.S. South suffered floods, mudslides and tornadoes, while residents of the Upper Midwest saved $2 billion to $7 billion in heating costs throughout their unusually warm winter.

When it comes to El Niños, however, there are no identical twins. This year’s event hasn’t always resembled the ’97 one. Satellite observations from early ’97 and early ’15 show conditions in the Pacific Ocean that were, well, oceans apart.

In its “normal” state, the Pacific is warm on the western side and cooler in the east. That’s what the ocean looked like in 1996 and early 1997. Conversely, over the past 18 months or so, satellite images have shown a large pool of warm water hovering around the equator in the central Pacific — neither west, as in a normal year, nor east, as in a typical El Niño. Tong Lee is an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California. Lee said:

That warm patch started last year and it never disappeared. It’s very peculiar behavior.

In the first decade of the 2000s, scientists began noticing that warm pools were appearing more frequently in the central equatorial Pacific. Since they look like El Niños but are in the wrong place, some began calling them “central Pacific El Niños.” Others use the name “El Niño Modoki,” Japanese for (roughly) “almost but not quite an El Niño.”

Michelle Gierach studies the ocean response to El Niño at JPL. She said:

Whether we have [different] flavors of El Niño, central versus eastern Pacific El Niños, or a continuum is an actively debated topic.

However it’s classified, the central Pacific phenomenon tends to have different global impacts than the classic El Niño variety. In the United States, a strong, classic El Niño usually heralds a warmer Northwest and colder Southeast. The central Pacific version is associated with a warmer Northeast and colder Southwest.

But the central Pacific isn’t the only part of the ocean that has been behaving oddly in the last few years. Gierach said:

Before the developing 2015 El Niño, there was prolonged anomalous warming off the West Coast of North America called the Blob.

Named by Nick Bond at the University of Washington, Seattle, the Blob is the largest pool of warmer-than-normal water in the North Pacific Ocean in recorded history. It formed about two years ago near the Gulf of Alaska and grew to span the entire U.S. West Coast, merging with warm pools off Baja California and in the Bering Sea. Gierach said:

The occurrence of this phenomenon in association with El Niño is not normal, based upon our satellite record, and the combination of the two has greater potential to affect marine life.

Wherever El Niño warms the ocean, it reduces the nutrients upwelled from the ocean depth. From satellites, this can be seen in declining concentrations of sea surface chlorophyll, a green pigment found in phytoplankton. These microscopic plants are the lowest level of the ocean food web.

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 43.65 Moz, Eligible 114.74 Moz, Total 158.39 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, in the fallen commodities former superstar state of Brazil, many of the biggest nuts are starting to get roasted as the never ending corruption and bribery scandal spreads like Japanese knotweed.

BTG Pactual CEO Esteves Arrested In Brazil's Graft Probe, Police Say

November 25, 2015 — 10:34 AM GMT Updated on November 25, 2015 — 10:58 AM GMT
Andre Esteves, the Brazilian billionaire who transformed Grupo BTG Pactual into the largest independent investment bank in Latin America, was arrested as part of the corruption probe that has engulfed the state-run oil giant and some of the nation’s biggest builders.
Federal police arrested the banker in Rio de Janeiro after first searching for him in Sao Paulo, a police press official said by telephone Wednesday. Folha de S. Paulo reported the arrest on its website earlier.
It’s among the highest profile arrests to date since the investigation into a pay-to-play scheme between an alleged cartel of builders and oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA began in March 2014. More than 100 people have already been arrested, including former top executives at Petrobras and Brazil’s biggest construction conglomerate. The probe has helped push Brazil into recession and left President Dilma Rousseff fighting for her political survival.
The government’s leader in the Senate, Delcidio Amaral, was also arrested, the police press official said, declining to provide details on the specific allegations against Esteves or Amaral. BTG’s press office said it couldn’t immediately comment, while calls and messages to Amaral’s press officer and chief of staff went unanswered.
Esteves in 2006 sold what was then Banco Pactual to UBS Group AG for $2.6 billion. He moved to London to be global head of fixed-income sales and trading for UBS the following year and offered to buy a controlling stake in the Swiss bank during the 2008 financial crisis. UBS rejected the bid and Esteves quit to form BTG, which he has joked stands for Back to the Game or Better than Goldman. In 2009, UBS agreed to sell to him and some of his former partners Pactual for $2.5 billion.

Exclusive - Brazil's Petrobras corruption investigators to probe Olympic contracts

Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:49am EST
Brazilian police investigating corruption around state-run oil firm Petrobras also plan to probe more than $10 billion of construction contracts for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a lead investigator said.

Some of the big engineering firms caught up in the Petrobras probe "very probably" broke laws against price-fixing and bribery on contracts to build Olympic venues, said Igor Romario, a Federal Police chief and key figure in the investigation.

"In every situation where there has been an investigation into contracts with these companies, this model of corruption was repeated," Romario told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It's possible that it was repeated in the projects for the 2016 Olympics."

So far, Romario said, there is no evidence proving any crimes around Olympic bidding and investigators are still focused on the original probe - a deep inquiry into price-fixing on Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) contracts and bribes for company executives and politicians in exchange for winning bids.

The probe, now nearly two years old, has already ensnared dozens of Brazil's business elite and congressmen and could put pressure on a tight Olympic construction schedule.

Of about two dozen companies investigated by the comptroller general's office, known as the CGU, just five are building most of the nearly 40 billion reais ($10.5 billion) worth of venues and infrastructure needed for the Olympics in Rio.

Privately held Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], Latin America's largest engineering firm, is involved in over half of all Olympic projects by value, according to contracts reviewed by Reuters.

Marcelo Odebrecht, the company's chief executive, has been jailed since June awaiting trial for corruption in the Petrobras case.

Solar  & Related Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this new section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Storing solar energy underground for a cloudy day

US electrical grid can't affordably store enough standby electricity to keep the system stable, says researcher

Date: November 24, 2015

Source: Stanford University

Summary: A common criticism of a total transition to wind, water and solar power is that the US electrical grid can't affordably store enough standby electricity to keep the system stable. Now a researcher proposes an underground solution to that problem.
Over the last few years, Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, and his colleague, Mark Delucchi of the University of California, Berkeley, have produced a series of plans, based on huge amounts of data churned through computer models, showing how each state in America could shift from fossil fuel to entirely renewable energy.
In a new study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they use the data from those single-state calculations of the number of wind, water and solar generators potentially needed in each state to show that these installations can theoretically result in a reliable, affordable national grid when the generators are combined with inexpensive storage and "demand response" -- a program in which utilities give customers incentives to control times of peak demand.
An underground effort
The proposed system relies on the ability to store and retrieve heat, cold and electricity in order to meet demand at all times.
Summer heat gathered in rooftop solar collectors could be stored in soil or rocks and used for heating homes in winter. Excess or low-cost electricity could be used to make ice, which would be used for later cooling when the price of electricity is high.
Excess electricity could also used to make more electricity, by supplementing the energy-producing mechanisms that drive concentrated solar power plants and pumped hydroelectric facilities. Utilities would also provide incentives to reduce energy use during times of peak demand.
In Jacobson's plan, hydrogen would also be used as a storage medium; during low-demand hours, excess electricity would be used to create hydrogen, which could be stored in fuel cells and used to power some vehicles.
Jacobson's new model foresees, and is dependent upon, an all-electric country, with virtually everything running 100 percent on electricity: cars, trains, buses, industry, heating and cooling, and with the electricity originating from wind, water and sunlight.
There would be no need for coal, natural gas, biofuels, nuclear power or enormous battery farms for storing electricity. Such a world, which would be 100 percent clean by 2050, can result in a stable grid, he said.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished October

DJIA: +31 Down. NASDAQ: +125 Down. SP500: +53 Down. 

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