Thursday, 5 November 2015

December Rate Hike.

Baltic Dry Index. 657 -23        Brent Crude 48.72

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

In central banking as in diplomacy, style, conservative tailoring, and an easy association with the affluent count greatly and results far much less.

J. K. Galbraith.

According to the Fed’s talking chair, the US economy is zipping along fine enough to put a Federal Reserve interest rate hike back on again for their December meeting. Not that a miniscule rate hike from ZIRP is likely to make much difference in the real world, far from the world’s casino gambling dens, formerly known as stock markets. In the gambling dens, however, switching from 34 years of a bond bull market to “X” many years of a bond bear market, is likely to cause many leveraged bets to go wrong in a hurry. But can Mrs Yellen’s word be trusted? Will the Fedster’s really go for a rate hike and torpedo the already sinking commodities flotilla? I don’t know either, but I do know that getting out early with return of capital beats getting out late with losses.

Below, nervousness hits Asian stocks.

Asian stocks falter as Fed signals a December rate rise

Wed Nov 4, 2015 9:54pm EST
Asian stocks snapped a two-day rising streak and fell on Thursday after the U.S. central bank hinted at a December interest rate hike, sending short-term U.S. bond yields to 4-1/2-year highs and pushing the dollar broadly up.

A December U.S. interest rate increase, ordinarily a sign of a healthy global economy, would now come at the worst possible time for export-oriented Asian countries which are grappling with the twin effects of a slowing China and shrinking global trade.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.4 percent, led by a 1 percent fall in Australian shares. While it has risen 12 percent since end-September, it is still down 10 percent so far this year.

"Emerging markets are facing some stiff headwinds particularly in the form of a historic China transition away from manufacturing-led growth and an entrenched slowdown in global trade," said Jeremy Lawson, senior international economist at Standard Life Investments.

In fresh signs that Asian countries were feeling the heat, central banks from Australia to Thailand voiced caution at their scheduled policy meetings this week while retail sales in Hong Kong fell for the seventh consecutive month.

Fed's Yellen sees possible December rate rise, gradual hiking path

Wed Nov 4, 2015 8:50pm EST
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday pointed to a possible December interest rate "liftoff" but said rates would rise only slowly from then on to nurture the U.S. economic recovery.

In her first public comments since the Fed's meeting last week Yellen laid out what now appears the base case at the U.S. central bank - that low unemployment, continued growth and faith in a coming return of inflation means the country is ready for higher interest rates.

Her remarks pushed bond yields higher and stocks lower. They also caused investors to reset their expectations of a December rate hike above 60 percent, a sign that markets are finally taking the Fed's language seriously after a period in which U.S. central bankers were frustrated by the gap between their own outlook and market bets about their likely course of action.

"What the committee has been expecting is that the economy will continue to grow at a pace that is sufficient to generate further improvements in the labor market and to return inflation to our 2 percent target over the medium term," Yellen said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

"If the incoming information supports that expectation then our statement indicates that December would be a live possibility."

Next more sign of rising deflation distress caused by China’s massive over investment bubble. The commodities rout is far from over, and probably ends in some truly massive bankruptcies due to mountain ranges of debt. Is Glencore’s debt mountain 30 billion USD or 50 billion if one discounts the accounting gimmicks? And why the need for such a convoluted balance sheet with layer upon layer of corporate ownership?

When a 127-Year-Old U.S. Industry Collapses Under China's Weight

November 3, 2015 — 6:15 PM GMT Updated on November 4, 2015 — 4:06 AM GMT
Alcoa Inc.’s latest aluminum-making cutback is signaling the end of the iconic American industry.

For 127 years, the New York-based company has been churning out the lightweight metal used in everything from beverage cans to airplanes, once making it a symbol of U.S. industrial might. Now, with prices languishing near six-year lows, it’s wiping out almost a third of domestic operating capacity, Harbor Intelligence estimates. If prices don’t recover, the researcher predicts almost all U.S. smelting plants will close by next year.

While that’s a big deal for the U.S. industry and the people it employs, it doesn’t mean much for global supplies. Alcoa’s decision to eliminate 503,000 metric tons of smelting capacity accounts for about 31 percent of the U.S. total for primary aluminum, but less than one percent of the global total, according to Harbor. For more than a decade, output has been moving to where it’s cheaper to produce: Russia, the Middle East and China. A global glut has driven prices down by 27 percent in the past year, rendering American operations unprofitable and accelerating the pace of the industry’s demise.
“You’ve seen a fair clip of closures in the U.S., that is just unfortunate, but a development that’s very difficult to change,” Michael Widmer, head of metal markets research at Bank of America Corp. in London, said in a telephone interview. “It means you’ll just have to purchase from somewhere else.”
That’s exactly what Jay Armstrong, the president of Trialco Inc. in Chicago Heights, Illinois, is doing. The company, which turns aluminum into finished manufactured products, now buys about 80 percent of the supplies it turns into car wheels from overseas. That’s up from 40 percent five years ago, he said.
“It’s not the kind of business where we’re going to pay more and buy all American,” Armstrong said in a telephone interview. “It’s too competitive a business to do that.”
Aluminum is down 19 percent this year to $1,501 a ton on the London Metal Exchange. The metal touched $1,460 last week, the lowest since 2009, and most American smelters can’t make money when prices are near $1,500 or below, Austin, Texas-based Harbor estimates. Plants overseas usually have the advantage of lower labor costs, cheaper energy expenses and weaker domestic currencies that favor exports to the U.S.
---- China probably will account for 55 percent of global aluminum production this year, up from 24 percent in 2005, according to Harbor research. The U.S. has gone in the opposite direction: from 2.5 million tons in 2005 to 1.6 million in 2015, it said.

In China’s latest 5 year plan, China’s about to bet big on electric vehicles. As goes China so goes the world?

China to Soon Approve Production Licenses for Electric Carmakers

November 5, 2015 — 4:11 AM GMT
China will soon approve production licenses for a new batch of electric car manufacturers as part of its push to promote the emission-free technology.

More than 10 companies have applied for the manufacturing permits, Miao Wei, the minister for industry and information technology, said in a briefing in Beijing on Thursday. The licenses, meant only for the production of electric vehicles, would be first to be handed out since the government said in 2009 it will encourage consolidation and curb overcapacity in the industry.

China has made the development of electric cars a strategic initiative as part of broader plans to lead in the automotive technology, curb pollution and reduce dependence on imported oil. Electric-car purchases have lagged behind government targets despite subsidies doled out to both automakers and consumers in part due to concerns about the lack of access to charging facilities.

Last month, the State Council, or cabinet, said it will add to subsidies aimed at speeding up the building of electric-car recharging stations, targeting enough infrastructure to handle 5 million plug-in vehicles by 2020.

Back in March, Miao said the government will encourage Internet companies to develop electric vehicles as they have the potential to inject innovation into the auto industry and spur competition.

“But it [the boom] could not last forever even if inflation and credit expansion were to go on endlessly. It would then encounter the barriers which prevent the boundless expansion of circulation credit. It would lead to the crack-up boom and the breakdown of the whole monetary system.”

Ludwig von Mises.

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 43.06 Moz, Eligible 120.46 Moz, Total 163.52 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, more worrying sign of a new recession arriving.

Maersk Line to Cut Capacity and Jobs as Global Demand Sags

November 4, 2015 — 7:36 AM GMT Updated on November 4, 2015 — 8:30 AM GMT
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is scaling back capacity and cutting jobs in the world’s largest shipping line to adapt to a drop in demand.

The Danish company, which last month lowered its profit forecast for 2015 citing a gloomier outlook for the global shipping market, will shed 4,000 jobs in its Maersk Line unit as part of a program to “simplify the organization,” it said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

Shares in the company rose as much as 2.9 percent after the open and traded 2.4 percent higher at 10,360 kroner as of 9:08 a.m. in Copenhagen.

“In light of the lower demand these initiatives will allow Maersk Line to deliver on the ambition to grow at least in line with the market to defend the market leading position,” the company said.

Maersk Line, which is also postponing investments as part of the plan, says the measures will cut its cost run-rate for annual sales, general and administration tasks by $250 million. In 2016, the impact will be $150 million, it said.

The cost cuts “will show Maersk is back at what they’ve always been good at: focusing on costs and execution and usage of ships,” said Stig Frederiksen, an analyst at Nordea. “No doubt the market will receive that very positively.”

Maersk, which on Oct. 23 said it sees underlying profit of about $3.4 billion in 2015 versus an earlier forecast for $4 billion, is due to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 6. Maersk also recently announced it will cut up at 12 percent of its workforce in its oil unit as part of a plan to reduce costs by 20 percent by the end of next year.

True, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run, issue additional paper currency, open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late and to bring about a depression. 

Ludwig von Mises.

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?

Semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene electrodes

Date: November 2, 2015

Source: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Summary: A researcher has developed the first-ever made semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene as electrode. With simple processing techniques, solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies can be fabricated at low cost.
A researcher at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HK PolyU) has developed the first-ever made semitransparent perovskite solar cells with graphene as electrode. With simple processing techniques, solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies can be fabricated at low cost.
Firstly, the conductivity of graphene was dramatically improved by coating a thin layer of conductive polymer during the lamination process of graphene and perovskite layer. Secondly, multi-layer graphene is used as electrodes to further improve the efficiency of power conversion. The sheet resistance of the electrode could be further reduced while maintaining the high transparency of the electrodes. Lastly, the performance is further optimized by improving the contact between the top graphene electrodes and the hole transport layer on the perovskite films.
Because of the excellent mechanical flexibility of graphene and the convenient preparation of the devices, this invention can be used for the mass production of the semitransparent perovskite solar cells with printing or roll to roll process.
Special Features and Advantages
• Transparency can be controlled
• High power conversion efficiency ~ 12%
Semitransparent solar cell technology can be integrated into the building design, replacing conventional building materials. Such as, facades, shelters, louver, windows and rooftops,etc.

Perovskite solar cell

A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell which includes a perovskite structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer. [1] Perovskite materials such as the methylammonium or formamidinium lead halides are cheap to produce and simple to manufacture. Solar cell efficiencies of devices using these materials have increased from 3.8% in 2009 [2] to a certified 20.1% in 2015, [1] making this the fastest-advancing solar technology to date. [1] 
According to detailed balance analysis,[3] the efficiency limit of perovskite solar cells is about 31%, which approaches the Shockley–Queisser limit of gallium arsenide (33%). Their high efficiencies and low production costs make perovskite solar cells a commercially attractive option, with start-up companies already promising modules on the market by 2017.[4] [5]

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished October

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

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