Monday, 9 November 2015

The Great Global Slowdown.

Baltic Dry Index. 631 -09        Brent Crude 47.42

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

“The boom can last only as long as the credit expansion progresses at an ever-accelerated pace. The boom comes to an end as soon as additional quantities of fiduciary media are no longer thrown upon the loan market.”

Ludwig von Mises.

We open for the new week with a global GDP warning from the world’s biggest shipping 
 line, Maersk. Global trade is slowing faster than most forecasters think. Our stock market gambling dens have never been more disconnected from the harsh reality playing out in the real world.

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. Omnipotent Government

Global GDP Worse Than Official Forecasts Show, Maersk CEO Says

November 8, 2015 — 11:00 AM GMT
The world’s economy is growing at a slower pace than the International Monetary Fund and other large forecasters are predicting.
That’s according to Nils Smedegaard Andersen, chief executive officer at A.P. Moeller-Maersk. His company, owner of the world’s biggest shipping line, is a bellwether for global trade, handling about 15 percent of all consumer goods transported by sea.
“We believe that global growth is slowing down,” he said in a phone interview. “Trade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see.”
The IMF on Oct. 6 lowered its 2015 global gross domestic product forecast to 3.1 percent from 3.3 percent previously, citing a slowdown in emerging markets driven by weak commodity prices. The Washington-based group also cut its 2016 forecast to 3.6 percent from 3.8 percent. But even the revised forecasts may be too optimistic, according to Andersen.
“We conduct a string of our own macro-economic forecasts and we see less growth -- particularly in developing nations, but perhaps also in Europe -- than other people expect in 2015,” Andersen said. Also for 2016, “we’re a little bit more pessimistic than most forecasters.”

In the oil patch it’s going to be lower for longer say the Kuwaitis. If they’re right America’s frackers and Canada’s tar pits face a dire future in 2016.

Kuwait Sees Oil Glut of Up to Five Years on Increasing Supply

November 7, 2015 — 10:24 AM GMT
Oil markets will continue to be oversupplied for as long as five years as producers in the Middle East ramp up output, according to Mohammed Al-Shatti, Kuwait’s representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Iraq pumped a record 4.4 million barrels a day in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Libyan output, which has declined by more than half due to conflict, can return "at any moment," Al-Shatti said in an interview Saturday in Doha. Iran has the capacity to boost exports by 500,000 barrels a day within one week of sanctions being lifted and by 1 million a day within six months, Roknoddin Javadi, managing director of state-run National Iranian Oil Co., said last month.
"Lower prices will continue until the glut in the market ends," Al-Shatti said. "Many countries are expected to increase production. Iranian crude is expected to return and that means an increase in production."
Demand isn’t expected to absorb the extra capacity and it will take shifts in supply to affect prices, he said. Al-Shatti said geopolitical disruptions or reduced future output because of the 30 percent fall in capital expenditure by oil companies could cause an increase.

Next, down 88 percent from its all time high, Goldman gives up on its BRIC fund. In giving up, do they see a new recession directly ahead?

Goldman's BRIC Era Ends as Fund Folds After Years of Losses

November 8, 2015 — 4:00 PM GMT Updated on November 9, 2015 — 5:17 AM GMT
The BRIC era is coming to an end at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The bank’s asset-management unit folded its money-losing BRIC fund, which invests in Brazil, Russia, India and China, and merged it last month with a broader emerging-market fund. Goldman Sachs pulled the plug on the nine-year-old product because it doesn’t expect “significant asset growth in the foreseeable future,” according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fourteen years after former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill coined the acronym that ushered in an unprecedented investment boom, the biggest emerging markets are now sputtering. Russia and Brazil have fallen into recessions. China, long an engine of the world’s growth, is poised for its weakest expansion since 1990.

The downfall of the BRIC fund, which had lost 88 percent of its assets since a 2010 peak, also underscores how the strategy of bundling disparate countries into a single investment theme is losing its appeal among investors.

“The promise of BRIC’s rapid and sustainable growth has been challenged very much for the last five years or so,” said Jorge Mariscal, the chief investment officer of emerging markets at UBS Wealth Management, which oversees about $1 trillion. The BRIC concept was popular. But nothing is eternal.”

We end for the day with another cold, snowy winter in prospect for North America., though hopefully not quite as bad as 2014-2015.

Record Siberian snow could bode ill for Northeast

6:06 a.m. EST November 7, 2015
There is a theory about snow in Siberia during the month of October: If there is a lot, it can mean a particularly wicked winter in the northeast United States.

Last month, Siberia experienced record snowfall and the worst blizzard in a decade.

Above-average snow cover in Siberia is believed to affect the now-famous polar vortex and send bitterly cold temperatures to the Northeast. This happens when the Arctic Oscillation, a climate pattern, shifts.

When its winds are strong, the Arctic Oscillation keeps a tight hold on temperatures swirling around the North Pole. When it becomes weakened, or what meteorologists call “negative,” it allows arctic air masses to creep into the mid-latitudes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes it this way: “Air pressure is higher than average over the arctic and lower than average over the mid-latitudes. The jet stream shifts southward of its average latitude.” That steers frigid, polar air southward into North America.

Above-average Siberian snow cover points to a negative oscillation pattern. But not always. And it is especially not certain that will happen this winter. Myriad factors, not the least of which is the strong El Niño being experienced globally, come into play.

Atmospheric and Environmental Research scientist Judah Cohen, who tracks the Arctic Oscillation and its correlation to U.S winters, wrote on his blog: “It is challenging to anticipate how the final outcome of competing forcings from the tropics and the high latitudes will influence mid-latitude weather.”

He explains that while October snow cover was above normal in Siberia this year, it did not advance as much as the previous two Octobers. Moreover, Arctic sea ice extent remains below normal. Cohen is expecting important pattern changes this month will provide better clues to the winter ahead.

At the moment and for the short-term, he is forecasting a mild pattern. Still, it’s worth checking Arctic Oscillation reports (the Climate Prediction Center provides 14-day forecasts) and taking steps to prepare for the worst.

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

Ludwig von Mises.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 43.06 Moz, Eligible 119.78 Moz, Total 162.84 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, has the commodities depression led to disaster in Brazil? Did the commodities depression drive cost cutting gone too far?

Two dozen missing in vast mudflow of Brazil mine disaster

Sun Nov 8, 2015 1:23am EST
Brazilian authorities late on Saturday were investigating a second suspected death after two dams at a major mine in the country's southeast burst and unleashed a massive mudflow that wreaked havoc across more than 80 km (50 miles).

A dozen residents of villages downstream from the burst dams remain missing, along with 13 workers from the mine. Officials warned of a higher death toll even as they struggle to find bodies probably swept away by the torrent.

One death from the disaster was confirmed on Friday, and authorities reported the body of someone believed to be a second victim on Saturday evening. A spokesman for the state fire department said they expected to be able to determine on Sunday if the body is that of one of the missing people.

"The death toll will rise for sure," said Duarte Júnior, mayor of Mariana. "Some people still aren't accounted for."

The city is near the hard-hit town of Bento Rodrigues, whose residents are still providing authorities with names of people believed missing.

City officials released a partial list of missing people, including three children aged 4 to 7 and a 60-year-old woman from the village, which was swamped by mudslides within a half-hour of public warnings after the dams burst on Thursday.

As rescue crews worked during the weekend, Brazilians once again raised longstanding questions about the regulatory rigor and the health and environmental risks of mining, one of the country's biggest industries and a key driver of exports.

The governor of Minas Gerais, the mineral-rich state whose name literally means "general mines," has already characterized the accident, which soaked much of the area beyond the dams with mine waste, as the state's worst-ever environmental disaster.

The mine's operator, Samarco, is co-owned by the world's largest mining company BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX)(BHP.N)(BLT.L) and the biggest iron ore miner Vale SA (VALE5.SA)(VALE.N). Clean-up and repairs along miles of flooded river could cost the companies a fortune.

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?

Transparent solar cells are here, but they won't see the light of day for years

By Chloe Olewitz November 7, 2015
Imagine a world where every pane of glass on the planet – from the screen on your smartphone to the windows on your house – was a solar panel capable of capturing energy. And not those blacked-out photovoltaic cells, either; we’re talking fully-transparent, crystal clear solar panels that look just like a piece of glass. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but believe it or not, the technology that would enable this kind of thing already exists. California-based startup Ubiquitous Energy has developed a completely transparent solar panel that’s practically indistinguishable from your average pane of glass – it’s just a matter of scaling it up for production and making the tech available. To find out how long we’ll have to wait until every building in the world is outfitted with power-generating window panes, we caught up with Ubiquitous Energy’s CEO and co-founder Miles Barr.

At first, the basics of transparent photovoltaics are a little counter-intuitive. A solar power cell indistinguishable from a standard pane of glass would have to let all visible light pass through in order to be fully transparent, but without capturing some of the light there is no source to generate power. But here’s the kicker — as it turns out, these solar cells aren’t capturing light that’s visible to the human eye. Instead, they’re designed to trap infrared and ultraviolet light, while allowing all visible wavelengths sail through unobstructed. Once the infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths are captured, they’re directed to the edges of the panel, where the light is captured by a very thin strip of traditional photovoltaic material and transformed into electricity.
UE clearly has its hands on a potentially revolutionary technology here, but unfortunately it’s still in the very, very early stages of development. The world of the future may very well be filled with transparent solar cell windows, but we definitely won’t get there overnight. So far, Ubiquitous Energy has focused its commercial application efforts on wearable devices and digital signage as the first official tech releases with transparent solar power panel screens, according to CEO Miles Barr. “With the world’s first truly transparent solar technology we are able to use the full surface of these products for energy harvesting without impacting aesthetics or function”, he said. Wearable gadgets, for example, could benefit from significantly extended battery life with transparent photovoltaic panels inlaid in the screens themselves.
Eventually, the Ubiquitous Energy team believes they will be able to completely eliminate the need for batteries in small consumer gadgets and even smart phones. Construction began on a rapid prototyping pilot production facility last year, as part of the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. With so many production wheels in motion, Ubiquitous Energy is already partnering with commercial companies and manufacturers to join in development agreements that could bring solar powered consumer technology products to market even quicker.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished October

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

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