Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 – Great Expectations. 2016 – Reality.



Baltic Dry Index. 478       Brent Crude 37.35

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

If economists [banksters, great vampire squids, politicians,] could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.

With apologies to John Maynard Keynes

A very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016 to all. The next regular update will be at the weekend in 2016.

2016 - Capex in energy and commodities down massively. Hedge funds facing redemption fever. Sovereign wealth funds under pressure, where not actually redeeming. The China slowdown accelerating with missing CEOs “turning up” daily. A global shipping meltdown turning into a sinking bust. The commodities depression to start claiming a wave of bankruptcies among the over indebted mining behemoths. A wipe-out of American frackers and Canadian tar babies. High Yield debt in freefall. Brexit! What’s not to like to a commodities dinosaur?

Survival of fittest for commodities shipping firms in 2016

Mon Dec 28, 2015 | 3:05 AM EST
LONDON (Reuters) - Shipping companies that transport commodities such as coal, iron ore and grain face a painful year ahead, with only the strongest expected to weather a deepening crisis caused by tepid demand and a surplus of vessels for hire.
The predicament facing firms that ship commodities in large unpackaged amounts - known as dry bulk - is partly the result of slower coal and iron ore demand from leading global importer China in the second half of 2015.
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index - which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities - plunged to an all-time low this month.
In stark contrast, however, tankers that transport oil have in recent months enjoyed their best earnings in years. As crude prices have plummeted, bargain-buying has driven up demand, while owners have moved more aggressively to scrap vessels to head off the kind of surplus seen in the dry bulk market.
Symeon Pariaros, chief administrative officer of Athens-run and New York-listed shipping firm Euroseas, said the outlook for the dry bulk market was "very challenging".
"Demand fundamentals are so weak. The Chinese economy, which is the main driver of dry bulk, is way below expectations," he added. "Only companies with very strong balance sheets will get through this storm."
The dry bulk shipping downturn began in 2008, after the onset of the financial crisis, and has worsened significantly this year as the Chinese economy has slowed. The Baltic Exchange's main BDI index - which gauges the cost of shipping such commodities, also including cement and fertilizer - is more than 95 percent down from a record high hit in 2008.
The index is often regarded as a forward-looking economic indicator. With about 90 percent of the world's traded goods by volume transported by sea, global investors look to the BDI for any signs of changes in sentiment for industrial demand.
"The state of the dry bulk market especially indicates that economies worldwide are likely to stay weak, much to the disappointment of central banks ... FX traders, miners, steel makers, trading houses, and commodity economies," said Basil Karatzas, head of New York consultancy and brokerage Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.
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Noble Group Shares Tumble After Moody's Cuts Rating to Junk

December 30, 2015 — 1:04 AM GMT Updated on December 30, 2015 — 4:25 AM GMT
Noble Group Ltd.’s shares slumped and its bonds fell to a record after the commodity trader had its credit rating cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service on concerns about the company’s liquidity amid the rout in raw materials.

The stock fell as much as 9.1 percent to 40 Singapore cents and traded at 40.5 cents at 12:22 p.m. local time. The shares have lost 64 percent this year, the most among members of the Straits Times Index. Noble Group’s dollar bonds due in 2020, its most liquid, were down 5.95 U.S. cents on the dollar at 63.57 cents, the lowest since they were issued in 2009, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices.

The downgrade by Moody’s may test Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Alireza’s view that while an investment-grade rating is desirable, it isn’t required for the business, with Standard & Poor’s also reviewing its stance. Moody’s decision came a week after Noble Group agreed to sell the rest of its agriculture unit to China’s Cofco Corp. for at least $750 million. While the deal may enable the company to cut debt, its liquidity remained constrained, according to Moody’s, which expects the commodity slump to be prolonged.

----Commodity companies worldwide have been hit by the selloff in energy and metals, which have been undermined by slowing growth in China and excess supplies. Moody’s placed the credit rating at BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, under review this month, citing the probability that weak commodity prices may persist for years.
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Hedge Funds Struggle With Steep Losses and High Expectations

When David Einhorn, the founder of Greenlight Capital, plays host to his investors at the American Museum of Natural History in January, his guests will sip cocktails and dine under a 94-foot blue whale in the Milstein Hall.

William A. Ackman will hold court one week later, at the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, where investors in his Pershing Square Capital Management will mingle in the historic halls of marble, wood and gold.

The lavish settings will be the same as in years past, but the circumstances will be strikingly different: Both billionaire hedge fund managers, and many of their peers, will be under pressure to explain to their investors how they lost so much money this year.

As the final performance figures for the industry come in, one thing is clear: 2015 could not have ended soon enough for many managers and their investors. Hedge fund managers like Mr. Einhorn, Mr. Ackman and Larry Robbins have stunned investors with the depth of their losses — in the double digits for some of their investment portfolios through early December.
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In parochial UK news, while the UK Environment Agency Chairman, Sir Philip Dilley, slums it on holiday at his villa in Barbados while much of northern England lies in ruins under several feet of dirty water, below the all too real story of the northern floods.

Captain Cameron: Dilley, dallying in Barbados, while Walmington-on-Sea floods? Outrageous! Send out the R.A.F. to bring him back.

Sergeant Osborne: Do you think that’s wise sir?

What the authorities won’t tell you about the floods

December 26, 2015
Amid all the devastation and recrimination over the floods in Cumbria hardly anybody mentions one factor that may not be the sole cause, but certainly hasn’t helped, and that is the almost complete cessation of dredging of our rivers since we were required to accept the European Water Framework Directive (EWF) into UK law in 2000.

Yet until then, for all of recorded history, it almost went without saying that a watercourse needed to be big enough to take any water that flowed into it, otherwise it would overflow and inundate the surrounding land and houses. Every civilisation has known that, except apparently ours. It is just common sense. City authorities and, before them, manors and towns and villages, organised themselves to make sure their watercourses were cleansed, deepened and sometimes embanked to hold whatever water they had to carry away.

In nineteenth century Cockermouth they came up with an ingenious way of doing this. Any able-bodied man seeking bed and board for the night in the workhouse was required to take a shovel and wheelbarrow down to the River Derwent and fetch back two barrow-loads of gravel for mending the roads. This had the triple benefit of dredging the river, maintaining the roads and making indigent men useful.

In Cumbria they knew they had to keep the river clear of the huge quantities of gravel that were washed down from the fells, especially in times of flood. For Cumbrian rivers are notoriously quick to rise as the heavy rain that falls copiously on the High Fells rapidly runs off the thin soils and large surface area over which it falls. Cumbrian people have always known that their rivers would be subject to such sudden and often violent inundations and prepared for them by deepening and embanking their channels. Such work was taken very seriously.

There are numerous records over many centuries of the Cockermouth Court Leet (Manor Court) imposing fines on occupiers for neglecting to cleanse the watercourses that ran through their land. So important was it to prevent flooding that the court often issued detailed and explicit instructions to parishes how to cleanse their various watercourses.

----But all this changed with the creation of the Environment Agency in 1997 and when we adopted the European Water Framework Directive in 2000. No longer were the authorities charged with a duty to prevent flooding. Instead, the emphasis shifted, in an astonishing reversal of policy, to a primary obligation to achieve ‘good ecological status’ for our national rivers. This is defined as being as close as possible to ‘undisturbed natural conditions’. ‘Heavily modified waters’, which include rivers dredged or embanked to prevent flooding, cannot, by definition, ever satisfy the terms of the directive. So, in order to comply with the obligations imposed on us by the EU we had to stop dredging and embanking and allow rivers to ‘re-connect with their floodplains’, as the currently fashionable jargon has it.

And to ensure this is done, the obligation to dredge has been shifted from the relevant statutory authority (now the Environment Agency) onto each individual landowner, at the same time making sure there are no funds for dredging. And any sand and gravel that might be removed is now classed as ‘hazardous waste’ and cannot be deposited to raise the river banks, as it used to be, but has to be carted away.

On the other hand there is an apparently inexhaustible supply of grant money available for all manner of conservation and river ‘restoration’ schemes carried out by various bodies, all of which aim to put into effect the utopian requirements of the E W F Directive to make rivers as ‘natural’ as possible.

----No. The truth they don’t tell you is that even if they wanted to, neither the UK government, nor the Environment Agency has the power to dredge – or the money. So next time you see David Cameron and his MP acolytes swanning around Cumbria in wellingtons, high-viz jackets and hard hats, wringing their hands and promising to do whatever it takes to protect us from flooding, ask them how exactly they intend to get round the European Water Framework Directive. And they would have to tell you they can’t. Not while we remain in the EU. So any sympathy politicians express for the plight of their constituents is either based on ignorance, or deceit. It’s about time we asked them which it is.
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And in other El Nino weather news, not climate news.

Midwest floodwaters threaten towns; at least 18 deaths reported

Published: Dec 29, 2015 9:51 p.m. ET
Rare winter flooding hit sections of the Mississippi River on Tuesday, topping levees near St. Louis, threatening hundreds of homes and shutting parts of two interstate highways.

Heavy rains from a storm system that devastated towns in Texas over the weekend with tornadoes caused rivers to rise to unusual levels in parts of Missouri and Illinois more accustomed to flooding in the spring when snows typically melt.

At least 18 deaths have been blamed on flooding in Missouri and Illinois. Flooding was expected to continue over the next week, working its way toward Arkansas and Mississippi.

On Tuesday, crews piled sandbags along the Mississippi River, which is expected to crest outside St. Louis this week at levels topped only once before, in the record flood of 1993, according to the National Weather Service. The Coast Guard closed a portion of the river to all vessels Tuesday because of high water and fast currents.

“There’s going to be a lot of property loss, and in many areas it’s a flood of record,” said Mark Fuchs, a service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

El Nino rocks winter weather worldwide with floods, twisters, blizzards

Late-December weather sees tornadoes and snowstorms in Texas, widespread flooding in South America

By Tracey Lindeman, CBC News Posted: Dec 28, 2015 12:36 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 28, 2015 12:36 PM ET
From the one-two punch of tornadoes followed by blizzards, to unseasonably warm temperatures in Canada and Europe, to brushfires in coastal California and Australia, this spate of wacky late-December weather has been one for the history books. The extreme weather is being blamed, at least in part, on El Nino, a phenomenon that occurs when water temperatures rise above normal across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.
A wildfire in Solimar, in southern California's Ventura County, burned more than 400 hectares of land, forced the closure of parts of two major coastal highways and caused evacuations over the weekend.

U.K. floods

Flooding in England, Scotland and Wales plunged parts of the U.K. underwater, particularly northern parts of England, such as York, where the River Ouse was running more than five metres above normal summertime levels. More than 500 soldiers were dispatched to Yorkshire and Lancashire to assist in rescue efforts, according to the BBC.

Wild U.S. weather

Tornadoes, snowstorms, floods and other severe weather events caused more than 40 deaths in the United States over the weekend. 

South American floods

Flooding in the area where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay meet forced nearly 150,000 people to flee their homes last week. El Nino has brought torrential rains to the area, causing levees to fail and bodies of water to overflow.

Australian brushfires

Brushfires in Australia's Victoria state began Dec. 19 with a lightning strike and spread throughout the area around Melbourne. According to the BBC, the fire had burned nearly 2,200 hectares by Dec. 26, with fires burning out of control on Christmas Day.

Unseasonably warm winter weather

In some parts of the world, including many pockets of Canada, unseasonably high winter temperatures made for a green holiday season.

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.

John Maynard Keynes.

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 40.21 Moz, Eligible 119.92 Moz, Total 160.13 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Next year, stepped up efforts to catch the High Frequency Trading thieves? Well maybe. The exchanges make too many fees from all the HFT thieves. Will it be more a case of look, but don’t look too hard?

Market Police Deploy New Weapons Against Spoofers

December 29, 2015 — 12:00 AM GMT
The day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, volume was so heavy on the Nordic stock exchanges that Joakim Strid’s team of analysts identified 500 instances of possibly fraudulent trading -- and that was before lunch.

“It’s been a very busy morning,” said Strid, the head of European surveillance at Nasdaq Inc.
Strid’s Stockholm-based staff was keeping an eye on trading with Smarts, a software program Nasdaq uses to unearth suspicious behavior on 13 markets in Europe and the tech-driven exchanges it manages in the U.S. Alerts pop up on terminal screens that indicate possible “spoofing,” an illegal scheme in which traders drive the prices of stocks up and down with bogus buy and sell orders.

“The next step is to conclude whether it’s worthy of further investigation,” Strid said.

Nasdaq’s market technology business produced $59 million in net revenue in the third quarter, and Smarts has emerged as the No. 1 trading-surveillance player in the world at a pivotal moment for the burgeoning industry. Allegations that Navinder Singh Sarao, a 37-year-old day trader near London, contributed to the flash crash in May 2010 by spoofing the futures market is just one of a series of cases that have focused the investing world this year on a specific breed of algorithmic fraud.

With regulators pressing market participants to root out securities scams, Nasdaq and its rivals are jockeying to install the equivalent of closed-circuit TV cameras on trading platforms around the world to monitor and record every gyration that a security or a derivatives contract makes.

Cinnober Financial Technology AB, also based in Stockholm, provides market surveillance to exchanges ranging from the Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse to the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange. Vertex Analytics helps the CME Group Inc. and the Chicago Board of Trade scrutinize the futures markets. And London Stock Exchange Group Plc uses its own Millennium program to police its U.K. exchange. In 2016, the $450 million trading-surveillance market may increase as much as 10 percent, according to Aite Group, a Boston-based consulting firm.

“Every time there’s a high-profile case, there’s more spending on surveillance systems,” said Danielle Tierney, a senior analyst at Aite.

While regulators have long relied on whistle-blowers and spreadsheets to detect abnormal trading behavior, these methods can’t handle the firehose of data that now floods the markets. There were as many as 300 million price-quote changes on a single trading day in the U.S. stock markets in 2015, an eleven-fold jump from 2005, according to Credit Suisse Trading Strategy data. It’s easy for fraudsters to slip phony bid and ask orders into the flow, said Michael O’Brien, head of product development at Smarts.

“We have to capture every trade now,” O’Brien said. “In today’s markets it’s all about analyzing patterns and contexts.”

Yet given how rapidly fraudsters can change their methods to hoodwink human beings, outwitting surveillance software could be even easier. Algorithms are sophisticated but they’re incapable of determining whether a flurry of buy and sell orders are legitimate or unlawful.
“The surveillance tools are merely the first line of defense,” said Haim Bodek, founder of Decimus Capital Markets, a New York-based algorithmic investing firm. “These tools can help bring suspicious activity to the attention of regulators, trading venues and brokers, but they’re a poor substitute for a compliance program that monitors activity across affiliated accounts and groups of traders.”
Even when the technology does uncover possible skulduggery, it takes years to adjudicate cases because prosecutors need to prove the intent of traders. In December 2010, surveillance analysts in the London office of Bats Global Markets Inc. used Smarts to figure out how a trio of traders in Hungary were spoofing the shares of a small Australian mining firm. The spoofers drove down the stock price with phantom sell orders, scooped up the shares, and then goosed the price with phony bids, according to a civil suit brought against them by U.K. regulators.
----Aiken said it’s only a matter of time before spoofers begin manipulating the prices of securities and derivatives contracts in multiple markets at the same time, including dark pools.
“If you can influence prices in one market and trade somewhere else, then let’s see who catches you,” Aitken said.
More
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-29/in-algo-wars-market-police-deploy-new-weapons-against-spoofers

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?

Infosys launches 6.6MW solar power plant on its campus in Telangana

Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Dec 28, 2015, 07.36 PM IST
Infosys on Monday launched a 6.6 MW solar PV (photovoltaics) power plant on its Pocharam campus in Telangana.

With this launch, combined with the existing 0.6 MW capacity rooftop solar plant, the Infosys campus in Pocharam will be one of the first corporate campuses in India that will be run completely by renewable energy.

The plant, with a total capacity of 7.2 MW, has been successfully synchronized with the grid and is expected to generate 12 million kWh per annum. This initiative is expected to reduce the company's CO2 emissions by 9,200 tons.

Currently, the company has installed 12 MW solar power plants (onsite) across its campuses and another 3 MW is expected to be completed within the next two months.

Ramadas Kamath, executive vice-president and head - infrastructure, facilities, administration, security and sustainability, Infosys, said, "Companies have a responsibility to the communities in which they are present and sustainable development and climate change are issues that businesses need to get actively involved in. We hope other companies will emulate us, aligning to the goals committed by India at COP21, Paris, with an overall objective of creating a sustainable future."

The Infosys IT SEZ at Pocharam is a 450-acre campus. The Phase-1 of this campus has a built-up area of 30 lakh square feet with 16,000 seats, software development blocks, residential training facilities, food courts, recreational facilities, multi-level car parking, water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant and utility blocks.
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The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November

DJIA: +25 Down. NASDAQ: +121 Down. SP500: +45 Down. 

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