Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Bear Signal.

Baltic Dry Index. 329 +02        Brent Crude 36.58

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

Brexit odds checker. http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politics/eu-referendum/referendum-on-eu-membership-result

Brexit Quote of the Day.
David Cameron has not a single redeeming defect.
With apologies to Benjamin Disraeli.

We open with the S&P nudging towards a bear market signal, though with yesterday’s close it seems to have given that bear signal. As 11 states vote today in America on “Super Tuesday,” if you think US voters are angry now, just wait until it’s clear that the US economy is back in recession, and that seven years of the central banksters and politicians enriching Wall Street’s fat cats was all for nought.

The S&P 500 is close to flashing a bearish signal it hasn’t displayed since 2008

Published: Feb 29, 2016 7:39 a.m. ET
Watch out because a key stock benchmark is close to a “bearish crossover,” warn chart watchers.

The S&P 500 SPX, -0.81%  is not far from having its 10-month moving average cross below its 20-month moving average from above for the first time since 2008, says Jonathan Krinsky at MKM Partners in a note dated Sunday.

There have been just two other such crossovers in the last 22 years, and “both coincided with cyclical bear markets,” cautions Krinsky, MKM’s chief market technician. His note offers the chart below.

Technical analysts often say that a market’s downward momentum is confirmed with this type of bearish crossover, which happens when a shorter-term moving average drops under a longer-term moving average. In happier times, upward momentum is confirmed when a shorter-term moving average jumps above the longer-term average, as Investopedia has explained.

While the S&P has nabbed two weekly advances in a row and may end with a gain for February, Krinsky writes that he doesn’t think the U.S. stock benchmark is in “a sustainable uptrend” in part because of the bearish crossover that’s close to occurring.

The crossover will have happened if the S&P ends Monday’s session below 1,970, Krinksy adds. 
 [The S&P 500 closed at 1932.23.]
Next, trouble at the steel mills and coal mines in China. Will China produce a Chinese Arthur Scargill? Somehow I doubt it, although industrial unrest was growing all last year.

China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in coal, steel sectors

Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:47am EST
China said on Monday it expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, or about 15 percent of the workforce, as part of efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity, but no timeframe was given.
It was the first time China has given figures that underline the magnitude of its task in dealing with slowing growth and bloated state enterprises.
Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, told a news conference that 1.3 million workers in the coal sector could lose jobs, plus 500,000 from the steel sector. China's coal and steel sectors employ about 12 million workers, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics.
"This involves the resettlement of a total of 1.8 million workers. This task will be very difficult, but we are still very confident," Yin said.
For China's stability-obsessed government, keeping a lid on unemployment and any possible unrest that may follow has been a top priority.
The central government will allocate 100 billion yuan ($15.27 billion) over two years to relocate workers laid off as a result of China's efforts to curb overcapacity, officials said last week.
China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao quoted Premier Li Keqiang as telling U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday that the fund would mainly focus on the steel and coal sectors.
The number of layoffs was reasonable based on the government's capacity closure targets, said Jiang Feitao, an industry researcher with the China Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think-tank.
He said the funds being made available would be used only after the enterprises go bankrupt and settle their debts. He said local governments would also be responsible for dealing with those debts.
"It's difficult to predict a timeframe but it will not be a quick process. There are many issues to be dealt with, including how to pay debt as well as layoffs."

China's manufacturing PMI highlights sluggishness

Published: Feb 29, 2016 8:19 p.m. ET
BEIJING--China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index, a gauge of the nation's factory activity, fell to 49.0 in February from 49.4 a month earlier, official data showed.

The fall adds to signs of sluggishness in the world's second-largest economy, although economists cautioned that seasonal factors affected the figures in February, as most factories were closed for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

The reading, released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics, marks the seventh straight month of contraction in the gauge of manufacturing activity. A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity, while a reading below 50 points to a contraction.

The February PMI fell short of a median forecast of 49.4 by 11 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The subindex measuring new orders dropped to 48.6 from 49.5 in January, while the production subindex decreased to 50.2 from 51.4, the statistics bureau said.

China's official nonmanufacturing PMI, also released on Tuesday, also fell to 52.7 from 53.5 in January.
In EUSSR news, Euroland is doomed says the man who used to run the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street. The 19 nations using the German run Euro are increasingly acrimonious, with the German Monetary Union, wealth and jobs destroying for Club Med.

“There is no historical precedent for such an arrangement. It involves each country’s giving up power over its internal monetary policy to an entity not under its political control. Such a system has economic advantages and disadvantages, but I believe that its real Achilles heel will prove to be political; that a system under which the political and currency boundaries do not match is bound to prove unstable.”
Milton Friedman.

Mervyn King: the eurozone is doomed

Szu Ping Chan28 February 2016 • 10:14pm
The eurozone is doomed to fail and will lurch from crisis to crisis unless it is broken up, according to the former governor of the Bank of England.

In his new book, Lord King claims that steps towards fiscal union will not quell tensions in the 19-nation bloc and could even tear it apart.

He warns of a looming “economic [and] political crisis” triggered by endless bail-outs, austerity demands and pressure from the “elites in Europe” and the US to create “a transfer union” to solve the eurozone’s woes.

In the second extract of The Telegraph’s exclusive serialisation, Lord King warns that this has “sowed the seeds of division” in the bloc and created support for populist parties. Further steps towards political union, where countries are forced to cede sovereignty and yield to Brussels diktats, could spark a public backlash.
“It will lead to not only an economic but [also] a political crisis,” he says. “Monetary union has created a conflict between a centralised elite on the one hand, and the forces of democracy at the national level on the other. This is extraordinarily dangerous.”

---- Policymakers, already scarred by repeated rounds of brinkmanship, are unlikely to reach an accord, he argues. “The underlying differences between countries and the political cost of accepting defeat have become too great.
“That is unfortunate both for the countries concerned – because sometimes premature promotion can be a misfortune and relegation the opportunity for a new start – and for the world as a whole because the euro area today is a drag on world growth.”
Germany and the rest of the eurozone must “face up” to the fact that uncompetitive countries in the south can only prosper again if the bloc is broken up, Lord King argues.
Europe’s biggest economy faces the “terrible choice” of writing a blank cheque to support the bloc “at great and unending cost to its taxpayers” or calling “a halt to the monetary union project”, he says.

More fractures developing in the European Union

Published: Feb 29, 2016 11:31 p.m. ET

Irish elections the latest to show fissiparous forces breaking up the economic union

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Neither holy nor Roman nor an empire was the verdict of Voltaire on the patchwork of several hundred semi-sovereign principalities, townships and fiefdoms spread out over Europe from medieval times up to the early 19th century. The French writer-philosopher would take a similarly dim view of economic and monetary union, which is not working economically, mixes up monetary and fiscal policy, and is looking ever less like a union.

But one point is clear: the European Union is looking ever more like the Holy Roman Empire.

As provisional weekend results from the Irish legislative elections on Feb. 25 underlined, the decision-making bonds among European states are becoming progressively weaker partly because no one is actually in charge. This was third consecutive European election demonstrating dissonance and fragmentation, following similarly inclusive outcomes and swings to smaller antiestablishment parties in Portugal in October and Spain in December.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny — despite presiding over Europe’s most impressive recovery following a deep recession in the wake of the euro’s EURUSD, +0.0644%  post-2010 crisis — has admitted his coalition has failed to secure a return to office. Kenny’s Fine Gael party will remain the largest in Parliament, but with only a narrow lead over its main rival, Fianna Fáil. The Labour party, the junior coalition partner, suffered badly, whereas nationalist Sinn Féin, smaller parties and independents all fared well.

More disarray will be on show on March 10. The governing council of the European Central Bank meets to decide on further easing of monetary policy, probably including a further cut in negative interest rates. The measures will command a majority on the decision-making council but, amid widespread recognition that Europe is running out of monetary tools to curb its political and economic ills, they will end up pleasing virtually no one throughout the 19-member bloc.

Underlining the impression of amorphous rudderlessness, Mario Draghi, the ECB boss, is one of the “five presidents” who produced a report last summer proclaiming the need for more European integration. During a visit to Berlin last month, every one of my government interlocutors warned me against taking the conclusions seriously.

More cacophony is expected to result in Germany on March 13 in three important regional elections in federal states. Amid massive hostility to the government’s handling of immigration from conflict-torn areas of the Middle East and North Africa, the vote is expected to produce big losses from both parties in the Berlin grand coalition, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, which are formally coalition partners but moving into an opposition role ahead of the 2017 federal elections.

Norway Seeks to Piggyback on ‘Brexit’ Deal to Escape EU's Grip

February 29, 2016 — 11:01 PM GMT
As the U.K. agonizes over whether to stay or leave, Norway is eyeing its own way of distancing itself from the European Union.

The thing is, the Nordic nation isn’t part of the club to begin with.

The case illustrates how hard it will be for the U.K. to escape the bloc’s influence even if decides to head for the exit. While voters have twice rejected joining the EU, Norway has still adopted 75 percent of it laws to access the lucrative single market.

Some lawmakers in Europe’s second-richest nation per capita now want a deal similar to the one U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron struck with the EU on curbing welfare benefits for workers from other member states.

“Thanks to Britain’s agreement with the EU, we could solve some of our own issues,” said Arve Kambe, a lawmaker of the ruling Conservatives who is chairman of parliament’s labor and social affairs committee.
“We want to have the same options that Britain has with work-related benefits.”

With an economy backstopped by an $810 billion wealth fund, Norway has a lot to offer foreign workers. The nation provides its 5.2 million residents with publicly funded health care, parental benefits and practically free education.

As a result, it now spends about 223 million kroner ($25.8 million) a year on family and work-related benefits for migrants, according to Kambe. The problem, for Kambe, it that much of the cash is being sent back to Poland, Bulgaria or other countries where the cost of living is lower. These payments should be adjusted depending on the country, he said.

The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.
Benjamin Disraeli.
At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 24.79 Moz, Eligible 129.47 Moz, Total 154.26 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

America's tragic descent into fantasy economics

Jeremy Warner27 February 2016 • 8:03pm
If you think the quality of the economic debate around Brexit is poor, spare a thought for the hapless American voter, who is being subjected to one of the most bizarre displays of fantasy economics I’ve ever come across.
Ted Cruz wants to return to the gold standard, while his Republican rival, Marco Rubio thinks all banking regulation should be abolished.
Against this nonsense, Donald Trump, now the Republican favourite, looks almost sane, though he doesn’t seem to have thought at all about the damage deporting 11 million immigrants would do to the US economy, or indeed the harm that would be inflicted by protectionist tariffs.
As for the Democrats, Bernie Sanders claim that his policies would lead to a 5.3pc growth rate is so obviously off the wall that it has prompted a letter of complaint from a top drawer group of former presidential economic advisers.
“Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic”, they say.
It’s all quite scary. The only consolation in this descent into economic madness is that once in office, the new president, however whacky he was beforehand, tends to get sat on and ends up with something much more sensible. Populism may be what it takes to get elected, but in the US at least, is rarely allowed to govern.

Cameron: I'm no fool.

Juncker: Your secret is safe with me.
With apologies to Joe Orton and Loot.

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?

New research unveils graphene 'moth eyes' to power future smart technologies

New ultra-thin, patterned graphene sheets will be essential in designing future technologies such as 'smart wallpaper' and Internet-of-things applications

Date: February 26, 2016

Source: University of Surrey

Summary: New research has shown how graphene can be manipulated to create the most light-absorbent material for its weight, to date.
New research published today in Science Advances has shown how graphene can be manipulated to create the most light-absorbent material for its weight, to date. This nanometre-thin material will enable future applications such as 'smart wallpaper' that could generate electricity from waste light or heat, and power a host of applications within the growing 'internet of things'.
Using a technique known as nanotexturing, which involves growing graphene around a textured metallic surface, researchers from the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute took inspiration from nature to create ultra-thin graphene sheets designed to more effectively capture light. Just one atom thick, graphene is very strong but traditionally inefficient at light absorption. To combat this, the team used the nano-patterning to localise light into the narrow spaces between the textured surface, enhancing the amount of light absorbed by the material by about 90%.
"Nature has evolved simple yet powerful adaptations, from which we have taken inspiration in order to answer challenges of future technologies," explained Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute.
"Moths' eyes have microscopic patterning that allows them to see in the dimmest conditions. These work by channelling light towards the middle of the eye, with the added benefit of eliminating reflections, which would otherwise alert predators of their location. We have used the same technique to make an amazingly thin, efficient, light-absorbent material by patterning graphene in a similar fashion."
Graphene has already been noted for its remarkable electrical conductivity and mechanical strength. Professor Ravi's team understood that for graphene's potential to be realised as material for future applications, it should also harness light and heat effectively.
Professor Silva commented: "Solar cells coated with this material would be able to harvest very dim light. Installed indoors, as part of future 'smart wallpaper' or 'smart windows', this material could generate electricity from waste light or heat, powering a numerous array of smart applications. New types of sensors and energy harvesters connected through the Internet of Things would also benefit from this type of coating."
Dr José Anguita of the University of Surrey and lead author of the paper commented: "As a result of its thinness, graphene is only able to absorb a small percentage of the light that falls on it. For this reason, it is not suitable for the kinds of optoelectronic technologies our 'smart' future will demand."

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February

DJIA: 16517 -23 Down. NASDAQ:  4558 +45 Down. SP500: 1932 -17 Down. 

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