Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Reality Returns

Baltic Dry Index. 366 +12        Brent Crude 39.80

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

Brexit odds checker.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
Cameron, suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of the Commons; but I repeat myself.

With apologies to Mark Twain.

Reality returned yesterday.  The Bank of England came out in favour of Cameron and staying in the EUSSR at any cost, saying that not only would the sky fall in on Britain if we left, but that he and Cameron wouldn’t get any more invitations to attend a myriad of EU meetings in 5 star resorts across the continent, nor their annual invitation to the secretive Bilderberger meeting that sets the agenda for the one percent.
Reality returned too in the EUSSR, where the European Commission is suddenly in a panic over the economic condition of France and Italy. Nothing new there, just don't tell the Governor of the BOE.
Reality also returned to commodities and China. It seems China’s rally was all about trying to rig the markets until after the annual policy meeting this week is over.
Below, look out below! There may be something of a crash coming.
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.

Carney's `Brexit' Stance Under Fire as BOE Accused of Bias

March 8, 2016 — 9:58 AM GMT Updated on March 8, 2016 — 2:06 PM GMT
Mark Carney was accused of jeopardizing the Bank of England’s credibility in the European Union debate as he faced a fiery line of questioning from U.K. legislators.

While the BOE governor has spent months trying to avoid the political battle -- a task lawmaker Andrew Tyrie compared to bomb disposal -- some members of the Treasury Committee said BOE statements including an October report and a letter published Tuesday supported the government’s bid to keep Britain in the bloc. They questioned whether the central bank had overstated the positives.

EU Warns of Contagion From France, Italy Economic Weaknesses

March 8, 2016 — 4:05 PM GMT Updated on March 8, 2016 — 4:14 PM GMT
The European Commission warned France and Italy that weaknesses in their economies risk triggering a new wave of contagion to other countries as it placed the two nations in its most severe category for economic imbalances.

The euro bloc’s second- and third-largest economies, as well as Portugal and two non-euro countries -- Bulgaria and Hungary -- have “excessive imbalances,” the European Union’s executive arm said on Tuesday. The EU said it will escalate its policing of these countries’ spending policies as it warned of rising levels of public debt.

“The main reasons for concern are the persistence of high levels of indebtedness, be it public, private or external, vulnerabilities in the financial sector and/or deteriorating competitiveness,” European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters in Strasbourg, France.

With the EU forecasting growth in its 28 member countries to be 1.9 percent of gross domestic product this year and unemployment at 9 percent, policy makers are still grappling with how to eliminate weaknesses from the euro region’s largest economies.

 “The recovery in the EU remains slow and fragile, highlighting the need to step up structural reforms, encourage investment and build a more competitive economy,” the Brussels-based commission said in a report accompanying the decision. “The recovery is weak, both in historical perspective and compared to other advanced economies.”

In the report, the commission criticized Francois Hollande’s France for increasing public debt, coupled with worsening productivity growth and competitiveness. It says that this could have an impact on other nations.

Neighboring Italy has a debt-to GDP ratio that’s the second largest in the euro area after Greece. That and “protracted weak productivity” in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s economy could spill over to other nations, the commission said.

Iron Ore's Record Jump Seen as a `Blip' Rather Than Revival

March 8, 2016 — 3:10 AM GMT Updated on March 8, 2016 — 4:46 AM GMT
Iron ore bears including Citigroup Inc. are unconvinced that a record jump in prices amid renewed optimism over China’s economy signals a sustained rebound in the steel-making raw material.

The 19 percent surge Monday came after Chinese policy makers indicated their willingness to bolster economic growth, boosting the outlook for steel and igniting speculation that some investors who’d bet against the market had been caught out. Citigroup said it’s still bearish as supply and demand fundamentals remain weak while Axiom Capital Management Inc. said the price jump was probably just a “blip”.
“The issue is that China is exposed to a global economy whose growth is mediocre at best, and driving domestic demand is becoming more difficult than ever,” Jessica Fung, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, said by e-mail. “I am concerned that this is setting China up for a harder landing down the road, which in turn means a very strong reversal for iron ore prices.”
Iron ore has powered higher in 2016 as steel prices strengthened, undermining forecasts for further losses driven by mounting low-cost supply from Australia and Brazil and weakening demand in China. The pace gathered momentum as Chinese mills began to ramp up output after February’s Lunar New Year break, a tropical cyclone in January disrupted some shipments from Australia and China moved to boost the economy.
“There’s clearly what you would describe as an extreme short-covering event going on,” Wayne Gordon, executive director for commodities and forex at UBS Wealth Management, told Bloomberg on Tuesday. “To me, the rally is there to be sold, because the fundamentals of the market, being supply and demand, do not stack up to the sharp movements we’ve seen.”

China Stocks Drop as End of Day Rally Unravels on Growth Concern

March 9, 2016 — 1:34 AM GMT Updated on March 9, 2016 — 5:09 AM GMT
China’s stocks fell, giving back gains from an end of day rally that was driven by suspected state-backed fund buying. Commodity producers led declines after oil and metal prices slumped.

The Shanghai Composite Index slumped 2.7 percent. Jiangxi Copper Co. plunged the most in two months to lead miners lower in the wake of an industrial-metals selloff. The gauge erased a loss of 3.3 percent to close higher on Tuesday, led by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and PetroChina Co., which have long been considered as favored targets of government buying because of their large index weighting.

The securities regulator has asked listed companies, mutual funds and brokerages to stabilize the market during ongoing annual policy meetings, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said Friday. The government support comes as plunging exports adds to evidence of a deepening economic slowdown. 
Concern that earnings will deteriorate and a weakening yuan will spur capital outflows has made the Shanghai Composite the worst performing global index this year with losses of 20 percent.

“The market is very short-term,” said Francis Cheung, a senior strategist at CLSA Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Near-term data is negative like trade and so there is selling pressure. The government is supporting the market for the National People’s Congress, so when it ends, we could see a pullback.”

"In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension."

J. K. Galbraith.
At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 27.43 Moz, Eligible 125.35 Moz, Total 152.78 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, surprise, surprise Mexico says it won’t pay for Trump’s wall. With all those “Gaza”drug and people tunnels under the US Southern border, why would anyone pay for a wall. Michigan says they will. This is turning into the best US election campaign since Carter took on Ford.

Mexican president says won't pay for Trump wall, makes Hitler warning

Mon Mar 7, 2016 11:39am EST
Mexico's president has said his country will not pay for White House hopeful Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and likened his "strident tone" to the ascent of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
President Enrique Pena Nieto's comments, published in Monday's Excelsior newspaper, were among the most critical public comments yet by a foreign leader of the New York billionaire.
Trump, front-runner to win the Republican Party presidential nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has sparked outrage in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it.
Asked by Excelsior whether there was a "scenario" under which Mexico would pay if Trump won the presidency, Pena Nieto was clear. "There is no scenario," he said. "I have to say that I regret (the plan), and of course, I can't agree with this American politician's position."
Trump, who has also aroused concern among many in his own party with his proposals, has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the border and vowed to increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to help make Mexico pay for the wall.
Pena Nieto attacked the "populism" of the Trump campaign, which he said sought to put forward "very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve."
"And there have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity," the Mexican president added.
"That's how Mussolini got in, that's how Hitler got in, they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis.
"And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don't want that happening anywhere in the world," Pena Nieto said.
Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray called Trump's wall a "terrible" idea in an interview last week, while former Mexican presidents Felipe Calderon and Vicente Fox have both compared Trump to Hitler.

Trump wins Michigan in repudiation of Republican establishment

Wed Mar 9, 2016 12:24am EST
Republican front-runner Donald Trump rolled to primary wins in the big prize of Michigan and in Mississippi on Tuesday, brushing off a week of blistering attacks from the party's establishment and expanding his lead in the White House nominating race.

Trump's convincing win in Michigan restored his outsider campaign's momentum and increased the pressure on the party's anti-Trump forces to find a way to stop his march to the nomination ahead of several key contests next week.

In the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders stunned front-runner Hillary Clinton in a narrow Michigan primary upset, giving his upstart campaign new energy Clinton won in Mississippi, but the Sanders win is likely to ensure a prolonged nominating fight.

Trump built his victories in Michigan, in the heart of the industrial Midwest, and Mississippi in the Deep South with broad appeal across many demographics. He won evangelical Christians, Republicans, independents, those who wanted an outsider and those who said they were angry about how the federal government is working, according to exit polls.

At a news conference afterward, Trump said he was drawing new voters to the Republican Party and the establishment figures who are resisting his campaign should save their money and focus on beating the Democrats in November.

---- Michigan was the state that spawned the term "Reagan Democrats" to refer to largely white, working-class voters who abandoned their party to vote Ronald Reagan into the White House in the 1980s.

Sal Isabella, a Dearborn insurance agent, said he was for Trump because he would make things happen.

"He'll be like Reagan," Isabella said. "He'll make some big changes and we need big changes.

Brexit Quote of the week.

Cameron: He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

With apologies to George Bernard Shaw

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?

Warming up optoelectronic research for new generation of optoelectronic devices

Physicists have created a new material that can control excitons -- bound pairs of electrons and electron holes -- at room temperature, opening a path toward new optoelectronic devices for commercial applications

Date: March 7, 2016

Source: American Institute of Physics

Summary: A team of physicists is creating tailor-made materials for cutting-edge research and perhaps a new generation of optoelectronic devices. The materials make it easier for the researchers to manipulate excitons, which are pairs of an electron and an electron hole bound to each other by an electrostatic force.
A team of physicists from the University of California, San Diego and The University of Manchester is creating tailor-made materials for cutting-edge research and perhaps a new generation of optoelectronic devices. The materials make it easier for the researchers to manipulate excitons, which are pairs of an electron and an electron hole bound to each other by an electrostatic force.
Excitons are created when a laser is shone onto a semiconductor device. They can transport energy without transporting net electric charge. Inside the device the excitons interact with each other and their surroundings, and then convert back into light. This makes them attractive for new technology. Inside the device the excitons interact with each other and their surroundings, and then convert back into light that can be detected by extremely sensitive charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras.
Most of the team's previous work involved structures based on gallium arsenide (GaAs), which is a material commonly used throughout the semiconductor industry. Unfortunately, the devices they've developed come with a fundamental limitation: They require cryogenic temperatures (below 100 K) -- ruling out any commercial applications.
So the team made a radical material change to bring their excitonic devices up to room temperature. They report their results in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.

---- To make the new devices the physicists turned to new structures built from a specially designed set of ultrathin layers of materials -- molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) -- each a single atom thick.
These structures are produced via the famous "Scotch tape" or mechanical exfoliation method developed by the group of Andre Geim, a physicist awarded a Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for his groundbreaking work regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.
"Our specially designed structures help keep excitons bound more tightly together so that they can survive at room temperature -- where GaAs excitons are torn apart," explains Calman.
Impressively, excitons can form a special quantum state known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. This state occurs within superfluids and enables currents of particles without losses. The team discovered a similar exciton phenomenon at cold temperatures with GaAs materials.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February

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

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