Friday, 1 April 2016

The Central Bankster’s Joke.

Baltic Dry Index. 429 +15        Brent Crude 39.85

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

Brexit odds checker.
Brexit Quote of the Day.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell.

It is April 1, and today’s April fool’s joke is the central bankster, QE, ZIRP and now NIRP engineered economic recovery, from the Great Implosion of 2007-2009.  Despite voodoo economics and running the electronic printing presses red hot, nothing seems to be working as central bankster planned. China has a gargantuan malinvestment bubble going hopelessly wrong and now about to wipe out John Bull’s remaining steel industry. In Euroland, the ECB this month is about to go all Japanese.   
In God’s waiting room itself, the old age islands of Japan, absolutely nothing work out for Abenomics or the central banks Kuroda. In the land of Uncle Scam between the shining seas, the massive distortion of capital under fallen former guru Greenspan, Bernocchio, and the current talking chair at the Fed, triggered an oil patch boom and bust, that now sees America losing out to the Saudis, and the imminent bankruptcy of the bulk of Uncle Scam’s fracking industry. Yet not one man in a million can put it down to the increasing failure of the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, communist money, August 15, 1971.
"Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalistic System was to debauch the currency... Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million can diagnose."
John Maynard Keynes.

Japan domestic sales drop 3.2% on year in March

Published: Apr 1, 2016 1:15 a.m. ET
TOKYO--Japan's domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses declined 3.2% from a year earlier in March, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Friday.

Sales totaled 404,813 vehicles in March, the association said.

Separately, sales of minicars with an engine displacement of up to 660cc fell 16.7% year over year in March to 231,088 vehicles, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.

Auto sales, as measured by registrations of vehicles with the government, are monitored by economists since they are the first consumer spending numbers released each month.

Japan business mood sours to three-year low, adds to doubt over 'Abenomics'

Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:01pm EDT
Business sentiment among Japan's big manufacturers deteriorated to the lowest in nearly three years and is expected to worsen in the coming quarter, a closely watched central bank survey showed on Friday, heightening pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan to do more to shore up the ailing economy.

Big firms also plan to cut capital expenditure plans in the current fiscal year, underscoring the challenges the BOJ faces in aggressively printing money to nudge risk-shy companies into boosting spending.

To keep the economy afloat, Abe may have to delay yet again a sales tax hike scheduled for next year.
The weak reading will also keep the BOJ under pressure to loosen monetary policy further when it reviews its quarterly forecasts later this month, some analysts say.

"This data confirmed the very cautious stance of Japanese firms reflecting the market volatility since January. There's no signs of corporate sentiment bottoming in coming months," said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at SMBC Friend Securities.

"There's more than a 50 percent chance the BOJ will consider easing policy further this month."

The headline index gauging big manufacturers' sentiment stood at plus 6 in March, half the level seen three months ago and worse than a median market forecast of plus 8, the survey showed.

It was the lowest reading since June 2013, as exporters felt the pinch from sluggish emerging market demand and yen rises that erode their competitive advantage overseas.

Big non-manufacturers' sentiment dropped to plus 22 from plus 25 three months ago, deteriorating for the first time in six quarters, as spending by overseas visitors moderated.

Sentiment soured for manufacturers and non-manufacturers big and small for the first time since June 2014, 
when Japan was reeling from the blow of a sales tax hike in April of that year.

China official factory activity unexpectedly expands but job losses mount

Fri Apr 1, 2016 12:51am EDT
Activity in China's manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in March for the first time in nine months, an official survey showed on Friday, adding to hopes that downward pressure on the world's second-largest economy is easing.

But while output rose and new orders from home and abroad returned to growth, factories still shed jobs at a significant rate, highlighting the risks for leaders in Beijing as they try to cut industrial overcapacity without sparking massive layoffs.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.2 in March, up from February's 49 but still only marginally above the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction. The findings handily beat expectations for a further contraction.

Economists said a more than one-year blitz of stimulus measures may finally be showing some dividends, particularly steps to revive the ailing property market, with now surging home sales boosting demand for materials from cement to steel.

---- However, China watchers said more support will still be needed from Beijing and the central bank in the form of higher spending and interest rate cuts as the economy is likely to remain weak.

Indeed, a similar private survey by Caixin and Markit, which focuses on smaller firms, showed manufacturing activity shrank again in March, though at the slowest pace in 13 months.

Euro-Area Prices Drop for 2nd Month Before ECB Beefs Up QE

March 31, 2016 — 10:00 AM BST Updated on March 31, 2016 — 10:53 AM BST
Euro-area inflation was negative for a second month in March, in data released on the eve of the European Central Bank’s first day of expanded debt purchasing to fight deflation.

The consumer price index in the 19-nation bloc fell 0.1 percent from a year earlier after a 0.2 percent drop in February, according to data published Thursday. That matches the median prediction in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Core inflation, which strips out volatile elements such as food and energy, was at 1 percent, up from 0.8 percent in the prior month.

“We have seen energy putting a lot of downward pressure on headline inflation,” said Marco Valli, chief euro-area economist at UniCredit Bank AG in Milan. “Monetary policy cannot do it all, but in the short term it’s basically the only game in town. That’s how it is now, and probably how it will be if a further shock hits the economy in next months.”

The ECB will on Friday beef up monthly bond purchases to 80 billion euros ($91 billion) from 60 billion euros, after President Mario Draghi this month unveiled a raft of new measures to spur price growth, including lowering its deposit interest rate deeper into negative territory. Inflation hasn’t come near the ECB’s goal of just under 2 percent since 2013, and a moderate economic recovery has been insufficient to counteract falling oil costs.

An index of executive and consumer confidence in the euro area slumped for a third month to its lowest level in more than a year in March, the European Commission in Brussels said on Wednesday. Data on Friday will probably show the region’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10.3 percent in February, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The euro-wide number follows low readings in the region’s biggest economies. In Germany, the European Union-harmonized inflation rate rose to 0.1 percent from minus 0.2 percent, according to data released Wednesday. The rate in France was minus 0.1 percent, while Spanish prices fell 1 percent.

The U.S. Is a Big Oil Importer Again

Now that exports are allowed, the industry is hoarding foreign crude.

March 31, 2016 — 6:55 PM BST
In the three months since the U.S. lifted its 40-year ban on crude oil exports, a curious thing has happened. Rather than flooding global markets, U.S. crude shipments to foreign buyers have stalled. At the same time, imports into the U.S. jumped to a three-year high in what looks to be a reversal of a yearslong decline in the amount of foreign crude brought into the American market.

As of March 25, the four-week average of imports was running at 7.9 million barrels a day, 9.8 percent higher than the year before. “That’s not a one-week blip,” says Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures. “We’re seeing a consistent pattern.”

U.S. producers, who reaped the benefits of the shale revolution, no longer enjoy a steep price advantage over foreign rivals in selling to domestic refiners. Production has fallen by about 600,000 barrels a day from its peak of 9.6 million in 2015. Now refineries are buying foreign oil to replace the lost U.S. output—and, along with traders, are storing much of the less-expensive imported oil to sell when prices rise.

During the early years of the U.S. shale boom, the millions of barrels of light, sweet crude had one big problem: no affordable access to refiners on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. To tap into the cheaper oil pooling in Oklahoma, pipelines that used to bring imported oil up from the Gulf were reversed to take shale oil down to the coast. Refiners in Philadelphia and New Jersey also began buying North Dakota crude instead of foreign oil, moving it by train across the country. By October 2014, U.S. imports had fallen by about 40 percent from a high in 2006.

Analysts say that West Texas Intermediate crude has to be $3 to $5 cheaper than imported oil to pay for those pipeline and transportation costs. From 2011 to 2014, U.S. oil was on average $12.61 cheaper than equivalent foreign oil. The discount slowly narrowed as pipeline projects were completed and U.S. crude began to flow more freely from the middle of the country down to the Gulf Coast. A week before the Senate approved lifting the export ban on Dec. 18, WTI traded around $3 below Brent. Over the next month, the discount disappeared, and, for the first time in six years, WTI traded at a premium to Brent for a few days in January. WTI is now less than a dollar cheaper than foreign barrels available on the Gulf Coast.

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed former Luxembourg P.M., serial liar, president of the European Commission.
At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 32.32 Moz, Eligible 122.68 Moz, Total 155.00 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, branch banking approaches its “Uber moment,” says Citigroup.

Fintech growth and approaching "Uber moment" will see 30 per cent staff reduction in a decade across banks in Europe and United States, Citigroup report predicts

Thursday 31 March 2016 09:28 GMT
The banking industry in Europe and the US is approaching an "automation tipping point" - or "Uber moment" - according to a new report by Citigroup.

In a "digital disruption" note, Citi said the rise of fintech companies will mean these traditional banks reduce employee numbers by 30 per cent in the next decade.
Investment in fintech has grown from $1.8bn (£1.25bn) in 2010 to $19bn in 2015, according to Citi.
Kathleen Boyle, managing editor at Citi GPS, wrote in the report that traditional financial institutions “still have the upper hand in terms of scale” and no tipping point has been reached in the US or Europe yet.
But she added: “Given the growth in FinTech investment, this isn't likely to continue for long.”
The Citi report predicts that between 2015 and 2025 there will be another 30 per cent reduction in full-time staff - representing more than 1.8m positions - mainly from retail banking automation.
This would mean the annual rate of decline increasing from two per cent currently to three per cent.
According to Citi, there were 6.19m full-time employees working for traditional banks in the US and Europe at their peak. This figure has now reduced to 5.46m and is predicted to fall to 3.62m in 2025.
The report said banks' "Uber moment will mean a disintermediation of bank branches rather than the banks themselves".
Citi said the Uber moment will lead to a "shift to mobile distribution being the main channel of interaction between customers and the bank".
The report said: "The return of having a physical branch network is diminishing. The concept of retail banking profitability equaling outlet profitability will no longer be valid. Branches will be only one of the distribution channels.
"They will still play an important albeit diminishing role."
Brexit Quote of the week.

Damn your principles! Stick to your party.

D. Cameron, with apologies to Benjamin Disraeli.

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?

Technology to enable unzipping of the graphene plane

Date: March 30, 2016

Source: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Summary: A research team has developed a technique, which enables unzipping of the graphene plane without uncontrollable damage.
A research team at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a technique, which enables unzipping of the graphene plane without uncontrollable damage.
Professor Sang-Wook Kim's research team of KASIT's Material Science and Engineering Department has developed a technique, which enables unzipping of the graphene plane without uncontrollable damage. The research findings were published online on the January 22 issue of Nature Communications.
Graphene is a form of carbon in which its atoms form a honey-comb structure through chemical bonding. If this structure can be cut to a desired form, other carbon materials with nanostructure can be created. Many researchers have tried to obtain the accurate unzipping of graphene structures, but faced challenges doing so.
To break a very strong bond between carbon atoms, an equivalently strong chemical reaction must be induced. But the chemical reaction not only cuts out the desirable borders, but also damages the surrounding ones. Conventional techniques, which cut out graphene at once, damaged the chemical properties of the graphene structure after unzipping. This is similar to wearing out paper while manipulating it.
To solve this problem, the research team adopted "heteroatom doping." The idea is similar to a sheet of paper being split following a groove drawn on the sheet. After making some regions of the structure unstable by doping other atoms such as nitrogen on a carbon plane, the regions are electrochemically stimulated to split the parts. Nitrogen or other atoms act as the groove on the grapheme plane.
The researchers finely controlled the amount of unzipping graphene by adjusting the amount of heteroatom dopants, from which they were able to create a quality nano graphene without any damage in its 2-dimensional crystalline structure. Using this technique, the researchers were able to obtain a capacitor with state-of-the-art energy transfer speed. The nano graphene can be combined with polymer, metal, and semiconductor nano molecules to form carbon composites.
Professor Kim said, "In order to commercialize this technique, heteroatom doping should be researched further. We plan to develop fabric-like carbon materials with excellent mechanical and electrical properties using this technique."

Another weekend and a frosty one this morning, late for my part of the Thames Valley. On Sunday it is the local half marathon too, passing less than a half mile from my front door. Some 18,000 or so runners take part, though why is a great mystery to me and Rosie my Border Collie. Rather like the Great Mystery of why our central banksters think NIRP will bring anything but destruction upon the global economy. Stay long fully paid up gold and silver as insurance. Have a great weekend everyone.

Juncker: Do you realize what I'm doing here?
Dodgy Dave Cameron: No. Your every action has been a mystery to me.
Juncker: That is as it should be. The process by which the EUSSR arrive at the solution to a mystery is, in itself, a mystery.
With apologies to Joe Orton and Loot.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: 17685.09 -18 Down. NASDAQ:  4869.85 +33 Down. SP500: 2059.74 -22 Down. 

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