Saturday, 30 April 2016

Weekend Update 30/04/2016 – Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Brexit Countdown Clock.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
“We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

It is the last day of April and another hard frost this morning. But that’s just fine since the clear sky at 4:30 am walking the dog, provided an excellent view of Saturn trailing ever brightening Mars, in the southern sky. A late rising waning moon in the east, merely adds to God’s spectacular free early morning show.
In the EUSSR, still including Eurozone Sealion, aka Great Britain, everyone’s off celebrating Mayday this long weekend. Near where I walk Rosie daily in the countryside above the River Pang valley, the equestrian center will hold a Gymkhana on Monday. It is also one of the biggest weekends for GB’s garden centers.
The good news over, now comes the bad news. Uncle Scam has just about had his fill of all the currency wars. The Saudis war on US frackers, is now starting to show results. The American War Party’s botched coup in Kiev, together with Russian sanctions, and Draghi’s ECB currency war, is now taking out Uncle Scam’s dairy industry. It’s a funny old world as the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, Communist money, gets more and more dysfunctional in the end game.
Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.

Henry Kissinger.

U.S. calls out Asia’s leading exporters, Germany over economic policies

Published: Apr 29, 2016 4:28 p.m. ET
 The Obama administration has delivered a shot across the bow to Asia’s leading exporters and Germany for their economic policies and warned that a number of major economies around the globe could face intense pressure to engage in currency interventions to counter slow growth.

The U.S. Treasury Department, in its semiannual currency report to Congress, called out China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Germany for relying on policies that it says threaten to damage the U.S. and the global economy.

The countries are cited in a new name-and-shame list that can trigger sanctions against offending trade partners under fresh powers Congress granted last year to address economic policies that threaten U.S. industries.

Morning After In The Shale Patch—-Oilfield Workers Getting Slammed

by Wall Street Journal • April 29, 2016
The slump in crude prices is starting to show up as missed payments by consumers in the oil patch.

In states from Oklahoma and Texas to North Dakota and Wyoming, rising unemployment in the energy sector is pushing up loan delinquencies and raising the risk of new losses for banks.

Wells Fargo & Co. this month reported an increase in borrowers falling behind on payments in areas including Houston and parts of Alaska. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said auto-loan delinquency rates picked up in some energy-related markets.

Overall, energy-dependent states are posting delinquency rates that in many cases exceed the national average, according to data prepared for The Wall Street Journal by credit bureau TransUnion.

“In these energy states, we are clearly seeing the impact of the loss of oil jobs,” said Ezra Becker, senior vice president and head of research at TransUnion. “We don’t expect to see any kind of material improvement in the short term.”

Some 119,600 oil and gas jobs nationwide have been eliminated—22% of the total—since September 2014, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The price of U.S.-traded oil, while on the rise this year, has dropped 28% since June. Some analysts have warned that persistent crude oversupply could prevent further price gains.

Car loans and credit cards have been affected the most, and there are some early signs of delinquency-rate increases in borrowers who can’t make mortgage payments. Moody’s Investors Service said the share of borrowers in oil-focused areas falling 30 days behind on a pool of Freddie Mac mortgages, while low at 0.38% in December, began to exceed the average elsewhere in the country last summer. The average for other areas was 0.29% in December.

----While delinquency rates overall are still low, the regional trend risks hurting profits at smaller banks, potentially leading to tighter standards for loans like mortgages and home-equity lines of credit.

“Do I expect delinquencies to be on the rise? Absolutely,” said Doug Weedin, president of Pinnacle Bank-Wyoming, a community bank with about $710 million in assets, based in Cody.

Auto-loan delinquency rates at Pinnacle Bank jumped to just over 1% of outstanding loan dollars in the fourth quarter of 2015 from 0.1% in the year-ago period, according to data provider S&P Global Market Intelligence. Delinquencies could rise given the large number of layoffs in Pinnacle’s region over the past two months that Mr. Weedin said aren’t reflected in the latest data.

Oil Market Deja Vu Triggers Predictions of a Return to $30

April 29, 2016 — 3:24 PM BST Updated on April 30, 2016 — 12:01 AM BST
Oil’s climb above $45 a barrel is reassuring influential figures from BP Plc to the International Energy Agency that the industry is finally recovering from the worst slump in a generation. Others say the market is about to fall into the same trap as last year.

There’s a sense of deja vu at Commerzbank AG, BNP Paribas SA and UBS Group AG, who say crude’s gain of about 70 percent from a 12-year low in January resembles the recovery that took hold this time last year -- only to sputter out by May as the supply glut endured. Prices will sink back towards $30 a barrel in the coming weeks, BNP and UBS warn.

“There are dangerous parallels to 2015,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “The market already appears overheated and a correction is overdue.”

Last year, Brent crude rose 45 percent from January to almost $68 in May as traders anticipated a rapid decrease in U.S. output as drilling rigs were idled. The rally reversed when production kept rising, peaking at 9.61 million barrels a day in June 2015, a year after the price slump began. While drilling cutbacks eventually took their toll and the nation’s output slipped to 8.9 million barrels a day last week, the current recovery could boost industry activity and slow the decline.

The price increase has been reinforced by unplanned disruptions in producers such as Nigeria, Iraq and Kuwait. Even the failure of talks between OPEC and other major producers in Doha to freeze production couldn’t dent this month’s rally, which for Brent is on track to be the biggest in almost seven years.

----But for now supply still exceeds demand, and will continue to do so if prices don’t stay low for long enough to strangle investment in the U.S. shale industry, according to BNP Paribas.

The U.S. Is Sitting on a Mountain of Cheese

Move over bacon, we have a new food glut to deal with.

April 29, 2016 — 9:43 AM BST
When bacon was abundant it was everywhere: in your jam, on seemingly every burger, even flavoring bourbon. So if history is any guide, this year's food trend should be extra cheese.

The reason is the U.S. is sitting on more butter and cheese than it knows what to do with, and the Europeans are to blame.

Exports from the European Union have climbed so far this year and last -- even after the bloc's once-largest customer, Russia, banned trade in retaliation for sanctions over its incursion in Ukraine. A glut of milk, plunging prices and a weakening euro mean the EU has been able to grab customers in Asia and the Middle East, while U.S. sales have fallen.

European dairy products are so cheap right now that the U.S. itself has become the new No. 1 customer for some products -- imports of EU butter doubled last year and rose 17 percent for cheese, according to the European Commission. All that excess supply is building up in U.S. refrigerators, especially as American dairy production heads to a record this year.

USDA statistics show cheese inventories at the end of March were the highest for the date since 1984, the year Prince's "Purple Rain" was released. More than half of the supply is American cheese, while Swiss accounts for about 2 percent, and the rest the government classifies as "other."

 "It's been difficult for them to export, given the strong dollar, and they're sucking in imports," said Kevin Bellamy, a global dairy market strategist at Rabobank International in Utrecht, the Netherlands. “Where the U.S. has lost out on business, Europe has gained.”

This year, the EU has boosted butter exports by 27 percent while cheese shipments rose 13 percent, according to the European Commission.

Even though sales increased, things are still pretty dire for European dairy farmers, who've warned for months that rock-bottom prices risk putting them out of business. Average raw milk prices in the EU have slumped to the lowest levels since 2010. U.S. prices have also started falling, with cheddar on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading this week at a five-year low.
In other news, China and America continue shadow boxing over the South China Sea. China attempts to end the commodity market chaos caused by some of the Chinese stimulus money flowing in to rampant speculative gambling.

China denies Hong Kong visit request by U.S. carrier group: Pentagon

Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:27pm EDT
China has denied a request for a U.S. carrier strike group led by the USS John C. Stennis to visit to Hong Kong, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday, amid heightened tensions over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, said a U.S. warship, the USS Blue Ridge, was currently in Hong Kong on a port visit and the United States expected that to continue.

Urban said the request for the Hong Kong visit by the carrier and its accompanying vessels, which have been patrolling the South China Sea, was recently denied, despite a "long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong."

A U.S. Navy official, who did not want to be identified, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry's commissioner in Hong Kong conveyed Beijing's denial of visit, saying it was "not convenient" at this time.

The Chinese government and its embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The nuclear-powered Stennis has been conducting patrols in the South China Sea, which China claims most of and where Beijing has sparked U.S. and regional concerns by building artificial islands to bolster its claims.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Stennis while it transited the South China Sea on April 15 to underscore U.S. concerns about the need to maintain freedom of navigation in the face of Chinese moves.

Exclusive: China securities regulator confirms order to curb futures speculation

Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:07am EDT
China's securities regulator on Friday urged commodity futures exchanges to curb excessive speculation following a surge in prices that has sparked fears markets were heading for a dangerous boom-and-bust cycle.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said it would not allow the futures market to become a "hot-bed" for speculators.

The CSRC comments confirmed a Reuters story earlier on Friday that the regulator had asked commodity futures exchanges in Dalian, Shanghai and Zhengzhou to bring speculative trading activity under control.

Investors, including hedge funds and retail investors, have placed big bets on Chinese commodities futures this year, driving up contracts including in iron ore, rebar, cotton and even eggs. The rally has prompted many analysts to warn of similarities with a boom in the country's stock markets, which reversed into a sharp crash last summer.

The futures market should stick to its fundamental purpose of serving the real economy, and regulators will "adamantly prevent the futures market from becoming a hotbed for short-term speculators," the CSRC said in a statement on its official microblog.

"We will continue to guide the exchanges to take appropriate actions against excessive speculation and illegal behaviors," the regulator said.

Three people with direct knowledge of the situation said the CSRC had issued its order to the exchanges to bring speculative trading under control on Monday.

In response, the exchanges ordered major institutional investors that lack a commodities background to rein in their trading, the people said. They didn't define what was meant by a lack of background in commodities.

We end for the week with yet more reasons for Brexit. GB has to urgently take back control of its borders, from the inmates running the EUSSR asylum.
No foreign policy - no matter how ingenious - has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.

Henry Kissinger.

EU executive opposes call for easier suspension of visa-free travel

Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:58am EDT
A proposal by Germany and France to make it easier to suspend visa-free travel to the European Union from countries such as Turkey drew a frosty reception from the executive European Commission on Friday.
In what was seen as a move to make visa liberalization for Turks, Ukrainians and Georgians more acceptable, Berlin and Paris wrote to EU partners this week calling for a tougher safeguard mechanism in case of a spike of asylum requests, overstays or readmission refusals.

Under their plan, which would have to be formally put forward by the Commission, any member state would be allowed to suspend visa-free travel from any country for six months unless EU states voted by a qualified majority to overrule it. [Emphasis added.]

The proposal came in the midst of a debate about whether to extend visa liberalization to Ankara by the end of June under a deal to curb the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe.

The Commission is due to report next Wednesday whether Turkey has met the 72 technical and legal conditions to qualify for visa-free travel. If so, member states and the European Parliament would have to approve the plan.

Former Labour MEP jailed for four years over dishonest expenses claims

Friday 29 April 2016 11:34 GMT
An MEP who claimed nearly £500,000 in expenses dishonestly has been jailed for four years.
Peter Skinner was a Labour MEP for the South East between 1999 and 2014.

He was found guilty of three charges after a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

The BBC first reported that Skinner was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one court of false accounting.

Skinner claimed thousands of pounds for support staff that actually went toward jewellery, and outings to hotels and restaurants.

The MEP, of Snodland in Kent, said he was confused over the rules and blamed European Parliament procedures.

The BBC said his fraud eventually added up to £480,000.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will be pleased to see justice done as someone who stole vast amounts of their money is sent to jail.

"Skinner’s case highlights the shameful lack of accountability and transparency in the European Parliament’s expenses system which is clearly open to abuse: the fact that he was able to defraud the system over a period of years shows the inadequacy of current safeguards to protect taxpayers' money from corrupt individuals."

"Hola. I'm a British Socialist Labour MEP from God forsaken Snodland in Kent GB. Here's 
my expenses claim."

"Holy Shit! This is more that we pay the Belgian King, and that lying Luxembourg bastard Juncker!" "Get Blair on the phone."

"It's Dodgy Dave there now sir."

"Call the EUSSR police! The Stassi."
Have a Great Weekend everyone, whether celebrating Mayday or not.

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