Monday, 9 May 2016

Brexit = World War 3

Baltic Dry Index. 631 -11      Brent Crude 45.97

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

Brexit odds checker.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
“Dodgy Dave Cameron: The kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree and then mount the stump to make a speech for conservation.”

With apologies to Adlai Stevenson

For more on Brexit triggering World War Three scroll down to Crooks Corner and Dodgy Dave.
With the firing on Saturday of Saudi Arabia’s long serving oil minister, the architect of the Saudi oil policy of keeping market share at any cost to price out American oil frackers, this morning we take another look at the oil market.  The giant Canadian wildfire and uncertainty over future Saudi oil policy has firmed up the weekend crude oil price, but will it hold? Officially the Saudis say that their oil policy is unchanged. But for how long is anyone’s guess. From next month onwards, Iranian production and sales will increasingly start affecting the overall market. For now though, the mid 40s crude oil price eases the budgetary pressure on Russia without doing much for America’s weakest of the oil fracking industry.
Below, a picture of a very uncertain oil sector this morning.

Oil Rises as Canadian Fires Spread, Saudi Oil Minister Replaced

May 8, 2016 — 11:27 PM BST Updated on May 9, 2016 — 4:17 AM BST
Crude rose as expanding wildfires in Canada knocked out about 1 million barrels a day of output, and after Saudi Arabia replaced Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi with a close ally of the deputy crown prince.

Futures increased as much as 2.9 percent in New York and 2.5 percent in London. The blaze has led to cuts equivalent to about 40 percent of Canada’s oil-sands production, based on IHS Energy estimates. Al-Naimi will be succeeded by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Chairman Khalid Al-Falih, an ally of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has backed the nation’s policy of prioritizing market share over prices and insisted any output freeze must involve Iran.

Oil has rebounded after slumping to the lowest level since 2003 earlier this year amid signs the global oversupply will ease as U.S. output declines. While American production has dropped, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has boosted supply to more than 33 million barrels a day, underpinned by gains from Iran and Iraq.

“The market is taking a cautious approach to the Canadian fires and keeping the price a little higher given it’s in the vicinity of the main producing region,” said David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. 
“There is no doubt the Saudi policy is working, we’re seeing declines in U.S. production. The stockpile situation will probably keep any rally from being substantive.”

West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained as much as $1.28 to $45.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $45.52 at 11:04 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract advanced 34 cents to close at $44.66 on Friday. Total volume traded was more than double the 100-day average.

Canada getting handle on Alberta wildfire, no restart yet for oil operations

Mon May 9, 2016 12:16am EDT
Canadian officials showed some optimism on Sunday they were beginning to get on top of the country's most destructive wildfire in recent memory, as favorable weather helped firefighters and winds took the flames southeast, away from oil sands boomtown Fort McMurray.

There was still no time line, however, for getting Fort McMurray's 88,000 inhabitants back into what remains of their town, or when energy companies would be able to restart operations at evacuated sites nearby. The wildfires have cut Canada's vast oil sands output in half.

"It definitely is a positive point for us, for sure," said Alberta fire official Chad Morrison in a news briefing, when asked if the fight to contain the flames had a reached a turning point.

"We're obviously very happy that we've held the fire better than expected," said Morrison. "This is great firefighting weather, we can really get in here and get a handle on this fire, and really get a death grip on it."

The wildfire scorching through Canada's oil sands region in northeast Alberta since last Sunday night had been expected to double in size on Sunday, threatening the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.

Managing Saudi's new energy mega-ministry may bring challenges

Sun May 8, 2016 10:43am EDT
Managing Saudi Arabia's new energy mega-ministry, set to oversee over half the economy and designed to cut through a tangled bureaucracy to make government more coherent and efficient, will be a formidable challenge.

The new Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry, under Khalid al-Falih, already chairman of state oil company Saudi Aramco, will handle oil and gas extraction, power generation and distribution, mining and industrial development.

The changes were announced on Saturday as part of a major reshuffle by King Salman aimed at making the Vision 2030 economic reform program easier to implement by ending decades of miscommunication and turf war between government departments.

But in creating a ministry to oversee sectors that account for 53 percent of the kingdom's economic output, the vision's architect, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is entrusting a huge part of his sweeping reforms to Falih's hands.

How the new minister will juggle a host of responsibilities, and whether he can enact massive change across this broad swathe of the economy while integrating once rival departments, is already fodder for avid speculation in Saudi energy circles.

"In order for the restructuring to succeed, accountability and responsibility has to be concentrated in the same office. This is the reason for assigning all those sectors in one ministry," said Sadad al-Husseini, an energy consultant and former senior executive with Saudi Aramco.

"It remains to be seen what kind of specific organizational changes happen at the operational level."

America's newest refinery falls victim to oil price slump

Thu May 5, 2016 3:52pm EDT
The owners of a North Dakota refinery that was the first to be built in the United States since the 1970s have curtailed output and may try to sell it, the latest victim of the oil price slump roiling the energy industry.

MDU Resources Group Inc and Calumet Specialty Product Partners LP (CLMT.O), which jointly own the refinery, said on Wednesday the refinery is running at 75 percent capacity due to high operating costs and slipping demand for diesel, its main product.

"In light of current market conditions, we are assessing various options with respect to our ownership interest in the refinery," Dave Goodin, MDU's chief executive, told investors on Wednesday.

MDU said it lost $7.2 million on the refinery, which opened a year ago, during the first quarter.

The pullback and sale potential is a reversal of fortune for a state that had prided itself on leading the North American energy renaissance.

MDU and Calumet had hoped that strong regional demand for the engine fuel would justify the project's cost when ground was broken in Dickinson in 2013. Construction delays, weather and other factors pushed the final cost to about $430 million, about 40 percent above initial estimates.

Before the Dickinson refinery's construction, North Dakota had only one refinery and was importing much of its diesel from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The oil price slump has eroded demand for diesel across North Dakota as fewer wells are brought online, thus resulting in fewer diesel-powered trucks and other equipment in operation.

Beyond North Dakota's pain, the refinery industry itself is stressed, an unusual situation as it is historically boosted by cheap crude. Growing fuel inventories and weak demand are now hammering refiners both large and small, turning a typical advantage on its head.
In other news,  whichever way the UK’s Brexit vote goes, and the Remainiacs under Dodgy Dave Cameron were out in full force over the weekend stoking up Project Fear, did you know there might be war if the UK leaves the EUSSR, at least according the UK’s paranoid Prime Minister, the UK referendum has set in motion similar calls all across continental Europe. It’s enough to make a Bilderberger choke on his breakfast champagne. Or in Juncker’s case scotch.
Dodgy Dave on Brexit is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in.

With apologies to Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.

Nearly half of Europeans in poll want own votes on EU, like UK

Sun May 8, 2016 7:48pm EDT
Nearly half of voters in eight big European Union countries want to be able to vote on whether to remain members of the bloc, just as Britons will in a referendum next month, according to an opinion poll published on Monday.

Forty-five percent of more than 6,000 people surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden said they wanted their own vote, and a third would opt to leave the EU if given the chance, poll firm Ipsos-MORI said.

The size of the potential "Out" vote ranges from as high as 48 and 41 percent in Italy and France respectively to as low as 22 and 26 percent in Poland and Spain, the firm said.

"The Italians in particular hope to have their own opportunity to go to the polls on their EU membership, which lends a sense that even if the (British) vote does ... stick with the status quo in June, it will not be the end of the EU's woes," said Bobby Duffy, head of social research at Ipsos-MORI.

Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has grown into the country's second-biggest political force, and wants an exit from the euro currency zone. France's hard-right National Front party also wants to drop the single currency.

The Ipsos-MORI online poll found that 49 percent of people in the eight countries thought Britain would vote to leave the EU on June 23, higher than the number in Britain itself, which stood at 35 percent, the survey showed.

And 51 percent said a so-called Brexit would hurt the EU's economy, while only 36 percent thought it would hurt Britain's.

British "Out" campaigners have said the country would be in a strong position in any negotiations on a new trade deal after leaving the bloc, given its standing as the world's fifth-biggest economy.

We close of the day with fears that China’s tail will wag America’s dog this week. It’s never fun running a global reserve currency late in the game.

China trade may sway Fed's rate decision

Sun May 8, 2016 10:28pm EDT
The Federal Reserve's debate over whether to raise U.S. interest rates in June may be decided in the coming week, as investors look for any cracks in China and evidence of a solid start to the second quarter in the United States.

A run of Chinese data is expected to show activity moderated in April after a strong showing in March. A Reuters poll forecast a small drop in all-important exports last month.

For much of the past year, China has been at the center of financial market turmoil, sometimes offering reassurance but mostly fuelling concern its economy - and global growth - are losing momentum.

"Trade figures always matter enormously to a trade-dependent nation like China, so April's exports and imports will be closely watched," Scotiabank's Derek Holt said.

Economic activity increased in the first quarter because of record bank lending. But worries about a commodity bubble and fast-rising home prices, as well as spreading debt defaults and bad loans, led regulators to tap the brakes on expectations of further aggressive stimulus.

Any evidence of a further slowdown in China could dissuade the U.S. Fed from tightening policy as expected in June.
There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.

Ludwig von Mises.
At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 29.22 Moz, Eligible 123.32 Moz, Total 152.54 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Last week was a busy week for Japanese megaphone diplomacy. One day after Japan’s Prime Minister Abe ordered British voters not to vote for Brexit or else, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States has intervened in the US presidential election with a coded message to vote for Clinton. It is unclear if either electorate will pay much attention to Japanese wishes, though both interventions risk spurring a backlash.

Japan ambassador takes veiled swipe at Trump's 'America First' stance

Fri May 6, 2016 12:11pm EDT
Japan's ambassador to the United States weighed in on the U.S. presidential election debate on Friday by arguing against the "America first" stance of Republican candidate Donald Trump and stressing the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Without mentioning Trump by name, the envoy, Kenichiro Sasae, told a Washington forum Japan had come up unexpectedly in the election debate, showing that nothing could be taken for granted in terms of the long-standing alliance.
"In the presidential elections, there are arguments whether the United States is going for the isolationist stance," Sasae said. "I don't want to see that kind of United States.
"I want to see the United States to be strong and come with a strong robust position, not really thinking of the United States only," he said.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election, has portrayed Japan, a long-time treaty ally of the United States, as a free-rider on security. He has suggested Tokyo might need nuclear weapons to ease U.S. financial commitment to its defense, anathema to the only country ever attacked by atomic bombs.
Japan's Minister for Regional Revitalization, Shigeru Ishiba, said comments by one candidate, who he said he would not name, were causing "a lot of concern in Japan."
Ishiba told the forum that if Japan or South Korea chose to develop nuclear weapons regional stability would suffer, and added: "I don’t think it will add to the U.S. interest."
"No matter who becomes the president, understanding the essence of the alliance, accurately grasping the international environment we have been placed in would lead, I am sure, to proper policies being implemented," he added.
Sasae said he understood there was a debate about how to make America strong, but added "the question is whether you could be strong without a proper role around the world."
"It is important not to undermine ... one, the value of the U.S.-Japan alliance; two, the geopolitical implications of emerging or resurgent powers in the world; three, the capability and strength of the United States."
Trump outlined a clear "America First" policy in a speech late last month, vowing that if he were elected president, U.S. allies in Europe and Asia would have to fend for themselves if they did not pay more for the U.S. defense umbrella.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday Japan's U.S. alliance was the foundation of Asian peace and prosperity and Tokyo hoped to be able to work with whoever becomes U.S. president.

Japan's Abe says Brexit would make UK less attractive for Japanese investors

Thu May 5, 2016 7:51pm BST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cautioned Britain on Thursday that a vote to leave the European Union in June's referendum on membership would make Britain less attractive for Japanese investors.

His intervention comes less than two weeks since U.S. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Britain that it would be "in the back of the queue" for a trade deal with the United States if it dropped out of the EU.
"Japan very clearly would prefer Britain to remain within the EU," Abe told reporters during a visit to London. "Many Japanese companies set up their operations in the UK precisely because the UK is a gateway to the EU."
He added: "A vote to leave would make the UK less attractive as a destination for Japanese investment."
Speaking through a translator at a news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron, Abe said about 1,000 Japanese companies operate in the UK employing 140,000 people.
But supporters of a British exit from the 28-nation bloc poured cold water on Abe's comments saying Japanese companies such as Toyota, Nissan and Hitachi were committed to investing in the United Kingdom regardless of the outcome.
"Japan wouldn’t accept the huge loss of control Britain has suffered because of our EU membership, so much of the public will be sceptical of the Japanese prime minister's 'do as I say, not as we do attitude,'" said Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the Vote Leave campaign.

'Brexit' could trigger World War Three, warns David Cameron

00:00, 9 May 2016
David Cameron will plead for Britain to stay in the EU and help prevent the Continent being ripped apart by another conflict.

Mr Cameron will highlight the UK’s role in bringing peace to Europe as he hits the referendum campaign trail.

Both the Prime Minister and his Brexit -backing Tory rival Boris Johnson make speeches this morning in the countdown to the June 23 vote.

Mr Cameron will refer to Britain’s role in “pivotal moments in European history: Blenheim, Trafalgar, Waterloo, our country’s heroism in the Great War and, most of all, our lone stand in 1940”.

He will recall how Winston Churchill “argued passionately for Western Europe to come together, to promote free trade and build institutions which would endure so our continent would never again see such bloodshed”.


Brexit The Animated Movie.

Brexit Quote of the week.

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie"

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

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?

Speedy ion conduction in solid electrolytes clears road for advanced energy devices

Date: May 5, 2016

Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Summary: Scientists have used state-of-the-art microscopy to identify a previously undetected feature, about 5 billionths of a meter (nanometers) wide, in a solid electrolyte. The work experimentally verifies the importance of that feature to fast ion transport, and corroborates the observations with theory. The new mechanism the researchers report points out a new strategy for the design of highly conductive solid electrolytes. 
In a rechargeable battery, the electrolyte transports lithium ions from the negative to the positive electrode during discharging. The path of ionic flow reverses during recharging. The organic liquid electrolytes in commercial lithium-ion batteries are flammable and subject to leakage, making their large-scale application potentially problematic. Solid electrolytes, in contrast, overcome these challenges, but their ionic conductivity is typically low.
Now, a team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has used state-of-the-art microscopy to identify a previously undetected feature, about 5 billionths of a meter (nanometers) wide, in a solid electrolyte. The work experimentally verifies the importance of that feature to fast ion transport, and corroborates the observations with theory. The new mechanism the researchers report in Advanced Energy Materials points out a new strategy for the design of highly conductive solid electrolytes.
"The solid electrolyte is one of the most important factors in enabling safe, high-power, high-energy, solid-state batteries," said first author Cheng Ma of ORNL, who conducted most of the study's experiments. "But currently the low conductivity has limited its applications."
ORNL's Miaofang Chi, the senior author, said, "Our work is basic science focused on how we can facilitate ion transport in solids. It is important to the design of fast ion conductors, not only for batteries, but also for other energy devices." These include supercapacitors and fuel cells.
To directly observe the atomic arrangement in the solid electrolyte, the researchers used aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy to send electrons through a sample. To observe an extremely small feature in a three-dimensional (3D) material with a method that essentially provides a two-dimensional (2D) projection, they needed a sample of extraordinary thinness. To prepare one, they relied on comprehensive materials processing and characterization capabilities of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL.
"Usually the transmission electron microscopy specimen is 20 nanometers thick, but Ma developed a method to make the specimen ultra-thin (approximately 5 nanometers)," Chi said. "That was the key because such a thickness is comparable to the size of the hidden feature we finally resolved."
The researchers examined a prototype system called LLTO, shorthand for its lithium, lanthanum, titanium and oxygen building blocks. LLTO possesses the highest bulk conductivity among oxide systems.
In this material, lithium ions move fastest in the planar 2D pathways resulting from alternating stacks of atomic layers rich in either lanthanum or lithium. The ORNL-led team was the first to see that, without hurting this superior 2D transport, tiny domains, or fine features approximately 5 to 10 nanometers wide, throughout the 3D material provided more directions in which lithium ions could move. The domains looked like sets of shelves stacked at right angles to others. The smaller the shelves, the easier it was for ions to flow in the direction of an applied current.
ORNL's Yongqiang Cheng and Bobby Sumpter performed molecular dynamics simulations that corroborated the experimental findings.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished April

DJIA: 17773.64-19 Down. NASDAQ:  4775.36 +11 Down. SP500: 2065.30 -21 Down. 

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