Thursday, 2 June 2016

Rising Madness.

Baltic Dry Index. 612 Unch.       Brent Crude 49.82

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

Brexit odds checker.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
'You just never know. That unpredictability is the great thing about life. You change. The world changes. You live in a country where we are still blessed with enormous opportunity. Leave yourself open to the world of possibility. You have the ambition, you have the smarts and you have the toughness. So, turn the page on your biography - you have just started a new chapter in your lives.'

Lloyd Blankfein unintentionally backs Brexit.

For an extra treat all this week, scroll down to the end to watch “the modern Mozart,” a 10 year old child prodigy from Vilnius, play Albinoni.

Up first today, the madness of the jobs and wealth destroying EUSSR, as it gets ready for its latest round of Russian roulette. The EUSSR is rotten to its core. Will June 2016 go down in history as the month the EUSSR died, like December 1991 for its role model the USSR? Below the madness of modern day Europe.  France gets a walk, “because it’s France,” and not Greece. Does Germany really need to wave a red flag at Turkey’s Erdogan bull? Why would John Bull want to stay in a asylum like this?

“The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”
Mikhail Gorbachev.

It’s not just Brexit — Greece, Spain, France are also on the brink

Published: June 1, 2016 3:16 a.m. ET

It could be a wild weekend in late June if all the crises come to a head

LONDON (MarketWatch) — The hedge funds will have prepped their positions. The investment banks will have ordered in pizza and extra coffee ready for a long night of dealing. Exit polls will have been commissioned, and currency traders will be ready to buy or sell sterling GBPEUR, -0.7686%   as soon as they start getting a clear idea of whether Britain has voted to stay in or get out of the European Union on June 23.

But hold on. In fact, it is not just the risk of Brexit that the markets need to be worrying about. In truth, the real drama is going to come over a long and difficult weekend, leading up to potentially wild day in European assets on Monday, June 27.

Why? Over that weekend, Spanish voters will go back to the polls in another attempt to settle on a government, which may well see the far-left Podemos group make big gains. Greece will be struggling to find the money to pay back its latest debts. And if the strikes in France escalate, the country may be close to running out of its strategic fuel reserves — and approaching a total meltdown.

Brexit, Spexit, Grexit, and Frexit could all collide. The result? A car crash for the European markets.
Brexit remains the most pressing worry for investors, and rightly so. With three weeks until the vote, the polls remain very close. The latest sample for the Daily Telegraph showed a five-point lead for “Remain,” and most have showed the two camps within five to 10 points of each other.

But who knows what is going on? The U.K. hasn’t had a referendum like this for a generation. No one knows what questions to ask, what demographics to target and which side will be better at getting its people to the polling booths on the day. Either side could win comfortably.

Here is the interesting point, however. It may take until the weekend to work out what has happened. The TV networks have decided against an extensive exit poll, on the grounds that they don’t know how to make it accurate. The hedge funds are reported to be spending a lot of money on private exit polls, and the currency markets will tell us what those results look like.

But who is to say they are reliable? In fact, if it is close, we may have to wait until the votes from some of the far-flung regions of Scotland are counted, which means a final result may take a day or two. And that is only the start of the fun. Will Prime Minister David Cameron stay or go? Your guess is as good as mine. He probably won’t know himself until at least Sunday the 26th.

At the same time that is happening, Spain will be going to the polls. Last year’s election resulted in a stalemate, with the vote split between four parties who could only agree on one thing — that they all hated each other.

This time around, the result is not likely to be radically different, except in one important respect. The polls suggest that the anti-austerity Podemos party may well make the most significant gains — one shows it with 24% support, which would make it the second largest party, and its alliance with the United Left may mean it gets many more seats than that in Parliament.

Much like Syriza in Greece, Podemos rejects the spending cuts imposed by the eurozone, and demands a complete change of direction on the economy. If it gets anywhere close to power, the markets will rightly feel very nervous. True, Syriza backed down in its confrontation with the EU and the IMF. But it was a hair-raising ride, and there is no guarantee Podemos will do the same.

In truth, Spexit will be back on the agenda.

It doesn’t end there. Like a bad cold, Greece is the problem that never goes away. In July, the country is due to repay 2.3 billion euros to the European Central Bank. A deal has supposedly been agreed to roll over its never-ending bailout.

Think nothing can go wrong with that? Over the last six years, the country has proved remarkably accident prone. It hasn’t managed to get through many summers without some sort of crisis. It would take a lot of confidence to bet that this one will be any different. If it can’t find the money, then Grexit will be looming once more.

And here is a wild card to add into the mix. France.

UniCredit Hit by Departure of Two Board Members

Upheaval comes as Italian bank searches for new CEO

June 1, 2016 5:10 a.m. ET
MILAN— UniCredit SpA said two of its board members have resigned, signaling further boardroom upheaval for the Italian bank as it searches for a new chief executive.

The lender announced late Tuesday that Manfred Bischoff resigned for personal reasons and that Helga Jung was set to leave because of her commitments at the Allianz SE, a UniCredit shareholder.

Ms. Jung, who represents Allianz on UniCredit’s board, holds a number of positions at the German insurer, including sitting on its board and being chairwoman of the supervisory board of Allianz Asset Management AG.

UniCredit said that Allianz has proposed the appointment of Sergio Balbinot, a former Assicurazioni Generali SpA top manager and an Allianz board member, to replace Ms Jung.

Mr. Bischoff is a board member of Daimler AG, Airbus NV and SMS Holding GmbH, according to UniCredit.

The resignations come as UniCredit prepares to name a new CEO after Federico Ghizzoni agreed to step down last week. The bank is heading for a management shake-up and a likely cash call to shore up its thin capital buffer.

On Wednesday, a group of four board members headed by UniCredit Chairman Giuseppe Vita will meet to select a headhunter, who will compile a list of possible successors for the bank’s CEO.

EU gives budget leeway to France 'because it is France' - Juncker

Tue May 31, 2016 2:24pm BST
The European Commission has given France leeway on fiscal rules "because it is France," the president of the EU executive Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday, in a remark that may not go down well in Germany and other more thrifty euro zone states.

The European union is debating how to best apply its fiscal rules, which require a budget deficit under 3 percent of GDP and public debt to fall, at a time when some argue that more public spending would help boost economic growth.

The Commission, which is in charge of monitoring national budgets and recommending corrective measures, is sometimes accused by Germany and other northern euro zone governments of being to lenient in applying EU budget rules.

The EU executive arm gave France in 2015 two more years to bring its deficit below 3 percent of GDP, even though Paris appeared to miss agreed targets.

Asked why the Commission, on several occasions, had turned a blind eye to French infractions, Juncker admitted candidly in an interview with the French Senate television Public Senate that it did so "because it is France".

Germany braces for Turkish backlash to Armenian genocide vote

Thu Jun 2, 2016 1:13am BST
The German parliament will approve a symbolic resolution on Thursday that declares the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide", a move that risks aggravating tensions with Turkey at a sensitive time for Berlin and its European partners.

Turkey rejects the idea that the killings of up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians during World War One amounted to a genocide and has warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the run-up to the Bundestag vote that it will damage bilateral ties.

The timing could not be more awkward for Merkel, who has staked her political future on a deal with Turkey under which Ankara has agreed to stem the flow of refugees to Europe in exchange for cash, visa-free travel rights and accelerated talks on European Union membership.

After repeated delays over the past year, Merkel is powerless to stop the resolution, which has been championed by the opposition Greens party and is also supported by lawmakers from her conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats.

Berlin is expecting a backlash from Ankara. Last year, when neighbouring Austria passed a similar declaration, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Vienna and warned of "permanent negative effects" on relations.

But German officials hope the vote will not undermine the migrant deal between the EU and Turkey, which has been under a cloud since Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pushed out his prime minister last month and began questioning parts of the agreement.

"We can only hope this doesn't lead to an over-reaction from the Turkish side," said Franz Josef Jung, a senior lawmaker in Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
In Asian news, the BOJ is split on the issue of its suicide NIRP policy. Meanwhile with Abenomics still failing, Japan’s sales tax increase is delayed by two and a half years!

Bank of Japan member rips negative-rate policy

Published: June 1, 2016 11:14 p.m. ET
TOKYO — A Bank of Japan board member on Thursday issued stern warnings about the drawbacks of negative rates, underscoring tension within the central bank over Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’s ongoing monetary experiment.

Takehiro Sato, a former Morgan Stanley economist and one of the BOJ’s nine policy-board members, is among inside skeptics of Kuroda’s policy, and generally seen as having limited influence over policy. But Sato was so critical of the current easing measures in his latest speech that it added to doubts over the chances of additional easing and seemed to cause the yen to strengthen.

“I believe that the expansion of the monetary base and the introduction of a negative interest rate are essentially contradictory, and their combination lacks sustainability,” Sato said in the city of Kushiro, northern Japan.

“Moreover, I believe that the negative interest-rate policy has the effect of monetary tightening, rather than an effect of easing. In addition, the negative interest-rate policy could affect financial system stability.”

Nikkei slides on stronger yen, hazy outlook for Abenomics

Thu Jun 2, 2016 3:30am BST
Japanese stocks fell on Thursday morning as a stronger yen threatened to trim corporate profits while risk appetite weakened on global concerns such as the upcoming Brexit vote and domestic worries about the hazy outlook for Japan's economic and fiscal policies.

The Nikkei share average fell 2 percent to 16,619.86 by late morning.

Prime Minister Abe announced on Wednesday that he would delay a sales tax increase scheduled for April by 2-1/2 years, but rather than buoying markets the widely-expected announcement left many investors wondering about the outlook for further stimulus.

"There were extraordinary expectations that the Bank of Japan had to roll out something really big when they met in late April, but they didn't," said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse.

"Since then I think there has been a realization that policy reactions in Japan are perhaps not to be expected anymore - big, market-moving policy reactions. Once the market begins to accept this, and to lower expectations for fireworks and bazookas, we can start the process of re-calibrating Japan based on its relationship with global fundamentals.

Some market players said they viewed Abe's tax-hike delay as a tacit acknowledgement that his "Abenomics" economic policies, needed another 2-1/2 years to have a chance of succeeding. These domestic concerns, coupled with geopolitical risks like this month's Brexit vote, helped the yen cling to recent gains against the dollar.

Japan's automakers, which rely heavily on export sales, saw lower share prices due to the stronger yen. Toyota Motor Corp fell 1.1 percent while Nissan Motor Co Ltd slid 2 percent and Mazda Motor Corp shares were 2.9 percent lower in late morning trade.

Shares of home appliance and electronics exporter Panasonic Corp slipped 2.9 percent and tyre exporter Bridgestone Corp fell 2.6 percent.
We give the final say from Asia this morning to China.  Sounds like someone should have invited China to the G-7s recent Japanese photo-op juncket.

China vice finance minister says Fed should communicate better on rates

Thu Jun 2, 2016 5:44am BST
The U.S. Federal Reserve should communicate better with China and financial markets on its interest rate decisions, which could have a big impact on the global economy, China's vice finance minister said on Thursday.

Chinese and U.S. officials will discuss how to promote economic growth in both countries and the world economy during the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to be held June 6-7 in Beijing, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said.

"It's up to the Federal Reserve to make ultimate monetary policy decisions, but we welcome the Fed to strengthen policy communication with China and strengthen communication with the international financial market," Zhu said in a forum ahead of the annual dialogue.

Global market attention is currently focused on whether the Fed will raise interest rates at either its June or July policy meetings, he said.

In turn, China, as the world's second-largest economy, should also improve its communication with the outside world given the increased "spillover" effect of its policies, Zhu said.

Chinese market regulators came under criticism last year after a rout in stocks and an unexpected currency devaluation raised concerns about Beijing's ability to effectively communicate economic and market policy intentions.

Zhu also said the global economy faces significant downward pressure.
We close for today, with more bad news from snake bit Brazil. The carwash scandal is about to come cleaner. In 21st century Brazil, there just isn’t any honour among thieves anymore, at least not among billionaire thieves looking at 19 years without a Rolex. If Marcelo Odebrecht can’t come out to play with his 50 best friends, maybe, he says,  they can come in to play with him.

Brazil Billionaire Ready To 'Sing Like A Canary' About Petrobras

May 31, 2016 @ 11:22 AM
Incarcerated for orchestrating the crime of the century, a Brazilian billionaire named Marcelo Odebrecht seeks revenge and promises to bring down as many as 50 politicians in the processes. One of them may even be recently suspended president Dilma Rousseff.

The scandal stemming from Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petrobras has created unheard of dissaray in the capital. Dilma was chairwoman of the board of directors of the company from January 2003 to March 2010, putting her in the legal cross-hairs of criminal gross negligence charges if removed from political office. To say Brazil’s executive and legislative branches are running around like chickens with their heads cut off would be an understatement. Odebrecht, one of Brazil’s most successful executives, said he is ready to sing like a canary in an effort to lower his 19 year prison sentence, Folha de São Paulo columnist Monica Bergamo wrote on Tuesday. If there is one man who strikes fear in the hearts of Brazil’s political elites, it’s 47 year old Odebrecht. His plea bargain was reached last Wednesday. It could lead to more arrests and politicians forced to step down.

Odebrecht is a follow-the-money name in Brazil. It was Petrobras’ biggest private sector contractor, responsible for building oil refineries, among other things.  The company is also no stranger to the U.S., it is one of the biggest contractors at Miami International Airport and built the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne.
Bergamo said Odebrecht won’t be picking political favorites. He is supposedly going to provide federal prosecutors greater details about campaigns he helped finance illegally, including the Workers’ Party (PT), its allies in the Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) and the Social Democratic Party (PSDB).

On March 23, Federal Police said that Dilma’s 2014 campaign manager, João Santana, received R$21.3 million ($7 million) in bribes, but there has been no direct connection that illicit money went to her campaign. Santana was arrested in February on conspiracy charges. 

Less than one month later, another fallen executive from construction giant Andrade Gutierrez said the company gave Dilma’s campaign R$30 million between 2010 and 2012. The money came from rigged contracts to build a Rio de Janeiro nuclear power plant and the monstrous Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, the largest hydroelectric project in the world today.

Each time an A-list Brazilian executive like Odebrecht is caught in the police dragnet, their plea bargains lead to more arrests.  The case is different in the capital, where politicians are granted immunity from criminal charges but are still not free from Supreme Court judges investigating the ransacking of Petrobras.
"The international monetary order is more precarious by far today than it was in 1929. Then, gold was international money, incorruptible, unmanageable, and unchangeable. Today, the U.S. dollar serves as the international medium of exchange, managed by Washington politicians and Federal Reserve officials, manipulated from day to day, and serving political goals and ambitions. This difference alone sounds the alarm to all perceptive observers."
Hans F. Sennholz
At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 26.69 Moz, Eligible 126.30 Moz, Total 152.99 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, “God’s work” at Goldie, just got a whole lot harder, as “God” seems to be angry with some of the workers. Make that former workers. The remaining Great Vampire Squids, poor souls, are just going to have to proselytise harder, for longer, for less. For once, Ebenezer Squid was speechless. You just can’t get good Muppets these days.  Muppets aren’t what they used to be. Which begs the question, “is the world running out of greater fools?” Has Goldie drained the global pool of greater fools?
“I’m just a banker doing God’s work”
Lloyd Blankfein.

Goldman Sachs Said to Cut Dozens of Investment Banking Jobs

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut investment banking jobs in the last few weeks, joining securities firms that are adjusting to a slowdown in deal activity, according to people familiar with the matter.

The bank eliminated dozens of managing directors, executive directors and vice presidents across the mergers and debt and equity capital markets teams, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. The cuts affected bankers in cities including London, New York and Hong Kong and are in addition to the bank’s annual 5 percent cull of employees deemed underperformers, the people said.

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein is embarking on his biggest cost-cutting push in years as the bank tries to weather a slump in trading and dealmaking, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in April. The job reductions follow a similar move in the firm’s trading division this year, driven in part by a 60 percent drop in first-quarter profit.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

The investment-banking cuts represent a reversal from 2015 for a unit that was the top-ranked merger adviser during that near-record year and produced the most profit among Goldman Sachs’s four operating segments. Completed mergers worldwide have plunged more than 80 percent so far this year, while equity offerings have dropped about 65 percent.
Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn said Tuesday that the same forces that helped fuel mergers and acquisitions in 2015, such as low interest rates and sluggish growth, remain in place today and that the outlook for the business remains bright.
Goldman Sachs’s cost-cutting hasn’t prevented pressure from investors. At the bank’s annual meeting in May, its compensation plan, including a pay package that made Blankfein the highest-paid chief executive officer of a Wall Street bank for his work last year, drew the most opposition since shareholders began voting on the matter in 2009.
If the financial system goes down, our business is going down and, trust me, yours and everyone else's is going down, too.
Lloyd Blankfein’s threat.

Brexit The Animated Movie.

Brexit Quote of the week.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, tell any lie, to assure the survival and the success of the EUSSR.

Dodgy Dave Cameron, with apologies to J. F. Kennedy.

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?

A Clever Canopy Brings Solar Power to Brooklyn at Long Last

Going solar in New York is a hassle. Despite interest from residents and incentives that can cut the cost of a residential install by 75 percent, the city has been slow to adopt the technology—especially compared to the far reaches of Long Island.

Blame architecture, says T.R. Ludwig, co-founder of Brooklyn SolarWorks, a startup trying to bring solar panels to Big Apple rooftops. The market is vibrant, he says, but limited to pitch-roof, suburban-style homes. The brick and brownstone homes of Brooklyn and Manhattan tend to have flat roofs rife with obstacles like skylights, hatches, and HVAC systems. What’s more, city code requires a cleared pathway at least 6 feet wide and 9 feet high. It doesn’t help that panels on flat roofs are more susceptible to shading and tougher to position for optimal efficiency, which Ludwig says is a 33 degree pitch and pointed due south.

Overcoming these challenges required clever design. The Brooklyn firm Situ Studio created a canopy that elevates 2.5- by 5-foot photovoltaic panels (generating around 320 watts each) 10 feet above the roof. The panels are affixed to brackets and trusses mounted on 9-foot A-frame columns bolted to rails secured to the building parapets.
Situ created a parametric system in which a canopy can be easily adjusted to suit each roof’s measurements. This ensures that the canopies adhere to city codes and makes fabricating them more efficient. This drives down cost, though it still isn’t cheap. A canopy of 15 to 18 panels—the size required to offset the 6,000 to 8,000 kilowatt hours a family of four consumes in a typical year—costs about $30,000. After incentives, most canopies that size costing closer to $7,000. “Payback on these things is typically about six years,” Ludwig says.

June 2016 guide to the 5 bright planets

Three planets – Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – pop out as darkness falls in June 2016. Jupiter, the brightest of the bunch, is found in the western half of the sky and lights up the night until midnight or later. Mars, only a touch fainter than Jupiter, shines above Saturn in the southeast sky at nightfall. Saturn comes closest to Earth for the year on June 3, less than four days after Mars’ closest approach to Earth on May 30. Mars and Saturn shine close to the supergiant red star Antares on the sky’s dome, painting a bright and colorful triangle on the blackboard of night. Not only are Mars and Saturn at their brightest and best in late May and early June, they’re out all night long. Mercury appears as a morning “star” before sunrise, though this morning showing of Mercury greatly favors the Southern Hemisphere. The brightest planet – Venus – is lost in the glare of sun in June. Follow the links below to learn more about the June planets.

Finally, something too good not to share. A child prodigy from Vilnius, Lithuania. The modern Mozart. Almost worth staying in the EUSSR, if he can be persuaded to play London occasionally. The performance starts about 1.20. Almost worth staying, but only almost.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished May

DJIA: 17787  -20 Up NASDAQ:  4946 +04 Down. SP500: 2097 -18 Up.

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