Friday, 3 June 2016

Under A Cloud.

Baltic Dry Index. 606 -06       Brent Crude 50.04

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

Brexit odds checker.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.

Otto von Bismarck.

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.

We open today with Wall Street favourite Oracle under a cloud of suspicion. Is cloud computing all that it’s hyped up to be? A whistle blower lawsuit against Oracle alleges it’s not. Oracle denies the allegations, and at this point it’s impossible to know more, but I suspect that there’s no smoke without a fire, and if it turns out that there’s a fire, others in the “cloud” are likely doing the same thing. There’s never a single cockroach, goes the old saying.

Oracle whistleblower suit may put dark cloud over stock

Published: June 2, 2016 5:49 p.m. ET
Opinion: Uncertainty about cloud-accounting allegation likely to weigh on Oracle
Wall Street is already jittery about the impact that cloud computing services, and their low profit margins, is having on corporate software companies like Oracle Corp. So when Svetlana Blackburn, a former employee, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court against Oracle on Wednesday regarding accounting practices at its cloud computing business, it was the last thing investors wanted to hear.

Blackburn, who is described as a senior finance manager of Oracle’s ORCL, -3.97%  North America SaaS/cloud revenue, alleges that her “superiors instructed her to add millions of dollars in accruals to financial reports, with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers.” Her suit also led to a series of statements on Thursday by five law firms that are commencing investigations into possible securities fraud on behalf of shareholders, and some intend to file class-action lawsuits against Oracle.

On Thursday, Oracle’s ORCL, -3.97% shares fell about 4% on Thursday to close at $38.66.
Oracle denied any wrongdoing. “We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement. “This former employee worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group. She was terminated for poor performance and we intend to sue her for malicious prosecution.”
----According to her complaint, which alleges a retaliatory firing, Blackburn calls herself “an experienced CPA, auditor and finance professional” who “was well aware of Sarbanes-Oxley controls and directives to adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).” Blackburn alleges that her employment “came to an abrupt end because she resisted, refused to engage in and threatened to blow the whistle on accounting practices she reasonably believed to be unlawful.”

Blackburn stated that she received a positive performance review in August 2015, but that in September, “her supervisors charted a course that veered from legal, ethical and company standards.” She was fired in October 2015.

Walter Pritchard, an analyst with Citigroup, issued a note Thursday in which he admitted it is difficult to ascertain if there is any merit to Blackburn’s claims, but said the case adds uncertainty for investors. Oracle’s cloud bookings/billings/revenue has proven more challenging to parse than some of its peers, such as SAP SE SAP, -0.36%  , Inc. CRM, -0.25%  and ServiceNow NOW, +1.45%  , Pritchard said.
Despite yet another failed OPEC meeting yesterday, in the oil sector, the crude oil rally seems to have legs. Yet at a crude oil price above $60 US shale wells already drilled but not completed, will start to come into play. In our new 21st century world of rigged markets, something smells of price rigging, to this old dinosaur commodities follower.

Saudi Arabia Says Oil at $50 Won’t Hinder Market Recovery

June 2, 2016 — 8:30 PM BST Updated on June 3, 2016 — 5:00 AM BS
Oil prices at $50 won’t allow shale oil and other higher-cost producers to lift supply to levels that hinder market recovery, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said.

Prices need to be at level above $50 a barrel for more crude supplies to come back to the market following a slump over the past two years, Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, told reporters in his suite in a Vienna hotel.

"I talk to a lot of industry executives and board members. I don’t think you are going to see a rush back into investments at $50," he said after attending the biannual meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday in the Austrian capital.

OPEC, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s crude output, decided Thursday to stick to its policy of unfettered production after its 13 members failed to agree on a ceiling. Thursday’s meeting follows a recovery in oil to almost $50 a barrel from below $30 in January. That suggests OPEC’s Saudi-led decision in 2014 to maintain output amid a global glut is finally paying off, with higher-cost producers cutting back.

Al-Falih, who was appointed oil minister last month to replace Ali al-Naimi, said that he doesn’t have a clear number for the price that will allow crude supply to come back rapidly.
“I don’t know what that level is,” he said. “But I think the level is going to be higher than $50. I think we tested $100 to $110 and we’ve found it was bringing in too much supply. So take a guess, it’s somewhere in between.”
But in other energy news, oil may follow coal over the rest of the 21st century. While solar power’s day is not quite here, it’s about where AC electricity was at the turn of the 20th century. I suspect that except for heavily polluted mega cities, pure electric vehicles will turn out to be a niche market in the 21st century, with super-efficient internal combustion engine EV hybrids likely to dominate in transportation. But in 21st century electric power generation and storage, solar seems the likely future to me.

Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free

June 2, 2016 — 12:00 AM BST Updated on June 2, 2016 — 8:14 PM BST
Chile’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving electricity away for free.

Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities.

Chile’s increasing energy demand, pushed by booming mining production and economic growth, has helped spur development of 29 solar farms supplying the central grid, with another 15 planned. Further north, in the heart of the mining district, even more have been built. Now, economic growth is slowing as copper output stagnates amid a global glut, energy prices are slumping and those power plants are oversupplying regions that lack transmission lines to distribute the electricity elsewhere.

“Investors are losing money,” said Rafael Mateo, chief executive officer of Acciona SA’s energy unit, which is investing $343 million in a 247-megawatt project in the region that will be one of Latin America’s largest. “Growth was disordered. You can’t have so many developers in the same place.”

A key issue is that Chile has two main power networks, the central grid and the northern grid, which aren’t connected to each other. There are also areas within the grids that lack adequate transmission capacity. 

That means one region can have too much power, driving down prices because the surplus can’t be delivered to other parts of the country, according to Carlos Barria, former chief of the government’s renewable-energy division and a professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago.

"Michelle Bachelet’s government has set the energy sector as a priority,” said Carlos Finat, president of the country’s renewable association, known as Acera. “But planning has been focused in the short term when it is necessary to have long term plans to solve these type of issues."

Storage sunrise: Solar battery makers eye take-off as prices fall

Thu Jun 2, 2016 11:09pm EDT
When Frances Miao put solar panels on the rooftop of her three-storey home in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill, the emergency doctor planned to wait five years before spending more on battery storage.

But with payments falling for feeding any unused energy back into the power grid, Miao decided to double down on her investment with a battery so she can use more of the electricity she generates.

Energy giants such as Panasonic, Tesla and Samsung SDI are targeting Australia as a test ground for battery storage, betting that more consumers in the country with the world's highest rate of rooftop solar panels will rush to batteries as prices fall from current levels around A$10,000 ($7,200) for an average home.

"(Australia) has very high residential solar penetration, plenty of sunshine, relatively high energy prices and ... governments are not subsidizing to the extent they used to," said Panasonic Australia Managing Director Paul Reid.

"It creates an environment that we think is very much conducive to the take-up of battery storage, perhaps more than any other country in the world right now."

Solar is expected to become the leading source of renewable power by 2040, according to the International Energy Association (IEA). By 2050, it is expected to account for about half of the global renewables market, or 16 percent of total global energy supply. This would be split evenly between rooftops and industrial scale parks.

Australia is seen as an ideal opportunity, with around 1.5 million, or 15 percent, of households already equipped with rooftop solar.

Morgan Stanley estimated in a 2015 report that battery installations in Australia could soar to a million by 2020. Industry sources estimate there are less than 1,000 modern battery systems currently in place.

---- Growth hopes are being spurred by expectations that battery prices will fall as mass take-up begins. Australian energy retailer AGL expects costs to fall by 60 per cent over the next five years as materials performance and chemical technology improve.
We end for the week with Japan, where in the finest tradition of the Bank of Japan who officially announced no plan to bring in negative interest rates, only to bring in NIRP a few days later, Japan’s transport ministry went even better, denial and reverse within a day.

Japan transport ministry denies imminent Suzuki raid over mileage tests

Business | Thu Jun 2, 2016 3:06am EDT
Japan's transport ministry on Thursday said it had yet to decide whether to conduct a raid on Suzuki Motor Corp over its use of improper fuel economy tests, denying a report by the Asahi newspaper that it was planning a raid.

"We're considering it, but we haven't made a decision yet," a transport ministry official said.

Suzuki declined to comment on the report.

Japanese investigators raid Suzuki Motor over false tests

Thu Jun 2, 2016 10:59pm EDT
Japanese investigators raided Suzuki Motor Corp's headquarters on Friday as they probe the minicar maker's use of improper fuel economy tests, an official said.

Investigators were looking for confirmation of Suzuki's claims that it had used data compiled from indoor tests performed on individual parts, rather than vehicle coasting tests, the transport ministry official said.

It was the second such raid by the transport ministry on a Japanese automaker after Mitsubishi Motors Corp in April, as the government cracks down on manufacturers over the mileage testing scandal.

Mitsubishi's admission that it had misrepresented its fuel economy readings led to its takeover by Nissan Motor Co Ltd and the resignation of its president last month.

Suzuki's improper tests involved 14 branded models and 12 models sold under other brands.
Japan's No. 4 automaker by sales has said it lacked the resources after the 2008 global financial crisis to meet regulatory testing standards. It also cited increased pressure to develop models and engines in the late 2000s.

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

Otto von Bismarck.
At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 26.64 Moz, Eligible 127.46 Moz, Total 154.10 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
No baddies today, they’re around 24/7/365, and we’ll return to them next week. Today a master class in precious metals recycling. The whole article is well worth the read. As our global population heads up towards 9 billion mid-century, a whole lot more than precious metals will need to be recycled, but this is a good start.

Precious Metals: A Resource Worth Recycling

Precious metals are among the most valuable of Earth’s resources. As long as humans have been on the planet they’ve coveted these metals. The pleasing appearance, tarnish resistance, and permanence of gold and silver have made them ideal choices throughout recorded history for jewelry, ornamentation of persons and objects, and investment in the form of coins, bars, and exchange-traded items. Platinum group metals (PGM) did not come on the historical scene until about 1800, but the high melting points, high corrosion resistance, and excellent catalytic properties of platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium make them indispensable for many industrial applications [1,2].
Commercial uses of precious metals are increasing rapidly both in number and quantity as high technology applications proliferate. Their electronic and chemical properties are exactly those needed to develop high technology products, which have fueled global economic growth in the 21st century. Without precious metals, many of the products and processes that we associate with our developing society would either not be possible or would have inferior performance.
Mining of precious metals has increased dramatically in the past few decades to meet demand resulting, often, in severe environmental damage and human health consequences as well as depletion of valuable mineral resources [3]. Metals differ from other resources in that they remain with us forever in some form. 
Recycling metals following their use provides an important means to reduce the environmental burden resulting from mining primary ore, ensures the availability of a valuable secondary source of the metal, and conserves an irreplaceable resource that otherwise would be discarded. Challenges and benefits associated with recycling precious metals are presented here. Emphasis is placed on the need for greater use of green chemistry recycling processes for effective recovery of these precious resources to prevent their extensive loss to the commons. Molecular Recognition Technology (MRT) is presented as an effective green chemistry process in commercial metal recycling together with selected examples of its use.
More. Much, much, more.
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?

Graphene Layer Adds All-Weather Efficiency To Solar Panels

May 31, 2016 @ 11:55 PM

Let’s be honest. No one likes an epic overachiever. In the nanotechnology world, no one material has been more deserving of that title than the innocent monolayer of carbon, graphene. Touted to be the next big thing in batteries, reinforced materials and nanoelectronics, it has now proven itself to have the magical power of making solar panels work efficiently even in the wet, dreary greyness that is the British Summer – no, really. We had what could almost be described as a monsoon earlier today – and it is June tomorrow!

Given the lack of regular sunshine in the United Kingdom, we have as a nation been a reluctant adopter of solar panels, which to a certain degree is pretty fair. Photovoltaic cells need a certain amount of energy to excite electrons enough to get them moving, generating electrical energy. The sunshine falling on them also needs to last long enough to charge the batteries enough to store some energy for when the sun sets. A lack of both of these conditions means that solar panels in the UK only ever supplement a household’s energy demands, with the deficit mostly being made up by mains electricity.

Finally however, researchers in the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering at the Ocean University of China and the Key Laboratory of Advanced Technique and Preparation for Renewable Energy Materials at the Yunnan Normal University, also in China, have devised a solar panel that can even work the the torrential rains of United Kingdom. While they can still rightfully be called solar panels owing to the generation of electricity when sunlight energy is used to excite an electron, the rainwater falling on these panels is also able to generate some energy too, thanks to a layer of everyone’s favourite showoff material, graphene.

When the rainwater falls on the graphene-coated solar panels, the graphene behaves like a reservoir of electrons, attracting positively charged ions to it. Water molecules themselves do not play a huge part in this process, but instead the mineral salts in the rainwater that have dissociated into positive and negative ions are able to get involved. The positively charged ions bind to the graphene, and the water sticks to the graphene to form a layer. The graphene layer and the water layer work together in these wet conditions to facilitate the generation of electricity due to the positively charged ion impurities in the rainwater. When the sun is shining again, the inner workings of the photovoltaic cell come back into play, generating electricity through dye sensitisation, much like a plant does when it photosynthesises.

With energy conversion efficiency reported to be 6.53% under test conditions of 1.5 atmospheres of pressure and with simulated raindrops, the development of this technology holds much promise in moving away from finite, polluting fossil fuels as a main energy resource, particularly in countries that can experience four seasons in one single day, and all thanks to the additional of everyone’s favourite wonder material, graphene.

Another weekend, and time flies when you’re having fun. In the Brexit campaign, the Remainiacs seem to be having all the fun. Is there any scary lie that they haven’t yet told in Project Fear?  Yesterday it was Migrant Mad Merkel’s turn, saying with unintended irony, that after Brexit GB would be “isolated.” Well part of the idea behind Brexit is to be isolated from all the global economic migrants she summoned to Germany last year. Have a great weekend everyone.

“It is the destiny of the weak Dave, to be devoured by the strong.”
With apologies to Otto von Bismarck

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment