Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Banksterism Past Its Sell-by Date.

Baltic Dry Index. 922 unch.    Brent Crude 52.66

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

The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.

Walter Bagehot

The dollar’s up, so US stocks must be down. Sterling’s down, so UK listed stocks must be up. Such is what passes for stock “investment” in our 21st century casinos. On fiat money, QE forever, ZIRP and NIRP, there’s no such thing as long term value investing anymore, just fast money get rich quick schemes, that involve high frequency algo trading, using leveraged betting of the equivalent of red or black.

The stock market’s ugly Tuesday nosedive can be explained in one chart

Published: Oct 11, 2016 7:09 p.m. ET

The U.S. Dollar Index is on track for its highest level since March

Brace for impact. U.S. stocks tumbled Tuesday and threatening to book their worst loss in October.

What’s behind the sharp drop in equities?

Was it the lackluster earnings by Alcoa Inc. AA, -11.42% to unofficially kick off the start of earnings season for the third quarter? Or was it a retreat in oil trading CLX6, +0.41% amid lingering concerns about crude producers’ ability to solidify a plan to limit oil production?

While those factors may have contributed to the recent slide, the chart below suggests that the most compelling factor weighing on equities, and for that matter oil, was the steep run-up in the dollar.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.04% —a gauge of the buck against a basket of six currencies—was up 0.8% in recent trade to 97.6860 on Tuesday. That is the highest level for the gauge in more than 7 months, according to FactSet data. The dollar indicator is up 2.3% so far this month, putting it on track for its best monthly gain since May.

However, the extended rise in the greenback may prove a headwind for major multinational companies that export products overseas, making their products more expensive to buyers using other monetary units. Technology companies, in particular, tend to draw the vast majority of their revenue overseas. Revenues in other currencies can be worth less when converted back into dollars.

As the following chart shows, a strong dollar recently has coincided with the S&P 500 index trading lower.
Meanwhile Sterling rallied as the Brexit forces seesaw back and forth in the media. Unlike the US stock market, in London about 70 percent of corporate earnings come from overseas, meaning a lower Sterling tends to boost earnings in Sterling terms, though the recent Sterling decline did look overdone. Even so, today’s short covering rally will likely prove fleeting. Brexit means taking back control of immigration from Brussels and that in itself means leaving the single market. So far, not a single, lying, cheating, stealing, leveraged gambling bankster, has decamped London for the delights of Paris, pleasant Amsterdam, or dour Frankfurt.
“I’m going, I’m going. You’ll miss me when I’m gone,” they keep yelling at the top of their lungs while stamping their feet, yet outside of the rent-seeking derivatives gambling banking bubble, very few care. If they need to adjust to a new reality, better to get on with making the adjustment. If the taxpayers of France, Holland and Germany want to take on the responsibility for bailing out the banksters once interest rates normalise, so much the better for Great Britain. What was good in the 80s and 90s has passed its sell-by date in the teens and the twenties.

Pound Jumps to Lead Rebound Against Dollar as Brexit Angst Eases

October 11, 2016 — 11:55 PM BST Updated on October 12, 2016 — 4:26 AM BST
The pound surged the most in three months against the dollar after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May accepted that Parliament should be allowed to vote on her plan for taking Britain out of the European Union.
The move by the British prime minister eased investor concerns that May would be taking a gung-ho approach to the discussions, even as she asked lawmakers to vote in a way that gives her space to negotiate. Sterling climbed against all its 31 major peers. A gauge of the dollar retreated from a two-month high that was reached Tuesday as commodities-related currencies strengthened.

“Given how aggressively short the pound the market was positioned, the prospect of U.K. parliament at least discussing the downside of a ‘hard Brexit’ has encouraged substantial profit-taking on those positions,” said Sean Callow, a senior strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney.

Top bankers warn of risk of 2017 exodus from Britain

Wed Oct 12, 2016 | 2:31am EDT
Top bankers warned on Tuesday they could start moving staff abroad as early as next year if there is no clarity on whether Britain will retain access to the European single market when it leaves the EU.

Senior executives from European divisions of some of the world's biggest financial institutions told a conference in London they felt the government's tougher rhetoric on immigration risked harming the economy. James Bardrick, the UK head of U.S. bank Citi (C.N), said the main dilemma facing the finance industry was how urgently it needed to act on contingency plans aimed at protecting their businesses, following Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union.

"How do we and when do we start making decisions ... knowing the plan is ready to go ... it could be in the first quarter of 2017," he told a conference in London.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she would trigger the two-year process to leave the EU by the end of March and last week appeared to prioritize capping immigration over retaining access to the single market.

The future of London as Europe's financial center is expected to be a major negotiating point in May's talks with EU partners, with banks keen to retain the "passporting" rights which allow them to sell financial services across the bloc.

Getting the best deal for the City of London will be an "absolute priority" in Brexit trade talks with the EU, financial services minister Simon Kirby told the conference.

Rob Rooney, CEO of Morgan Stanley international (MS.N) joined the chorus of bankers concerned about passporting, and said his bank would also have to move parts of their operations from London if Britain were shut out of the single market.

"It really isn't terribly complicated. If we are outside the EU and we don't have what would be a stable and long-term commitment to access the single market then a lot of the things we do today in London, we'd have to do inside the EU 27," he said.

Separately, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative lawmaker and member of the Treasury Select Committee who campaigned for Brexit, told Reuters that banks needed to take responsibility for their own affairs in line with their contingency plans.

"If the City has to do anything, it needs to do it now. I don't think it needs to do much but it needs to get on and do it," Rees-Mogg said, when asked about the threat of a major bank exodus from Britain.

"Bank lobbyists are going down the wrong route on Brexit. They just seem to be whingeing. I don't see what they're moaning about."

Another day and yet another warning on complacency in our 21st century, central bankster fuelled, casino stock markets.

Stock Markets Should Brace for Disappointment, Says HSBC's Laidler

October 11, 2016 — 10:00 AM BST
Equity markets are exposed to "a dangerous combination" of risk factors that investors aren't paying enough attention to.

That's the verdict of Ben Laidler, global equity strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc, who argued in an interview with Bloomberg TV that investors' relative calm belie a slew of headwinds. 
"We think markets are pretty vulnerable. You have earnings expectations which are pretty high, you have valuations which are pretty high," he said. "You look around the world, the level of economic-policy uncertainty is very, very high — I think that is a dangerous combination right now."

Except for a blip in July when the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union jolted global markets, volatility has remained relatively subdued this year, with hedging activity especially low.
Laidler put less of an emphasis on the U.S. election and the Italian referendum, which others have warned threaten to spike volatility.

"There could be a bit of complacency," he said. "We hear a lot about the sort-of 'wall of worry' but I don't really see it," he said. According to Laidler, the market's vulnerability has more to do with inflated growth expectations and valuations that have have become unmoored from corporate realities.

"If anything, the vulnerability we see is the growth expectation has got too high and we have this big rotation out of defensives back into cyclicals," said Laidler, adding that HSBC's preference is instead for defensive stocks like utilities which still offer dividend yield in a downturn.

Markets "are looking for 14 percent earnings growth next year, we're all talking about finally the earnings recession being over...I think we're being set up for a little bit of disappointment."
Perhaps the continuing, if not accelerating global slowdown, is preying on HSBC’s experts. Below, the Saudis pull the plug on their capital spending plans. By itself, not a problem, but their oil spending reduction plans are being replicated all across the planet. And yesterday Samsung threw in the towel on their Note 7 inflammable smart phone. From the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, to missing Samsung sales in the Christmas selling season, to greatly reduced investment in crude oil and natural gas projects, is the air already rushing out of the central banksters eight year bubble?

Saudi Capital Spending to Drop 71% in 2016 Amid Low Oil Prices

October 11, 2016 — 10:57 AM BST
Saudi Arabia’s austerity measures will slash capital spending this year by 71 percent, as the world’s biggest exporter of crude seeks to repair public finances damaged by low oil prices.
Capital expenditure is projected to reach 75.8 billion riyals ($20.6 billion) this year compared with 263.7 billion in 2015, according to the government’s bond prospectus obtained by Bloomberg. In 2014, capital spending amounted to 370 billion riyals.
The kingdom, with the largest budget shortfall among the world’s 20 biggest economies, has delayed payments to contractors and is weighing plans to cancel more than $20 billion of projects, according to people familiar with the plans. The government estimates that the budget deficit would decline to 13.5 percent of gross domestic product this year from 15 percent in 2015, according to the prospectus.

The government also suspended bonuses and trimmed allowances for government employees, including a 20
percent cut to ministers’ salaries. As a result, current spending will decline to 581.2 billion riyals from 714.4 billion.

Economists expect the spending cuts to weigh on the largest Arab economy. Growth will likely slow to 0.6 percent this year from 3.4 percent in 2015, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

Some of the queries Quakers are asked to consider, are: "Do you maintain strict integrity in your business transactions and in your relations with individuals and organizations? Are you personally scrupulous and responsible in the use of money entrusted to you, and are you careful not to defraud the public revenue?"

Probably why there a no Quakers on Wall Street, in the City or Parliament.
At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 29.28 Moz, Eligible 143.78 Moz, Total 173.06 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Sterling crisis? What Sterling crisis, to misquote Sunny Jim Callaghan, Prime Minister of “Grate” Britain in the winter of discontent, 1978-1979. Other than to some gambling banksters and hedge fund algos, who bet wrong on the Brexit result, lower Sterling helps rebalance the UK economy, away from the one percent, city slicker, rent-seekers in the City of London. If they all want to decamp for high tax Paris and Frankfurt, and their incoming Financial Transaction Taxes, good luck to them next time round they need another bailout.

Britain should embrace weaker pound and it needs to fall further, says former BoE governor and currency guru

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard10 October 2016 • 7:54pm
The slump in sterling is a blessing in disguise after years of overvaluation and helps to break the corrosive stranglehold of the financial elites over the British economy, according to a former bail-out chief for the International Monetary Fund.
“It is desirable from every point of view. The idea that Britain is in crisis or is on its knees before the exchange rate vigilantes is ludicrous,” said Ashoka Mody, the IMF’s former deputy-director for Europe and now at Princeton University.
“The UK economy is rebalancing amazingly well. It is a stunning achievement that a once-in-fifty-year event should have gone to smoothly,” he told the Telegraph.
Professor Mody, who led the EU-IMF Troika rescue for Ireland, said the pound had been driven up to nose-bleed levels from 2011 to 2015 by global property speculators and the banking elites acting in destructive synergy, causing serious damage to Britain’s manufacturing base and long-term competitiveness.
The role of the City as the unrivalled financial centre of Europe made it a magnet for speculative property flows from Russia, China, the Mid-East, and the wider world, a bubble that was further leveraged by cheap dollar credit though global banks operating in London.
“It was essentially a bank-property nexus, and the rest of the economy was left to suffer. It is stunning that just 1.4pc of all loans were going to the manufacturing sector,” he said.
The country was suffering a variant of the ‘Dutch Disease’, although in this case the problem was over-reliance on finance rather than commodities.
“Britain was borrowing 5pc to 6pc of GDP a year to buy imports and live beyond its means. The strong pound was great if you wanted to buy a Mercedes Benz of take a holiday in Spain, but the prosperity was an illusion, borrowed from the future,” he said.
Prof Mody said the pound was 20pc to 25pc overvalued in trade-weighted terms before the Brexit campaign got underway, based on classic IMF measures of the real effective exchange rate (REER). This currency distortion would have inflicted deep damage if it had been allowed to continue for another five years. 
“History is going to judge that Brexit at last broke the political-economy lock of a British elite wedded to banking interests, even if it happened completely by accident,” he said.
---- Lord King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, echoed the comments on sterling, saying the sell-off was largely welcome.

"During the referendum campaign, someone said the real danger of Brexit is you'll end up with higher interest rates, lower house prices and a lower exchange rate, and I thought: dream on.

Because that's what we've been trying to achieve for the past three years and now we have a chance of getting it."

"I don't think we should fear [Brexit]. It's not a bed of roses, but nor is it the end of the world," he told Sky News.

Solar  & Related Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this 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?

Battery Cost Plunge Seen Changing Automakers Most in 100 Years

Reed Landberg October 11, 2016 — 4:00 AM EDT
Plunging battery costs will drive the auto industry’s biggest change in more than a century, enabling a boom by 2030 in technologies from self-driving electric cars to ride-sharing applications.
The price of lithium-ion battery packs for electric cars has fallen 65 percent since 2010 and is likely to keep declining, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and McKinsey & Co. Consumers may appreciate the biggest impact in the form of cheaper costs for taxis, including substantial reductions for ones run by machines.
“Vehicles and the way they are used will change more in the next two decades than they have in the last 100 years,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport at BNEF, which will discuss the issue at its conference in London on Tuesday. “The impact on cities will be particularly profound.”

Driving the trend are cheaper batteries, which are the biggest cost in electric cars, along with rapidly improving computer technology that will make self-driving cars a reality on roads within the next decade. Changes already are starting to feed through in the form of an investment boom in ride-hailing applications such as Uber Technologies Inc. and the mushrooming of software developers that will link electric cars to utilities and payment systems.

Those trends will reduce the cost of running a taxi driven by a human by 3.1 percent to $2.76 a mile driven by 2025, according to the report. Self-driving taxis may be as cheap as 67 cents a mile to operate. The study counted in the total cost of owning the vehicle, driver’s pay and allowances for overhead and returns for investors.

BNEF estimated that battery costs dropped to $350 a kilowatt-hour last year from $1,000 in 2010. That boosted electric car sales to 448,000 last year from 52,000 six years ago -- and those figures are on track to hit a record 647,000 this year.
The report estimated $11.3 billion was invested in ride-hailing last year, more than double the 2014 level. The result is that automakers including Tesla Motors Inc., Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. are looking toward reducing battery prices further as a crucial part of their future strategy, and software companies like Google are experimenting on cars that pilot themselves.
The changes will reshape the auto industry, tilting the need for investment away from developing engines and toward perfecting software that drives cars and links them to the web for managing payment and navigation, McKinsey said. Power companies could benefit from a 3 percent increase in electricity demand in the next 15 years, it said.
“We will see emergence of new business models and service opportunities,” said Surya Ramkumar, a partner at McKinsey who co-leads the consultant’s future of mobility initiative. “As connectivity and autonomy increase, so does the need for sensors and software.”

Are we there yet? The reality of the driverless car revolution

By Gary Marshall March 11, 2016
Autonomous vehicles have come a long way, quite literally: Google's self-driving cars have driven more than 1 million miles, and car manufactures are already making vehicles that can do amazing things without the driver's involvement.

The self-driving revolution is clearly coming, but like excited children we can't help asking the same question: are we there yet?

Google's cars are clocking up more than 10,000 autonomous miles per week, but only when it's nice: their sensors can't currently cope with bad weather.

With 70% of Americans living in areas prone to snow and many countries offering equally challenging weather conditions, that's not ideal. That's why Ford has a bunch of hybrid Focuses tooling around in the snow in Michigan.
Bad weather can block cars' LIDAR sensors (the spinning beacons on the top which pull in huge amounts of data with each revolution to 'see' the environment), while snow on the ground can confuse the navigation software.
As Monika Wagener, manager of Public Affairs & Communications in Ford's Research and Advanced Engineering division told techradar, "we managed to make driving autonomously in snow possible by doing high resolution 3D mapping.
"That means the vehicle knows the lane markings and other details even if they are covered in snow." Ford has also been working on improved LIDAR sensors for when the weather's better.
"The new LIDARs have a more suitable beam pattern as they have been designed for various driving conditions," Wagener explains. "They also have a longer range, which is now at 200 metres."
To date, autonomous vehicles have had a human ready to take over in the event of a problem. In the long term, however, the humans will be replaced by software - and that software will need to identify false positives (for example by ensuring your car doesn't panic-brake at 70mph if a sensor "sees" something that isn't there) and take action in the event of problems with any of the in-car systems.

And of course, it'll need to take action to avoid crashes. If you search YouTube for "Tesla autopilot", you'll see that the software still has some way to go before being considered anywhere near truly autonomous.

The United Nations Convention on Road Traffic was amended to allow self-driving vehicles in 2014, provided that the vehicle's system "can be overridden or switched off by the driver", and existing UK legislation already covers testing of driverless cars provided a human can intervene.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished September

DJIA: 18308  +28 Up NASDAQ:  5312 +21 Up. SP500: 2168 +32 Up.

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