Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Brexit – The Good Times Almost Back.

Baltic Dry Index. 813 -18   Brent Crude 50.21

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

"You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong."

Warren Buffett.

Don’t expect to see it on the Berlin Broadcasting Corporation, nor in the daily Bloomberg briefings on Brexit, where the bankster Remainiac propaganda rules the day, but in the saner parts of the continent made for tanks, the realisation is sinking-in that in a truly “hard Brexit” involving the re-imposition of tariffs, the rump-EU has far more to lose than John Bull. In any teenage love-rat Hollande’s version of a punitive divorce, the r-EUSSR’s exports lose out in GB to those from all over the rest of the world.

Very fine wines and champagnes are made in North America, as are fine apples and grapes grown, and “Italian” cheeses produced. North African olive oil passes as Italian now, and under Brexit we can cut out the Italian pretence and the middlemen. American and Canadian grain is at least as good if not better than French and German. The list is almost endless, though don’t let on to the lame duck Hollande in dangerous, no go area, Paris.

If overpaid, rent-seeking “British” banksters, really want to try their luck in Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, New York or Frankfurt, good luck to them, although what the poor natives of those cities ever did to deserve a plague of British rent-seeking, bankster locusts, isn’t apparent.

Under Brexit, look on the upside of life. We can return to Pounds, shillings and pence, though perhaps without the halfcrown and ha’penny. We can return to the far more accurate Fahrenheit. Trade in tons, hundredweight, stones, pounds and ounces, as in I’ll take three quarters of a pound of mince. Miles, furlongs, chains, links, rod pole and perch, feet and inches. Drink in pints and half pints. Buy petrol in imperial gallons once again. Once safely back on imperial measures, I suspect that very few continentals will want to try to work here at all. 

We can drop out of the reprehensible Eurovision song parody of music. Our airports can have a well-staffed UK and Irish immigration section again, along with a well-staffed Commonwealth and American section. We might even open up a well-staffed China and HK section. All others would line up before the remaining two desks in the “odds and sods” section, although returning banksters might be offered a faster track, on payment of say a hundred Pound fee. We could even cut a joint deal with Spain on Gibraltar, opening up another Monaco on the Med, with a whole boatload of EU and GB  tax loopholes for both. Under Brexit, the returning good times are almost endless.

"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks."

Warren Buffett.

Sweden holds out olive branch to Brexit Britain

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard24 October 2016 • 7:47pm
Sweden has warned that it would be a serious mistake to chastise Britain for voting to leave the EU, appealing instead for an amicable settlement to minimise damage for both sides.
“The softer the Brexit, the better. We’re an open country and we are in favour of free trade, and we want to see a solution that is as beneficial as possible for everybody,” said Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish finance minister.
The olive branch from Stockholm reflects the shared view of the Nordic bloc that there is nothing to be gained from a fractious divorce between Britain and the EU. 
“I think our basic instincts are the same. We’ve heard some voices from the Continent that now is the time to punish the British, whereas our instinct instead is that this is the new situation and we have to make the best of it. We have to see what is good for jobs and growth,” she told the Daily Telegraph on a trip to London.
The EU itself needs to tread with care since there are large eurosceptic movements in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. A hard-line stance that ignored the concerns of the Scandinavian bloc would risk opening fresh rifts within an already badly-fractured Union.
The comments came as Swedish companies start to feel the chilling effect of the referendum campaign in Britain and the sharp fall in sterling. Data released this week show that Swedish exports to Britain are in free-fall, with a drop of 19pc over the period from January to July compared to the same period a year ago.
Pharmaceuticals fell 38pc, chemicals 23pc, and paper goods 15pc. “It’s amazing. If this persists, it will lead to fewer jobs in Sweden,” said Andres Hatzigeorgiou form the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, speaking to Dagens Industri.

While part of the drop is a mechanical effect due to the stronger Krona, it also suggests that export profit margins are collapsing. This squeeze would be even more severe if a hard Brexit led to a yet weaker pound and to the erection of tariff barriers.

There are over 1,000 Swedish companies operating in Britain, employing 100,000 people, from Saab, Scania, and Electrolux, to Skype and Ericsson, to Ikea and H&M.  “They’re worried about potential trade barriers and tariffs, and about the Swedish personnel,” said Ms Andersson.

“A weak British pound affects Swedish exports companies, and that could of course affect the Swedish economy,” she said. Britain is the country’s third biggest foreign market.

But will any of GB’s bankster locusts really head for the continent? The continent doesn’t look to be a very bankster friendly den at present. Banksterism on the continent has passed its sell-by date. And in the madness of letting the inmates run the asylum, the EUSSR still wants to impose a financial transaction tax.

Deutsche Bank Said to Weigh Alternatives to Cash Bonuses

October 25, 2016 — 7:40 PM BST Updated on October 26, 2016 — 12:42 AM BST
Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest investment bank, is exploring alternatives to paying bonuses in cash as Chief Executive Officer John Cryan seeks to boost capital buffers and shore up investor confidence, according to people familiar with the matter.

Executives at the German lender have informally discussed options including giving some bankers shares in the non-core unit instead of cash bonuses, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Another idea under review is replacing the cash component with more Deutsche Bank stock, they said.

The supervisory board may discuss the topic of variable pay at a meeting on Wednesday, the day before the firm is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings, though no final decisions are expected, the people said.
The measures, if pursued in the coming months, would mostly impact the investment bank, the people said.
The Frankfurt-based lender is still considering other alternatives, they said. Another likely topic of discussion is a full integration of its Deutsche Postbank unit, which had been earmarked for sale, the people said.

The Wild Child of Italian Banking

By Lionel Laurent Oct 25, 2016 8:20 AM EDT
The most battered of all Italy's banks has tried to give investors a glimpse of a brighter future.

Jobs to Go 2,600

On Tuesday, Monte Paschi's new CEO outlined plans to eliminate 2,600 jobs, shut 500 branches and slash the lender's pile of bad loans to almost double return on tangible equity by 2019.

It's encouraging -- if only because it shows the bank maintains some hope of avoiding a state rescue after years of losses, soaring bad loans and derivatives bets gone wrong.

Non performing loans are more than double shareholders' equity in the bank

But it still leaves unanswered the bigger question of how the bank expects to raise about 5 billion euros in fresh capital -- about five times Monte Paschi's market value -- by the year-end.

Monte Paschi's shares gyrated as the bank unveiled its big plan

That explains the volatility of this bank's shares, which are up 30 percent in three days but down more than 80 percent in the past 12 months. The stock trades at a near 90 percent discount to its estimated book value, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Monte Paschi's stock has lost more than 80 percent of its value in the past year

That wild ride looks set to continue as Monte Paschi attempts to pull off what the bank itself describes as a "unique and unheard of" plan to rid itself of a pile of soured loans and raise fresh capital.

----That's the good news. The bad news is that Monte Paschi is trying to execute a three-pronged plan in an exceptionally compressed and potentially volatile time-frame.

The bank wants to spin off 28 billion euros of souring loans, a debt-to-equity swap and a capital increase. If one leg fails, all fail.

Making this trickier still is the Dec. 4 referendum on crucial constitutional reforms that could cost Prime Minister Matteo Renzi his job. Even if the threat of financial instability may be over-stated -- bank reform and mergers in Italy are unlikely to stop -- market volatility is likely to surge.

Italy's ailing banking industry has had a torrid year. Piecemeal reforms and rescue plans haven't reassured investors Monte Paschi will avoid a state bailout. Morelli has put his stamp on the long-term strategy and delivered some encouraging tweaks to the short-term plan. But this is still a ride for only the very, very brave. 

Anyway, for the banksters it all might be moot. In China news, is it already too late to avoid a hard landing? Any China hard landing brings on the next Lehman, and that in the words of Warren Buffett:

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.

China Can Resist a Crash But Can't Prevent One

Oct 25, 2016 6:00 PM EDT
After many years of 7- to 10-percent growth, economies tend to overheat, creating bubbles that burst. That’s what happened to South Korea and Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. But China’s economy keeps plugging along (though probably not at its published growth rate of 6.7 percent), defying the predictions of doomsaying pundits. Some indicators show a recovery this year.

That doesn’t mean that the danger of a crash has passed, however. There is growing evidence of a real-estate bubble, and the economy seems increasingly dependent on government stimulus and private-sector credit growth.

I see a few reasons why the Chinese economy really is different from most Western models, and these imply that forecasting the Chinese economy is more like predicting the winner of a race than analyzing a bubble.

Unlike the U.S., China is full of large, state-owned enterprises. That gives the Chinese government the ability to manipulate a large stock of asset wealth. The U.S. government is more dependent on flows of revenue from taxation and the private sector.

When bad economic news arrives, the Chinese government can instruct the companies it owns to spend wealth to keep workers employed. Think of this as using the companies to conduct fiscal policy rather than laying off workers, building another bridge or erecting another steel plant. Whereas Western economies take an immediate hit to income in bad times, the Chinese have been converting this into a hit to wealth, insulating themselves from major downturns.

That can be useful, but it also can be abused. Indeed, China has ended up with too few bankruptcies and significant excess capacity and lots of low-performing firms.

One problem comes when the stocks of corporate wealth are nearly exhausted, or perhaps sooner when managers of state-owned companies rebel against this policy and demand alternatives. Another problem is that too many low-productivity firms survive. So when the dramatic Chinese recession finally does come, it will be without the protective buffers of wealth that the U.S. had during its financial crisis.

Not only is China a poorer country to begin with, but it has been spending down its buffers to postpone a crisis. The decline in foreign-exchange reserves and the recent rapid run-up in debt levels are further signs of this phenomenon, namely that adjustments to wealth are substituting for shorter-run declines in income.

Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel. These once unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome after-effects. Their precise nature is anyone's guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation.

Warren Buffett.

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 29.95 Moz, Eligible 144.48 Moz, Total 174.43 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
The trouble with modern technology is that governments pay some very bad people to play around with it, all for national advantage. But not all national advantage is equal. My hacking is good. Your hacking is bad. But sometimes even the white hatters can take a liking to black hats. Who knows what Jonnie at the NSA gets up to later at night back home?

Elegant Physics (and Some Down and Dirty Linux Tricks) Threaten Android Phones

Date of Publication: 10.23.16.  Time of Publication: 7:01 pm.
Even the biggest Luddite knows to download updates for his apps and phone. That ensures that the software isn’t vulnerable to easily avoided attacks. Research into a different type of vulnerability, though, has recently shown that manipulating the physical properties of hardware can pose a different digital threat—one that can’t be patched with software alone. Now, researchers in Amsterdam have demonstrated how this type of hack can allow them, and potentially anyone, to take control of Android phones.

The vulnerability, identified by researchers in the VUSec Lab at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, targets a phone’s dynamic random access memory using an attack called Rowhammer. Although the attack is well-known within the cybersecurity community, this is the first time anyone’s used it on a mobile device. It’s troubling because the so-called DRAMMER attack potentially places all data on an Android phone at risk.

“The attacks that we are publishing now show that we need to think differently about how we protect software,” says Victor van der Veen, one of the researchers involved in the work. “A thing like Rowhammer shows that at any given time a trap can come up that nobody ever thought of.”

The group disclosed its findings to Google three months ago, and the company says it has a patch coming in its next security bulletin that will make the attack much harder to execute. But you can’t replace the memory chip in Android phones that have already been sold, and even some of the software features DRAMMER exploits are so fundamental to any operating system that they are difficult to remove or alter without impacting the user experience.

In other words, this isn’t easy to fix in the next generation of phones much less existing ones.

The Dutch research group had worked on Rowhammer attacks before, and shown they could target data stored in the cloud, and other computer scientists have worked in this area as well. But no one had tried attacking a phone. “When we started doing this people openly had questioned whether Rowhammer would even be possible on mobile chips because they have a different architecture,” says researcher Cristiano Giuffrida.
The attack involves executing a program that repeatedly accesses the same “row” of transistors on a memory chip in a process called “hammering.” This can eventually lead that row to leak electricity into the next row, causing a bit, which only has two possible positions, to “flip.” Since bits encode data, this small change alters that data, however slightly, creating a foothold for gaining more and more control over the device. But it must be just the right foothold, and that’s why building on the group’s previous precision Rowhammer research was so crucial.
In the new Android attack, the first step was seeing whether it was even possible to flip bits on mobile phones. The researchers started by attempting Rowhammer attacks on Android phones they had root access to, and quickly observed flipped bits on test devices like the Nexus 5. Some memory chips are more resilient than others, and variables like age and temperature impact how easy it is to flip bits. Ultimately, though, flipped bits showed up in 18 of the 27 handsets they tested. The proof of concept led them to try flipping bits on phones they did not have root access to, and here, too, they succeeded.

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?

Below, more on green cars. Personally, I prefer metallic silver, with a red leather interior, though I did once own a 1959, 3.8S, triple carb., FHC, RHD, British Racing Green, Jaguar XK-150. It did 130 mph on the M4 between Heathrow Airport and Reading, England one sunny Sunday morning back in the good old days.

Scientists say boron nitride-graphene hybrid may be right for next-gen green cars

October 24, 2016
Layers of graphene separated by nanotube pillars of boron nitride may be a suitable material to store hydrogen fuel in cars, according to Rice University scientists.

The Department of Energy has set benchmarks for storage materials that would make hydrogen a practical fuel for light-duty vehicles. The Rice lab of materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari determined in a new computational study that pillared boron nitride and graphene could be a candidate.

The study by Shahsavari and Farzaneh Shayeganfar appears in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir.

Shahsavari's lab had already determined through computer models how tough and resilient pillared graphene structures would be, and later worked boron nitride nanotubes into the mix to model a unique three-dimensional architecture. (Samples of boron nitride nanotubes seamlessly bonded to graphene have been made.)

Just as pillars in a building make space between floors for people, pillars in boron nitride graphene make space for hydrogen atoms. The challenge is to make them enter and stay in sufficient numbers and exit upon demand.

In their latest molecular dynamics simulations, the researchers found that either pillared graphene or pillared boron nitride graphene would offer abundant surface area (about 2,547 square meters per gram) with good recyclable properties under ambient conditions. Their models showed adding oxygen or lithium to the materials would make them even better at binding hydrogen.

They focused the simulations on four variants: pillared structures of boron nitride or pillared boron nitride graphene doped with either oxygen or lithium. At room temperature and in ambient pressure, oxygen-doped boron nitride graphene proved the best, holding 11.6 percent of its weight in hydrogen (its gravimetric capacity) and about 60 grams per liter (its volumetric capacity); it easily beat competing technologies like porous boron nitride, metal oxide frameworks and carbon nanotubes.

At a chilly -321 degrees Fahrenheit, the material held 14.77 percent of its weight in hydrogen.

The Department of Energy's current target for economic storage media is the ability to store more than 5.5
percent of its weight and 40 grams per liter in hydrogen under moderate conditions. The ultimate targets are 7.5 weight percent and 70 grams per liter.

Shahsavari said hydrogen atoms adsorbed to the undoped pillared boron nitride graphene, thanks to weak van der Waals forces. When the material was doped with oxygen, the atoms bonded strongly with the hybrid and created a better surface for incoming hydrogen, which Shahsavari said would likely be delivered under pressure and would exit when pressure is released.

"Adding oxygen to the substrate gives us good bonding because of the nature of the charges and their interactions," he said. "Oxygen and hydrogen are known to have good chemical affinity."

He said the polarized nature of the boron nitride where it bonds with the graphene and the electron mobility of the graphene itself make the material highly tunable for applications.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished September

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

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