Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Baltic Dry Index. 1232 -08   Brent Crude 48.97

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

Eurasian Snow cover. (How bad will winter be?)

There can be few fields of human endeavour in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

We have entered the Kafkaesque world of Trumpmania. Black is the new white where it comes to stock speculation. Another real 21st century mania is underway. In America, Donald James Trump, is the new Klondike. The speculative wisdom of the new order is that you got to jump in with both feet and grab your share now. Get while the getting’s good.

The new counter revolution against the liberal elite, Hollywood “stars” and Silly-con valley moguls peddling social media electrons, has been usurped by Wall Street’s never ending supply of Squids and Banksters. “Buy your tulips now,” because tomorrow they’ll be double the price. It may not have quite the drama of the late 1979 January 1980 gold bubble, nor the excitement of the great Hunt brothers silver corner, but we have entered our second mania of the 21st century. Remind me again of how fallen former guru Greenspan’s real estate mania worked out last decade.

Below, the latest on Trumpmania. I suspect that it has a few more weeks to run until the reality of the inauguration.  Buy the rumour, sell the fact.

Dow closes above 19,000 as stocks log second straight record session

By Wallace Witkowski and Ryan Vlastelica Published: Nov 22, 2016 5:47 p.m. ET
Major U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs for a second straight session Tuesday, with the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 also clearing noteworthy psychological barriers.
U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday as the Dow industrials and S&P 500 cleared psychological milestones but major indexes simultaneously reached record highs for a second straight day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.35%  rose 67.18 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 19,023.87, its first session of surpassing and closing above 19,000. The average was led higher by more than 2% gains in both Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, +2.44%  and Home Depot Inc. HD, +2.15%  
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.22%  finished up 4.76 points, or 0.2%, at a record 2,202.94, with nine out of 11 sectors closing higher, led by gains in telecom and real-estate stocks. Additionally, consumer-discretionary names were among the biggest outperformers, lifted by retailers.
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.33%  gained 17.49 points, or 0.3%, to finish at a record 5,386.35.
As all three indexes hit new records, so did the Russell 2000 RUT, +0.92%  index of small-cap stocks. The Tuesday session marked the first time that all four indexes hit intraday records consecutive days since April 1998. The last time all four closed at records for two session in a row was March 18 and 19, 1998.

These Charts Show That Trump Is Bringing the 1990s Back to Markets

We've seen this before, sort of.

Narae Kim November 22, 2016 — 8:34 PM EST
Donald Trump's election as U.S. president is driving global markets to levels not seen in nearly two decades — but in completely different directions. And the "polarization'" of emerging and developed markets is all part of "Trump reflation,'' argues Divya Devesh, a foreign-exchange strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore.

In the post-Trump era, emerging markets have been feeling the heat. Malaysia's ringgit plunged on Tuesday to be less than 1 percent from the 4.48 per dollar it reached in September of last year, the weakest level since the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Sentiment is little different in the country's equities market, where investors sold 1.1 billion ringgit ($248 million) of shares through Friday in the biggest weekly exodus since June.

However, things are looking better across the Pacific. All four major U.S. equity benchmarks — the S&P 500 Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the Russell 2000 Index — climbed together to record peaks this week. The surge, which was helped by rallies in commodities, has taken place simultaneously for the first time since 1999.

It's all feeling a lot like the last time the Clintons were having to step away from power —  oil is again struggling to climb from multi-year lows as OPEC seeks to corral crude producers inside and outside the organization to curb supply, the yen is again (for now) the best-performing G-10 currency for the year.

Not only that, the greenback recorded 10 days of gains that were its longest winning streak against the euro since the eurozone currency was first introduced back in 1999. And the dollar's rally is being driven by the resuscitation of the bond vigilantes — the ones Bill Clinton adviser James Carville said could intimidate everybody —  as surging Treasury yields threaten to cloud the outlook for ambitious presidential spending plans.

Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

November 23, 2016 — 2:00 AM GMT
Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze.

Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars in new stores and factories, counting on Russia’s consumers to start emerging from hibernation after two years of recession.

Ikea is putting $1.6 billion into new stores over the next five years or so. Leroy Merlin in September announced a 2-billion-euro plan to more than double the number of outlets in Russia over the same period. Pfizer Inc. is building a new drug factory, while Mars Inc. is expanding plants for chewing gum and pet food.

“This is the moment for investment,” said Walter Kadnar, country head for Ikea, which last launched a new store in Russia five years ago but this fall opened a $60 million furniture factory near St. Petersburg and acquired land for a third Mega mall near the city. “I strongly believe in the potential of the Russian market long-term.”

Foreign investment all but ground to a halt as the country sunk into recession and conflict with the West over the last two years. Companies including General Motors Co. slashed local operations. For many of those who stayed, now is the time to reopen their wallets to get a jump on rivals. The ruble’s plunge, though it decimated the value of local earnings in dollars and euros, has driven production costs in Russia down sharply. By some estimates, they’re now lower than those in China.

“The last 2-3 years have been a disaster,” said Frank Schauff, head of the Association of European Businesses in Moscow. “Now, the situation is changing as the ruble exchange rate has stabilized and the Russian economy is forecast to return to growth soon.” 

The government said its annual meeting of foreign investors in September drew the most top executives in a decade. Foreign direct investment surged to $8.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, more than the $5.9 billion reported for all of 2015, according to central bank data.

Elsewhere, in the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR, wealth destruction has become the only game in town.

Investor pain plan could hold key to Monte dei Paschi's future

Tue Nov 22, 2016 | 7:14am EST
By John O'Donnell and Francesca Landini | FRANKFURT/MILAN
Monte dei Paschi di Siena's (BMPS.MI) move to swap debt for shares, pushing losses onto investors, could help Rome resurrect a bid to help the troubled Italian bank, European officials believe.

The threat of political and market turmoil from a Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform, expected to go against Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, has cast further doubt over the world's oldest bank and its bid for 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of fresh capital.

The wider threat to Italy's banks and economy, the euro zone's third largest, has prompted Italy and European regulators to prepare a fall-back plan - possibly taking a softer stance on imposing losses on all bondholders, allowing the state to help, said the sources.
"There is flexibility in the rules," said one official of the procedure of asking for European Union approval for state support, which first requires such bondholders to take losses.
Earlier this year, Rome sought approval from Brussels to support Monte dei Paschi, but the EU's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager wanted investors to share the cost, in keeping with stricter post financial crisis rules known as 'bail-in'.
Rome refused, arguing that Italian pensioners would be hit and investors would shun the country's debt, and Monte dei Paschi was forced to launch its third recapitalization in as many years -- planned for immediately after the referendum.
Italy's third biggest bank, which emerged as Europe's weakest lender in regional stress tests this summer, is trying to fill a 5 billion euro capital hole.
That begins with a 'voluntary' debt swap, which analysts estimate could raise 1 to 1.5 billion euros, and continues with a share sale. In practice, with the bank in a fragile state, they have little choice but to accept.
Now European officials believe the debt-for-equity swap later this month could unlock the earlier impasse over state aid, if the bid for investor cash fails.
Uncertainties remain, including whether Italy would offer guarantees to underpin the bank or inject capital.
It is unclear what would happen to retail investors who are the main owners of 2.1 billion euros of the bank's subordinated bonds and whose vulnerability is a key concern for the Italian government.
"If Monte dei Paschi needs state aid, its junior bondholders will be hit before the state puts public funds in the bank," said one official with knowledge of the bank's plans.
"The hit will surely target institutional bondholders, while there is a chance that retail bondholders could be spared to avoid perverse effects on the other banks and shield small investors," the official added.
Italy, the European Commission, and Germany, which has argued for strict enforcement of bank rescue rules, may ultimately fail to agree.

To Understand Europe’s Political Tremors, Take a Look at Italy

A Dec. 4 vote gives a foretaste of ballots across the region.

November 23, 2016 — 5:01 AM GMT
To get a sense of Europe’s political weather, take a look at Italy: For the past century, it’s served as a barometer of the continent’s mood. In the 1920s, Mussolini’s fascism presaged Hitler and the Nazis. In the ’70s, Italy’s extreme left- and right-wing terrorist movements heralded armed groups in the rest of Europe. Curious about the future of a country run by a media-savvy billionaire with hair issues? Check out how Silvio Berlusconi destroyed traditional parties with TV slogans, anti-Establishment rhetoric, and garish displays of wealth.

That’s why Europe will closely watch a Dec. 4 referendum over arcane details of Italian parliamentary procedure. The ballot could indicate whether the populism sweeping the world (think Brexit and Trump) is still ascendant or poised to abate. “Italy is like a seismograph,” says Marc Lazar, a professor at Sciences Po University in Paris. “It registers tiny political tremors that then spread to Europe and the rest of the world as bigger shocks.”

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his future on the vote, a constitutional reform aimed at shrinking the senate to make Italy more governable. He says the referendum would hit the old guard of Italian politics that’s paralyzed the country for decades, cutting the number of senators from 315 to 100, eliminating their ability to bring down the government with no-confidence votes, and reining in their power to block legislation. Although Renzi swept into office in 2014 as a fresh face pledging to make difficult choices, he’s now considered part of the Establishment, so many voters see the referendum as a chance to “drain the swamp,” Italian-style. And he’s threatened to quit if it’s rejected, so the ballot has become more of a plebiscite on Renzi himself than on the new senate rules. “This government was born to enact reforms,” says Lorenzo Guerini, deputy-secretary of Renzi’s Democratic Party. “If Italians reject the most important changes, we’ll have to deal with the consequences.”

Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Germany face presidential or parliamentary elections in the coming year, and Spain is expecting a referendum on independence for the region of Catalonia. As governments and mainstream parties struggle to counter the virulent denunciations by insurgents on everything from poor economic growth to the influx of immigrants, there’s a big chance of further gains by nationalists and populists. Next year “gives me the shivers,” Marco Buti, the European Commission’s director general for economic and financial affairs, said in a Nov. 17 speech in Rome.
"We finished the year, and we reported that we had $17 billion of cash sitting at the bank's parent company as a liquidity cushion. As the year has gone on, that liquidity cushion has been virtually unchanged."
Alan Schwartz, CEO Bear Stearns, March 12, 2008. Bust March 16, 2008.
At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 30.90 Moz, Eligible 146.29 Moz, Total 177.19 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Below, a trend that I am watching with growing scepticism. A glass of water one or two years away, doesn’t slake a thirst today. Today’s Brexit update.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness outside of the EUSSR.”

With grateful thanks to the writers of the US Declaration of Independence.

Baltic Dry index surges to two-year high on Trump's infrastructure plans as pound spikes above $1.25

Tara Cunningham, Business Reporter 21 November 2016 • 5:35pm
The Baltic Dry Index, which is seen by many as a leading indicator of the state of the world economy, has surged to its highest level in almost two years. The index measures shipping costs for commodities including iron ore, copper and steel. It is comprised of three-sub indexes that measure different sizes of merchant ships, and is based on a daily survey of agents all over the world.
It hit a peak level of 11,793 in May 2008 but since hitting a nadir in February it has rallied by 333pc. The latest surge in the index comes following Donald Trump’s shock victory on November 8. Since then it has soared 50pc to  1,257.
During his campaign trail, Trump pledged to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure package. The spending would be a boon for owners of vessels ferrying iron ore and other commodities around the world, accelerating the Baltic index’s recovery in the past two weeks.

Verhofstadt Says U.K. Agrees Brexit Talks Should End by Mid-2019

November 22, 2016 — 10:50 AM GMT
The European Union and the U.K. should begin negotiations quickly on the U.K.’s exit from the EU so that the departure can be concluded before mid-2019 when Europe holds its next legislative elections, according to Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative on Brexit matters.
“We agreed on the need that this process needs to start as early as possible and needs to finish, in any case, before the next European elections,” Verhofstadt told reporters in Strasbourg, France, after meeting with British Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Davis has been visiting Brussels and Strasbourg this week, meeting with his counterparts in the European Commission and EU Parliament before formal discussions on the U.K.’s departure begin. British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she will trigger the U.K.’s exit procedure by the end of March, had her preparations thrown into turmoil earlier this month when a court said she couldn’t unilaterally begin the exit process and instead would require a vote in parliament.
The other 27 members of the EU have insisted that if Britain wants to curb immigration -- a central tenet of the campaign to leave -- then it won’t get access to the EU’s single market. At a hearing in September, the U.K.’s Davis was asked about comments by Verhofstadt on the need for Britain to accept free movement of labor to stay in the single market. Davis responded: “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
Verhofstadt reiterated the EU position on Tuesday. “These four freedoms are key; they are a basic element of the European Union -- the freedom of movement of goods, of services, of capital and of people,” he said. “We will certainly never accept whatever development where these four freedoms are put at risk.”
"Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort."

Antony C. Sutton

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?

China wants to turn Chernobyl exclusion zone into solar power plant

Published time: 22 Nov, 2016 03:21
Two Chinese companies have announced plans to build a one gigawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, reviving the site after the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.
Thirty years after a catastrophic meltdown in 1986 forced the authorities to evacuate all people and create an exclusion zone within a 30 kilometer radius of the Soviet nuclear plant located on the territory of modern Ukraine, Chinese clean energy giant Golden Concord Holdings Limited (GCL) embraced the ambitious project of reviving the area by building a solar plant within the exclusion zone’s confines.
GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), a subsidiary of the GCL Group, announced that it would cooperate with the China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC) on plant construction, which is expected to be started in 2017.
CCEC, a subsidiary of state-owned China National Machinery Industry Corp, will be the general constructor of the facility and will run the project while the GCL-SI will provide and install solar components. The total cost of the project has not yet been revealed.
Plans to revive the exclusion zone were previously voiced by the Ukrainian government. In October, Ukraine’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced a plan to build a solar plant not far from the abandoned nuclear reactor.
“It is cheap land and abundant sunlight constitutes a solid foundation for the project. In addition, the remaining electric transmission facilities are ready for reuse,” Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources, said at that time.
The project is also a key part of the GCL’s plan to build up its international presence.
"There will be remarkable social benefits and economic ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy," Shu Hua, the chairman of GCL-SI, said in a press release.
“We have been dedicated to providing integrated solar services and will take diverse approaches this year to drive penetration and achieve global presence. The Chernobyl project is also one of our key steps to approach abroad,” he added.

The exact location of the future plant has not been disclosed, although the GCL manager told Reuters that the place was deemed safe by Ukrainian authorities and underwent several inspections by GCL technicians.

“Ukraine has passed a law allowing the site to be developed for agriculture and other things, so that means [the radiation] is under control,” he told Reuters.

China is now trying to encourage the use of damaged or contaminated areas within its own territory for solar and wind power projects. Such plants are particularly built in the subsidence-hit regions of Shanxi, the country’s top coal mining province. 

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished October

DJIA: 18142  +32 Up NASDAQ:  5189 +31 Up. SP500: 2126 +46 Up.

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