Thursday, 15 December 2016

The Main Event.

Baltic Dry Index. 1003 -49   Brent Crude 53.90

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

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

In central banking as in diplomacy, style, conservative tailoring, and an easy association with the affluent count greatly and results far much less.

John Kenneth Galbraith

We open with yesterday’s main event from the Fed. For yesterday’s real main event scroll down to Crooks Corner. The miniscule rate hike by the Fedster’s in comparison, is a mere technical footnote in financial history if/when the world’s leading debtor clashes with the world’s leading creditor.

Here Are Some of the Markets Making Big Moves After the Fed Announcement

Not everything was priced in.

by Julie Verhage 14 December 2016, 20:43 GMT
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time this year on the back of a stronger job market and increasing inflation expectations. While the move was expected, there was a surprise: new projections show central bankers now see three additional hikes in 2017, up from two in the prior forecast.

Here are some of the areas seeing the biggest moves on the back of the announcement.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average touched a fresh all-time high after the news, rising withing 35 points of 20,000 immediately after the announcement. It reversed during Chair Janet Yellen's press conference and is heading for its steepest loss since the election.

Japanese Yen

Japan's currency continued to weaken versus the dollar past 115. The yen sat below 105 as recently as last month.

The yield on  two-year Treasuries spiked to its highest level since August 2009, as markets price in the impact of an extra rate hike in 2017.

Canadian Dollar

The hike pushed the central bank's policy rate above its Canadian counterpart's for the first time since 2007, causing the Canadian dollar, commonly known as the loonie, to weaken.

Real Estate

The S&P 500 real estate sector took a tumble, as higher interest rates could cause home buying to take a hit, and dampened demand for REIT shares coveted for high dividend payouts when Treasury yields are low.

In EUSSR news, did Italian bad bank UniCredit’s “clean up,” come at the expense of all the other Italian bad banks. In Italy it looks rather like it’s the early bird that gets the worm, rather than it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese. Poor old Three Card Monte has waited too long.

UniCredit deal to offload bad loans sets bar high for Italian banks

Tue Dec 13, 2016 | 10:45pm EST
UniCredit has raised the bar for other Italian banks by announcing a radical clean-up of its balance sheet through the sale of bad loans worth 17.7 billion euros ($19 billion).
Italy's biggest lender by assets said on Tuesday that it plans to raise 13 billion euros in a share issue early next year to offset the capital hit from 8 billion euros in fourth-quarter loan writedowns to pave the way for the sale of the debt.
The move heaps pressure on the bank's peers to follow suit, with Reuters' calculations based on central bank data showing that Italian lenders as a whole would need 40 billion euros in writedowns to match UniCredit's latest provision levels.
"We've taken some bold actions because self-help is always the best thing," CEO Jean Pierre Mustier said. "It is no secret we had an issue with legacy assets in Italy."
Mustier told analysts he had signed two accords overnight to transfer the bad loans to separate vehicles in which U.S. funds Fortress Investment Group and PIMCO would take majority stakes -- the biggest such deal in Italy so far. The debts would then be sold off gradually.
Italian lenders are under pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) to offload soured debts, which rose to 356 billion euros after a deep recession.
Banks have held onto them because their book value is higher than their market price, meaning they would be sold at a loss, burning through capital.
---- UniCredit said in presentation slides that it would raise provisions on bad loans by as much as 16.5 percentage points to 77 percent of their gross book value before transferring the portfolio.
This implies a net book value of 23 cents to the euro, below the 27 cents level at which Monte dei Paschi di Siena is seeking to sell 28 billion euros of bad loans to state-sponsored bailout fund Atlante to comply with ECB demands.
On average, Italian lenders price bad loans on their books at 43 cents to the euro.
UniCredit Chief Risk Officer Massimiliano Fossati said the provisions are designed to ease the disposal of the bad loans being transferred and had taken into account the price of recent deals.
Slides showed the bank now values loans that defaulted before 2009 at as little as 6.4 cents to the euro.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 37.92 Moz, Eligible 142.42 Moz, Total 180.34 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, more on escalating Trump v China war. Nothing good for the global economy or global stock markets lies down this under reported dangerous road.

China says damage to 'one China' principle would impact peace

Wed Dec 14, 2016 | 7:54am EST
China warned on Wednesday that any interference with or damage to the "one China" principle would have a serious impact on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, as Taiwan said maintaining peace was in everyone's interest.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of "one China", further upsetting China which was already angered by Trump's earlier telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
The issue is highly sensitive for China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, and Beijing expressed "serious concern" about Trump's remarks.
An Fengshan, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a regular news conference the Taiwan issue was about China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Upholding the 'one China' principle is the political basis of developing China-U.S. relations, and is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," he said.
"If this basis is interfered with or damaged then the healthy, stable development of China-U.S. relations is out of the question, and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be seriously impacted," An said.
Taiwan's policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said peaceful relations were a mutual responsibility across both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
"Taiwan has repeatedly stressed that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and throughout the region is in the best interests of all parties," said council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng.
"Taiwan places equal weight on the development of Taiwan-U.S. relations and cross-strait relations."
China is deeply suspicious of Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party, believing they want to push for the island's formal independence, a red line for Beijing.
China has repeatedly warned that hard-won peace and stability across the narrow strait that separates them could be affected by any moves toward independence.
"I think the facts tell these people that Taiwan independence is a dead end," An said.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and some state media have suggested after Trump's remarks that a military solution may now be needed.

French Foreign Minister says Trump's handling of China 'not very clever'

Wed Dec 14, 2016 | 7:50am EST
France's foreign minister on Wednesday accused U.S. president-elect Donald Trump of showing a lack of respect toward China after comments that put into question the "one China" principle.
Trump said on Sunday the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of "one China", further upsetting China which was already angered by Trump's earlier telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
"China is a big country. We can have our differences with China, but you don't talk to a partner like that," Jean-Marc-Ayrault told France 2 television. "When China feels questioned on its unity, that's not exactly very clever."
China's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday any interference with or damage to the "one China" principle would have a serious impact on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The issue is highly sensitive for China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, and Beijing expressed "serious concern" about Trump's remarks.
"We need to avoid things spiraling out of control," Ayrault said. "So I hope that the new team will have learnt enough so that we manage an uncertain world with more sang-froid and responsibility."

U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral

Wed Dec 14, 2016 | 7:54am EST
The United States is ready to confront China should it continue its overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said on Wednesday, comments that threaten to escalate tensions between the two global rivals.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
The United States has called on China to respect the findings of the arbitration court in The Hague earlier this year which invalidated its vast territorial claims in the strategic waterway.
But Beijing continues to act in an "aggressive" manner, to which the United States stands ready to respond, Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in a speech in Sydney.
"We will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea," he said. "We will cooperate when we can but we will be ready to confront when we must."
The comments threaten to stoke tensions between the United States and China, already heightened by President-elect Donald Trump's decision to accept a telephone call from Taiwan's president on Dec. 2 that prompted a diplomatic protest from Beijing.
Asked about Harris's remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the situation in the South China Sea was currently stable, thanks to the hard work of China and others in the region.
"We hope the United States can abide by its promises on not taking sides on the sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea, respect the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region and do more to promote peace and stability there," he told a daily news briefing.
The United States estimates Beijing has added more than 3,200 acres (1,300 hectares) of land on seven features in the South China Sea over the past three years, building runways, ports, aircraft hangars and communications equipment.
In response, the United States has conducted a series of freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, the latest of which came in October.

China Deploying Weapons on Artificial Reefs, Think Tank Says

by David Tweed
China appears to be deploying weapons systems on all seven of the reefs it has reclaimed in the South China Sea, according to photographs released by a Washington-based think tank.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said it began tracking in June and July the construction of identical hexagon-shaped structures to house the weapons on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs, where China has already completed military grade airstrips and installed radar.

“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs,” AMTI, a unit of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said on its website.

The installations call into question a pledge made by China’s president, Xi Jinping, not to militarize the disputed reefs in the South China Sea, a $5 trillion-a-year shipping route that the U.S. has patrolled largely unchallenged since World War II. China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the waters were dismissed by an international tribunal in July. Beijing said it would ignore the ruling.

----AMTI said that anti-aircraft guns appear to have been installed on China’s four smaller reefs. Although they cannot be definitively identified, they were likely to be “close-in weapons systems” whose function was to detect and destroy incoming missiles and enemy aircraft, the group said.

“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea,” AMTI wrote. “Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases.”

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?

New anode material set to boost lithium-ion battery capacity

Date: December 13, 2016

Source: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)

Summary: A team of researchers claims to have made yet another step towards finding a solution to accelerate the commercialization of silicon anode for Lithium-ion batteries.

A new approach developed by a team of researchers, led by Prof. Jaephil Cho (School of Energy and Chemical Engineering) could hold the key to greatly improving the performance of commercial lithium-ion batteries.
Prof. Cho and his research team have developed a new type anode material that would be used in place of a conventional graphite anode, which they claim will lead to lighter and longer-lasting batteries for everything from personal devices to electric vehicles.
In the study, the research team has demonstrated the feasibility of a next-generation hybrid anode using silicon-nanolayer-embedded graphite/carbon. They report that this architecture allows compatibility between silicon and natural graphite and addresses the issues of severe side reactions caused by structural failure of crumbled graphite dust and uncombined residue of silicon particles by conventional mechanical milling.
This newly-developed anode material has been manifactured with increase in graphite content in composite by 45%. The research team has also developed new equipment, which is capable of producing 300kg in 6 hours per batch using a small amount of silane gas (SiH4). Such simple procedure ensures competitive price.
They report that the silicon/graphite composite is mass-producible and it has superior battery performances with industrial electrode density, high areal capacity, and low amounts of binder. The findings of the research have been published in the August issue of the energy journal Nature Energy.
"In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension."

John Kenneth Galbraith.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November

DJIA: 19124  +53 Up NASDAQ:  5324 +41 Up. SP500: 2198 +58 Up

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