Friday, 16 December 2016

Trump’s Machiavelli.

Baltic Dry Index. 1003 -49   Brent Crude 54.30

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

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

Democracy is too important to leave up to the votes of the people.

Henry Kissinger.

For more on who will be Trump’s Machiavelli scroll down to Crooks Corner. Henry Kissinger willingly filled that role for President Nixon.

We open today with Bloomberg reflecting on our central banksters who’ve all run out of ammo and talent at the same time. Italy and Deutsche Bank are about to test them next.

Central Bankers Discover Their Limits After a Tough Year

by Enda Curran, Jeff Black, and Craig Torres 15 December 2016, 18:58 GMT
It was the year central bankers discovered their limits.

Instead of earning praise for shouldering the burden of sluggish global growth, monetary policy makers this year were scolded for meddling. Negative interest rates were blamed for crimping bank earnings. Massive bond buying programs were singled out for stoking market speculation rather than investment.

Now, amid surging populism and as government spending comes back into vogue, 2017 is shaping up to be the year that central bankers quietly shuffle from center stage.

The Bank of Japan has already realized its tools can only do so much. The European Central Bank has signaled its bond purchases aren’t infinite. At the Federal Reserve, Chair Janet Yellen discovered how very low interest rates had little effect on the supply side of the economy.

“Central banks ran out of gas this year,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “Monetary accommodation may thus have peaked this year and may be gradually dialed back.”

Critics of central bank actions were emboldened by a still sluggish global economy even after years of unprecedented monetary stimulus.

In the U.S., President-elect Donald Trump has called for an audit of the Fed. Yellen and her colleagues this week lifted borrowing costs for only the second time in a decade and after projecting four hikes for 2016. The central bank’s policy panel now expects three rate rises in 2017, yet Yellen also said the outlook is “highly uncertain.” She warned that the so-called neutral interest rate, that keeps “the economy operating on an even keel,” remains “quite low” by historical standards. For all its monetary stimulus, the Fed hasn’t hit its 2 percent target in more than four years and doesn’t expect to get there until 2018.

South Korean lawmakers were unusually vocal in warning of the risks associated with record low borrowing costs. Japanese politicians repeatedly dragged their central bank chief into parliament for questioning as some warned that BOJ policies were confusing.

----The People’s Bank of China didn’t get much love for its role in stabilizing the economy and markets after a deluge of criticism from around the world that the bank wasn’t communicating clearly enough. By year end, the PBOC too had changed course from pumping up demand to focusing on reigning in a growing credit bubble.

For Mario Draghi, 2016 was a lot about learning how to keep going despite the obvious practical and political limits to the ECB’s powers. He expanded the quantitative easing program to 80 billion euros ($83 billion) per month in defense of the bank’s inflation mandate, while using every chance to tell the region’s politicians that they need to do more to boost growth.

Bank of Japan to hold negative interest rates, leave JGB yield target unchanged

Fri Dec 16, 2016 | 1:12am EST
The Bank of Japan is expected to hold its negative interest rates and 10-year government bond yield target steady next week as a weaker yen and positive overseas conditions augur well for Japan's economic prospects, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The yen has weakened significantly versus the dollar since November and Donald Trump's election to president, which has seen the dollar and U.S. markets hit landmark highs.

The dollar is drawing strength from Trump's big spending plans and their expected inflationary effects, as well the Federal Reserve's hints at three more interest rate hikes next year, following Wednesday's 25 basis point increase.

The correspondingly weak yen also helped boost Japanese share prices to a one year-high this week.

The BOJ is expected to maintain the minus 0.1 percent interest rate it imposes on some excess reserves and to hold the 10-year government bond yield target at around zero, the poll of 15 analysts showed.

The BOJ is also expected to keep the pace of the annual increase in JGB holdings at around 80 trillion yen ($676.93 billion), it showed.

"There is no change that the BOJ's 2 percent inflation target is a long way to reach. But a need for more stimulus by the BOJ has declined further because of the weaker yen and higher share prices," said Tuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

"The focus for next week will be how the BOJ will change its view on the economy, how it assesses recent rises in long-term yields, and how far it can accept rises in these yields," he said.

Ueno also added BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may once again send the message that wage increases are badly needed to meet the BOJ's inflation target, as he did recently.

The benchmark 10-year JGB yield rose to 0.100 percent JP10YTN=JBTC on Friday for the first time since late January.

Under a new policy framework announced in September, the BOJ pledged to guide short-term rates to minus 0.1 percent and the 10-year JGB yield to around zero percent.

Below, what happens when our central banksters’ lose control of the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, communist money. Coming next, confiscation of large denomination fiat money bank notes, pioneered by India and now Venezuela.  Stay long fully paid up physical gold and silver. Use the Trumpmania stock market bubble to top up cheap precious metals.

“Under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth... The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit... In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation”

Alan Greenspan

Venezuelan Café Con Leche Index

Tracking hyperinflation one cup of coffee at a time

Published December 15, 2016
Inflation is soaring in Venezuela. Everyone knows that.

But how high is it really? 250 percent a year? 500 percent? 1,000 percent? None of the above? In the absence of official data — the government long ago stopped publishing figures on a regular basis — economists are left to dial up what are, essentially, wild guesses.

Enter the Bloomberg Cafe Con Leche Inflation Index.

In an effort to fill the void, Bloomberg News has launched its own inflation gauge. It’s not necessarily the most scientific in the world, true. As the name would suggest, it tracks just one item: a cup of cafe con leche served piping hot at a bakery in eastern Caracas. For all of the index’s shortcomings, it has merits too: it’s tangible; tracked regularly; and, given that it monitors a product consumed by Venezuelans everyday, provides a unique, up-close look at inflation in one of the most dysfunctional economies on earth.

The index debuts today at an annual rate of 1,526 percent, the result of the price having soared from 450 bolivars per cup to 1,100 bolivars* over a span of 17 weeks. At this pace, or anything even remotely close to it, Venezuela would have the highest inflation in the world. Stay tuned for further readings in coming weeks.

*Currency conversions are tricky in Venezuela given it's byzantine multiple exchange-rate system. At the official government-set rate, 1,100 bolivars equals $110. In the black market – where most people buy and sell dollars – it's worth just $0.35.

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers’, who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.

Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and it does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

J. M. Keynes.

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 37.92 Moz, Eligible 143.58 Moz, Total 181.50 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.

Henry Kissinger.
Today, yesterday’s man on tomorrow’s man. Nixon’s Machiavelli,  Henry Kissinger on President-elect “The Donald.”  But who will be President Trump’s Machiavelli?
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

Kissinger at 93 Expounds on Rex Tillerson, ‘One-China’ and Trump

by Sangwon Yoon 14 December 2016, 19:19 GMT
Henry Kissinger, the 93-year-old foreign policy guru to world leaders, isn’t slowing down. On Wednesday he weighed in on Donald Trump’s pick of Exxon Mobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson as the top U.S. diplomat, the importance of the ‘One-China’ policy and the president-elect’s decision to take a phone call from Taiwan’s leader.

Speaking to the Committee of 100, a non-profit that works on improving U.S.-China relations, Kissinger dismissed criticism that Tillerson’s work winning contracts with Russia for Exxon disqualifies him for the State Department job.

“I pay no attention to the argument that he is too friendly to Russia," Kissinger said. "As head of Exxon it’s his job to get along with Russia. He would be useless as the head of Exxon if he did not have a working relationship with Russia.”

Citing his acquaintance with Tillerson from serving together on the board of a Washington-based think tank, Kissinger praised Trump’s selection and added that "we should not think about these relationships as the personal relationship of individuals."

A message left with Kissinger’s consulting company, Kissinger Associates, asking whether the firm has a financial relationship with Exxon, wasn’t immediately answered.

Weeks before he takes office on Jan. 20, Trump has injected an air of unpredictability into U.S. relations with both allies and adversaries. In addition to saying he wants friendlier ties with Russia, Trump has slammed China over currency and trade, had an unprecedented call with Taiwan’s leader, praised the Philippine president’s violent war on drugs and promised to visit Pakistan, a sign of validation President Barack Obama never bestowed on Islamabad.

----Kissinger chided Trump for making Taiwan a key issue at the beginning of his dialogue with China, by taking a protocol-breaking phone call with the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, this month. He called the move "unwise" and "not the most efficient." However, he said he is "hopeful, optimistic, and confident" that Trump will uphold the decades-old "One-China" policy and avoid diplomatic or formal relations with an island that China considers part of its territory.

Chinese Protest

"One should give these things a little time, the new administration isn’t in office yet," he said. "Every president of the U.S. since 1971 and both parties have accepted this framework and once that framework is studied, I do not expect it to be overturned."

Kissinger didn’t say what advice he gave the Chinese during his most recent visit, but the government’s official response to Trump’s Taiwan call was measured. While Beijing lodged a “solemn representation” -- a mild form of diplomatic protest -- and urged U.S. authorities to adhere to the so-called One-China principle, it stopped short of criticizing Trump.

Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.

Henry Kissinger.

How US diplomacy really works, Machiavelli style.

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?

World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

by Tom Randall 15 December 2016, 06:00 GMT 15 December 2016, 06:04 GMT
There’s a transformation happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.

There have been isolated projects in the past where this happened: An especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The chart below shows the average cost of new wind and solar from 58 emerging-market economies including China, India, and Brazil. While solar was bound to fall below wind eventually, given its steeper price declines, few predicted it would happen this soon.

----“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. “A huge part of this story is China, which has been rapidly deploying solar” and helping other countries finance their own projects.

Half the Price of Coal

This year has seen a remarkable run for solar power. Auctions, where private companies compete for massive contracts to provide electricity, established record after record for cheap solar power. It started with a contract in January to produce electricity for $64 per megawatt-hour in India; then a deal in August pegging $29.10 per megawatt hour in Chile. That’s record-cheap electricity—roughly half the price of competing coal power.

“Renewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting” fossil fuel prices, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said in a note to clients this week.

Those are new contracts, but there are plenty of projects reaching completion this year, too. When all of the 2016 completions are tallied in coming months, it’s likely that the total amount of solar photovoltaics added globally will exceed that of wind for the first time. The latest BNEF projections call for 70 gigawatts of newly installed solar in 2016 compared with 59 gigawatts of wind.

The overall shift to clean energy can be more expensive in wealthier nations, where electricity demand is flat or falling and new solar must compete with existing billion-dollar coal and gas plants. 2 But in countries that are adding new electricity capacity as quickly as possible, “renewable energy will beat any other technology in most of the world without subsidies,” said Liebreich.

The world recently passed a turning point and is adding more capacity for clean energy each year than for coal and natural gas combined. Peak fossil fuel use for electricity may be reached within the next decade.
Thursday’s BNEF report, called Climatescope, ranks and profiles emerging markets for their ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy projects. The top-scoring markets were China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India.

 Another weekend, and only one and a half weekends till Christmas. While the consumers shop and the revellers, revel, America’s electoral college voters have only until Monday to decide on faithful or faithless. Have a great weekend everyone.

What China would do, I cannot predict. China has all but given up the claim to the use of force, except in the circumstance of Taiwan declaring its independence. That is a huge step forward over what the situation was many years ago.

Henry Kissinger.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November

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

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