Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Europe’s Warm Winter. China Gets Hot.

Baltic Dry Index. 886 -28   Brent Crude 55.36

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

Below, the EUSSR apparently didn’t notice the October Siberian snowpack, nor that last year’s strong El Nino had ended. I blame the EUSSR’s troubles on Brexit and global warming, now rebranded and re-launched as “climate change.” At least 5 EU President’s but not one of them following the snowpack in a non El Nino year. All asleep at the switch. Why would anyone want to join a dysfunctional club like this?

Energy Suppliers Hit Pay Dirt in EU’s Surprise Deep Freeze

by Kelly Gilblom and Anna Shiryaevskaya
24 January 2017, 00:01 GMT 24 January 2017, 07:40 GMT
It only took a few cold weeks to break Europe free from its three-year-long energy glut.

From Houston to Oslo and Moscow, companies that sell natural gas have seen sales and exports surge at the start of the year as Europe scrambles to secure enough supplies to manage the harsh weather. After forecasts for a mild winter, January temperatures plunged enough to freeze rivers and cut off supplies for tens of thousands of homes.

The revenue boost offered a reprieve from a price collapse that’s lingered since 2014, with supply overwhelming demand during the three warmest years on record. While consumers and industry will be hit by higher bills after February power prices in Germany surged to a record and U.K. gas traded near a four-year high, energy companies are enjoying a winter windfall.

“We have had quite a few hard years in terms of mild winter and this is a big positive deviation,” said Elchin Mammadov, a London-based utilities analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It will have an impact on first-quarter results.”
German utilities have run their available plants at full throttle as temperatures plunged to a countrywide average of minus 4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit) some days last week. Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, Uniper SE and other utilities were also asked to activate some reserve plants.
Uniper declined to comment, while EnBW said its grid unit have operated all its reserve plants. Temperatures in the country are seen remaining below zero through the weekend, compared to a 10-year average of about 1 degree Celsius.
Britain and Scandinavia, which have mostly avoided abnormally low temperatures, have been exporting electricity. The U.K. is generating its highest-ever volume of power from natural gas to send to France where prices have soared, also exacerbated by lower nuclear availability. Exports are at their highest level since at least 2010, even with flows on a cable linking the countries cut 50 percent through February.

Norwegian power shipments to the Netherlands jumped 14 percent this year through Jan. 24, according to data from the Nord Pool AS exchange. With gas-fired electricity generation reaching new heights in the U.K. last week, shippers of the fuel to both power producers and utilities have also been boosted with higher-than-forecast sales.

“I can’t remember a start to the gas year that’s been this good,” said Frode Leversund, the chief executive officer of Gassco AS, which sends Norwegian fuel to the continent and the U.K. through its 5,000 miles of pipelines.

The company set a new daily record on Jan. 12, exporting gas worth as much as 76 million pounds ($95 million) based on U.K. prices that day.

Russia’s Gazprom PJSC also supplied record levels in the first 15 days of January. The Moscow-based exporter, which meets about a third of European Union’s needs, boosted deliveries to the region and Turkey by 26 percent.

Below more on Europe still in shock at President Trump’s win.

Assault on Europe

Donald Trump and the New World Order

The inauguration of Donald Trump heralds the arrival of a new world order. The West is weaker than ever before and rising American nationalism poses a threat both to Germany's economy and the European Union.
January 20, 2017  06:01 PM

When trying to answer the question as to who has the say in the European Union, it's easy to get confused. The European Council, the European Commission, the member states: Even those who know the EU well don't often know who has the last word in Brussels disputes. The confusion isn't new. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously wondered: "Who do I call if I want to call Europe?"
Today, a new president is moving into the White House and one thing is already clear: Telephone calls between Washington and Brussels won't get any easier. "I spoke to the head of the European Union, very fine gentleman called me up," Donald Trump said this week in a joint interview with the German tabloid Bild and the Times of London. When asked if it was Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, Trump responded: "Yes, ah, to congratulate me on what happened with respect to the election."
Except, the fine gentleman Mr. Juncker wasn't the fine gentleman Mr. Juncker. It was Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, the powerful body representing the leaders of the EU member states. A former Polish prime minister, Tusk chatted with the future U.S. president for about 10 minutes, but Trump was apparently able to remember neither his name nor his arguments. The European Union, he said in the interview, is "basically a vehicle for Germany," adding that "I believe others will leave," as Britain plans to do.
For more than 60 years, the U.S. has promoted European unity. The country introduced the Marshall Plan, it supported the single European market and backed Europe's eastward expansion following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. But now, a man is entering the White House who is counting on the disintegration of the EU. He would rather negotiate with each country individually, believing that will be more beneficial for America.
A real estate magnate is now the most powerful man in the world and it looks as though he plans to run his administration as though the U.S. were a vast real estate conglomerate. He is after lucrative deals, and those who can't keep up in the competition for the most profitable contracts will be left behind.

In China news, Japan shoots itself in the foot.

China tourism body backs boycott of Japanese hotel group APA

Tue Jan 24, 2017 | 3:18am EST
China's tourism administration has urged tour operators to sever ties with a Japanese hotel chain after an escalating row over the hotelier's denial of the 1937 massacre by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing.
A furor erupted this month over books by Toshio Motoya, president of Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer APA Group, that air his revisionist views and are placed in every room of the firm's more than 400 hotels.
Motoya, using the pen name Seiji Fuji, wrote that stories of the Nanjing massacre were "impossible": "These acts were all said to be committed by the Japanese army, but this is not true."
The China National Tourism Administration is firmly opposed to APA Group's "provocation" of Chinese tourists, spokesman Zhang Lizhong said on Tuesday.
"We demand that all operators with international tours and online platforms completely stop all cooperation with this hotel," Zhang said in a statement on the body's website.
"We call on Chinese groups and the many tourists that visit Japan to resist APA's wrong approach and avoid spending money at this hotel."
APA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Official support for a boycott of the Japanese chain escalates calls that had circulated online and in some of China's state-run media.
The official Xinhua news agency added its voice on Tuesday, calling the incident "only the tip of the iceberg of Japan's ultra-right wing's efforts to revise the nation's war history."
Japan's wartime occupation of Nanjing, and the resulting massacre is a highly contentious issue between the uneasy neighbors.
China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the city. A post-war Allied tribunal put the death toll at about half that. To the fury of China, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics deny the massacre took place, or they put the death toll much lower.

China foreign minister says wants to manage disputes with U.S.

Tue Jan 24, 2017 | 7:47pm EST
China wants dialogue with the new U.S. administration to manage disputes and promote bilateral relations, but only on the basis of respecting each other's core interests, like the "one China" principle, China's foreign minister said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday, upset Beijing before taking office by casting doubt on the "one China" principle, under which Washington acknowledges Beijing's position of sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province, to be brought under its control by force if necessary. However, proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being ruled by Beijing.

Speaking at a reception for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the future direction of Sino-U.S. ties had "attracted attention".

"We are willing, on the basis of strictly abiding by the 'one China' principle and respect of each other's core interests, to have dialogue with the new U.S. government," Wang said, in comments posted on the ministry's website late Tuesday.

China is willing to "increase mutual trust, focus cooperation, manage and control disputes and promote the healthy development of China-U.S. relations, to bring even greater benefits to both peoples", he added.

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 29.96 Moz, Eligible 151.65 Moz, Total 181.61 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today bad boy Italy again. This time the rottenness is not in their banks but in telecoms. Still I suppose, it’s really not their fault. Italians can resist anything except temptation. Who would want to business in Italy?

BT Plunges After Cutting Outlook, Tripling Italy Writedown

by Rebecca Penty
24 January 2017, 07:26 GMT 24 January 2017, 09:45 GMT
BT Group Plc delivered a one-two blow to investors by disclosing deeper accounting errors at its Italian unit that forced it to triple provisions and cutting its outlook for the coming years as the impact of Brexit works its way through government budgets. 
The stock dropped as much as 19 percent, the most since 1986. The U.K. telecommunications company said a probe found more faulty accounting and “inappropriate behavior” in Italy than the company first identified in October.
“We are deeply disappointed with the inappropriate behavior we found,” in the Italian business, Chief Executive Officer Gavin Patterson said on a conference call. “The extent and complexity of inappropriate behavior was far greater than previously identified.”
Elsewhere, the news was no better. While consumers are holding up well in the U.K., Brexit is stoking inflation and squeezing the budgets of BT’s clients, causing some of them to end contracts early. BT said in a statement that it now expects revenue for the fiscal year ending in March to be flat, after forecasting growth as recently as October. For the coming year, the company reduced its target for normalized free cash flow by as much as 17 percent, to a range of 3 billion pounds to 3.2 billion pounds, from a target of more than 3.6 billion pounds issued in October.
Patterson, in his fourth year as CEO, finds himself facing an expanding set of challenges, from Brexit and the Italian scandal to a ballooning pension deficit and an escalating battle with regulator Ofcom. On the call, he apologized to investors for for what he called “headwinds” in the U.K. public-sector business and in BT’s international global services division that were stronger than anticipated.
The company will report earnings results on Friday that will show that consumer and other parts of the business are strong, Patterson said. “It is a mixed bag of results that we’ll talk to you about later in the week.”
----BT’s Italy division made up about 1 percent of revenue in the year ended in March 2016. It’s part of BT’s continental Europe business that makes up about 13 percent of revenues, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The investigation that included a review by KPMG found “improper accounting practices and a complex set of improper sales, purchase, factoring and leasing transactions” that led the company to overstate earnings in its Italian business over a number of years, the company said.

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?

Jinko Leads in 2016 Solar Panel Production as Prices Slump

January 23, 2017
JinkoSolar Holding Co. is poised to become the latest solar-industry leader to learn coming in first doesn’t always make you a winner.

Jinko had 6.5 GW of panel-production capacity at the end of the third quarter, and said full-year 2016 shipments may be as high as 6.7 GW. That means the No. 3 solar company is poised to vault to the top of the list, surpassing Trina Solar Ltd. and Canadian Solar Inc., the two biggest suppliers by shipments in 2015. None of these companies have set dates to release 2016 results.

Being biggest isn’t always the best in the solar industry, especially if that growth comes with a lot of liabilities. Jinko’s total debt more than doubled to $2.7 billion at the end of the third quarter over the past two years. Panel demand around the world was climbing as the company was building new manufacturing lines, but now that they’re in production, the industry is slowing and prices have slumped to an all-time low.

“They were trying to ride a boom,” said Jenny Chase, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Zurich-based lead solar analyst. “It’s a dangerous strategy.” A Jinko spokesman didn’t respond to inquiries seeking comment. The company slipped 1.7 percent to $15.62 at 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 19 in New York.

Jinko ramped capacity 51 percent last year through September as solar demand began slowing. That’s particularly true in China, one of the company’s biggest markets, where the government is curtailing subsidies and power consumption is stagnating. Clean-energy installations worldwide will increase this year at the slowest pace in a decade, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and demand for solar power will slow, after a flat 2016.

It’s a familiar story: solar manufacturers — especially in China — borrow heavily to expand capacity, see the market slump and push ahead with the expansion strategy anyway.

“That’s the MO of these companies,” said Gordon Johnson, an analyst at Axiom Capital Management in New York.

During periods of corrections or downturns, Chinese solar companies have often focused on cutting costs and lowering prices in a bid to gain market share, at the expense of profit, said Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA Research in New York.

“You could call it bad timing — or bad management,” he said.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished December

DJIA: 19763  +74 Up NASDAQ:  5383 +70 Up. SP500: 2239 +75 Up

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