Tuesday, 3 January 2017

OPEC Day Three.

Baltic Dry Index. 961 Dec 23.   Brent Crude 56.82

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

"It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course, you are an exceptionally good liar."

Jerome K. Jerome.
It is day three of the liars and cheaters cartel oil cuts but has anyone actually cut back any oil production? Words are cheap, and all say that they will cut, but on day three no one seems to have actually cut production yet. Below Reuters covers the cheats. The trouble seems to be that the oil producers are all too polite. “After you. No! After you!”

Oil prices rise as markets eye OPEC, non-OPEC production cuts

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 9:07pm EST
Oil prices rose in the first trading hours of 2017, buoyed by hopes that a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut production, which kicked in on Sunday, will be effective in draining the global supply glut.

International Brent crude oil prices LCOc1 were trading up 31 cents, or 0.55 percent, at $57.13 a barrel at 0203 GMT on Tuesday - close to last year's high of $57.89 per barrel, hit on Dec. 12. Oil markets were closed on Monday after the New Year's holiday.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 crude oil prices were up 32 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $54.04, not far from last year's high of $54.51 reached on Dec. 12.

Jan. 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

Market watchers said January will serve as an indicator for whether the agreement will stick.

"Markets will be looking for anecdotal evidence for production cuts," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at Sydney's CMC Markets. "The most likely scenario is OPEC and non-OPEC member countries will be committed to the deal, especially in early stages."

Libya, one of two OPEC member countries exempt from cuts, increased its production to 685,000 barrels per day (bpd) as of Sunday, up from around 600,000 a day in December, according to an official from the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

Elsewhere in OPEC, member country Oman told customers last week that it will cut its crude term allocation volumes by 5 percent in March.

Non-OPEC member Russia's oil production in December remained unchanged at 11.21 million bpd, but it was preparing to cut output by 300,000 bpd in the first half of 2017 in its contribution to the production cut accord.

Russian oil output in December stays at record highs

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 3:46am EST
Russian oil production in December stood unchanged at 11.21 million barrels per day (bpd), flat month on 
month and at its highest in almost 30 years, energy ministry data showed on Monday.

Russia is preparing to cut output by 300,000 bpd during the first half of 2017 as a part of a global pact with OPEC aimed at rebalancing the market.

Oil prices ended at $56.82 last year, more doubling from lows hit early last year.

In tonnes, production rose to 47.402 million in December from 45.884 million in November.

In 2016 in total, output reached 547.499 tonnes, or 10.96 million bpd, up from 10.72 million in 2015. 

According to preliminary data, which excludes some producing units at some firms, output month on month was slightly down at Rosneft, including Bashneft, and at Gazprom Neft.

Lukoil, Tatneft and production-sharing agreements showed an increase.

The Russian energy ministry has said that its planned output reduction would be gradual as production cannot be cut abruptly due to weather and technological conditions.

Saudi cabinet stresses need to implement oil output cut: statement

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 7:36am EST
Saudi Arabia stressed on Monday the importance of co-operation among oil producers to abide by a decision in November to cut production.

OPEC agreed in November its first oil output cuts since 2008 after Saudi Arabia accepted "a big hit" on its production and dropped its demand that arch-rival Iran slash output.

"The council (of ministers)...asserted the importance of stability and coordination and increased cooperation between member states and commitment to implement the agreement to cut production reached last November," the cabinet said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

In the never ending EUSSR banking crisis, desperation time in Italy. Each delay only reduces the remaining rescuers bid as the non performing bad debts get worse.

Sale of small Italian banks to UBI delayed at Commission's request: sources

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 1:48pm EST
The sale of three small Italian banks, rescued in 2015, to bigger rival UBI (UBI.MI) has been delayed by at least a week at the request of the European Commission, three sources close to the matter said.

The sale of Banca Etruria, Banca Marche and CariChieti to UBI, Italy's fifth-largest lender, was expected to be finalised by the end of 2016.

These three banks and a fourth, CariFerrara, were rescued from bankruptcy in 2015 but Italy is now struggling to find buyers for them after rejecting bids from private equity funds over the summer.

UBI has expressed an interest in buying three of the lenders, but set conditions including for the banks' new non-performing loans to be taken off their balance sheets and the option to use its own internal risk models to weigh the lenders' assets.

Before the deal is concluded, the Commission has asked Italy's resolution fund, which owns the banks, to ask the rejected bidders if they are still interested, the people said.

"It's a necessary step linked to legal issues and requested by Brussels to ensure a competitive process, also given the fact that UBI's offer is worse than the old proposals," one of the sources said.

The Commission had no comment, while the ECB declined to comment.

Elsewhere in Europe the countries that use the Rhine and Danube rivers are off to a low water 2017 start. If it continues it will act as a drag to the continents economy.

Shallow water again troubles Rhine, Danube shipping in Germany

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 4:33am EST
Shallow water after dry weather in December continues to prevent cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany, traders said on Monday.

All of the Rhine and Danube in Germany is too shallow for normal sailings with some barges in central Germany only able to sail 30 percent full, they said.

Loads are being divided among several vessels instead of being carried by a single craft, increasing transport costs for cargo owners.

"This is a cost problem. Cargo is still being delivered but it has to be transferred to land transport," one German grain trader said.

Mostly dry weather is forecast in river catchment areas in Germany and Switzerland in coming days and little immediate improvement in water levels is in sight.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal and oil products including heating oil. The Danube is a major route for east European grain exports, especially maize, to western Europe.

In America, the Republicans get back to business as usual.

U.S. House Republicans weaken ethics body as they return to Congress

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 11:14pm EST
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives agreed on Monday to weaken a nonpartisan ethics watchdog on the grounds it had grown too intrusive, prompting Democrats to charge they were scaling back independent oversight ahead of a new legislative session.

As they returned to Washington following a holiday break, House Republicans voted in a closed-door meeting to place the Office of Congressional Ethics under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, giving lawmakers greater control over an independent body charged with investigating their behavior.

The measure was added to a broader rules package that is expected to pass when the House formally convenes on Tuesday.

The ethics office was created in 2008 following several corruption scandals, but some lawmakers have charged in recent years that it has been too quick to investigate complaints lodged by outside partisan groups.

The body will now have to deliver its reports to lawmakers, rather than releasing them directly to the public, according to a summary released by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte. It will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.

"The OCE has a serious and important role in the House, and this amendment does nothing to impede their work," said Goodlatte, who sponsored the measure.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who created the ethics office while House speaker following complaints that lawmakers were unable to effectively police themselves, said Republicans were eliminating the only independent body charged with monitoring their actions.

"Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress," Pelosi said in a statement.

Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.

Cary Grant. To Catch A Thief. Republican.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 26.93 Moz, Eligible 156.53 Moz, Total 183.46 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, Mrs Merkel ducks Davos. It’s an election year, I suppose.

Germany's Merkel to skip Davos on eve of Trump presidency

Mon Jan 2, 2017 | 9:01am EST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is steering clear of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a meeting expected to be dominated by debate over the looming presidency of Donald Trump and rising public anger with elites and globalization.
Merkel has been a regular at the annual gathering of political leaders, CEOs and celebrities, traveling to the snowy resort in the Swiss Alps seven times since becoming chancellor in 2005.
But her spokesman told Reuters she had decided not to attend for a second straight year. This year's conference runs from Jan. 17-20 under the banner "Responsive and Responsible Leadership". Trump's inauguration coincides with the last day of the conference.
"It's true that a Davos trip was being considered, but we never confirmed it, so this is not a cancellation," the spokesman said.
It is the first time Merkel has missed Davos two years in a row since taking office over 11 years ago and her absence may come as a disappointment to the organizers because her reputation as a steady, principled leader fits well with the theme of this year's conference.
The German government declined to say what scheduling conflict was preventing her from attending, nor would it say whether the decision might be linked to the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people in mid-December.
But after the Brexit vote in Britain and the election of Trump were attributed to rising public anger with the political establishment and globalization, leaders may be more reluctant than usual to travel to a conference at a plush ski resort that has become synonymous with the global elite.
One European official suggested that the prospect of having to address questions about Trump days before he enters the White House might also have dissuaded Merkel, whose politics is at odds with the president-elect on a broad range of issues, from immigration and trade, to Russia and climate change.
 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?

Bright future for energy devices

Date: December 20, 2016

Source: Michigan Technological University

Summary: A new material embeds sodium metal in carbon and could improve electrode performance in energy devices. Scientists ran tests on the sodium-embedded carbon and it performed better than graphene in dye-sensitized solar cells and supercapacitors.
A little sodium goes a long way. At least that's the case in carbon-based energy technology. Specifically, embedding sodium in carbon materials can tremendously improve electrodes.
A research team led by Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Carroll McArthur Professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Tech, created a brand-new way to synthesize sodium-embedded carbon nanowalls. Previously, the material was only theoretical and the journal Nano Letters recently published this invention.
High electrical conductivity and large accessible surface area, which are required for ideal electrode materials in energy devices, are opposed to each other in current materials. Amorphous carbon has low conductivity but large surface area. Graphite, on the other hand, has high conductivity but low surface area. Three-dimensional graphene has the best of both properties -- and the sodium-embedded carbon invented by Hu at Michigan Tech is even better.
"Sodium-embedded carbon's conductivity is two orders of magnitude larger than three-dimensional graphene," Hu says. "The nanowall structure, with all its channels and pores, also has a large accessible surface area comparable to graphene."
This is different from metal-doped carbon where metals are simply on the surface of carbon and are easily oxidized; embedding a metal in the actual carbon structure helps protect it. To make such a dream material, Hu and his team had to create a new process. They used a temperature-controlled reaction between sodium metal and carbon monoxide to create a black carbon powder that trapped sodium atoms. Furthermore, in collaboration with researchers at University of Michigan and University of Texas at Austin, they demonstrated that the sodium was embedded inside the carbon instead of adhered on the surface of the carbon. The team then tested the material in several energy devices.
In the dye-sensitized solar cell world, every tenth of a percent counts in making devices more efficient and commercially viable. In the study, the platinum-based solar cell reached a power conversion efficiency of 7.89 percent, which is considered standard. In comparison, the solar cell using Hu's sodium-embedded carbon reached efficiencies of 11.03 percent.
Supercapacitors can accept and deliver charges much faster than rechargeable batteries and are ideal for cars, trains, elevators and other heavy-duty equipment. The power of their electrical punch is measured in farads (F); the material's density, in grams (g), also matters.
Activated carbon is commonly used for supercapacitors; it packs a 71 F g-1 punch. Three-dimensional graphene has more power with a 112 F g-1 measurement. Sodium-embedded carbon knocks them both out of the ring with a 145 F g-1 measurement. Plus, after 5,000 charge/discharge cycles, the material retains a 96.4 percent capacity, which indicates electrode stability.
Hu says innovation in energy devices is in great demand. He sees a bright future for sodium-embedded carbon and the improvements it offers in solar tech, batteries, fuel cells, and supercapacitors.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished December

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

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