Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Trump Minus 3. Davos Trumped.

Baltic Dry Index. 925 +15   Brent Crude 55.52

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

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices….

Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations, 1776.

Later today, at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, the great in their own minds, and the not so good, gather to socialise, pontificate, network, social climb, and flatter each other.  At a minimum of $50,000 a shot, the Davos local economy gains 100 million plus, in the space of just 4 days. Nice work for Davos. A disaster for everyone else. In 46 years of elitist  meetings, no one can point to anything helpful to mankind.

Davos elite promise global solutions, but they’re part of the problem

By Satyajit Das Published: Jan 13, 2017 5:52 p.m. ET

Missed opportunities at this annual gathering of the rich, powerful, and disconnected

Each year in late January, global leaders — politicians, bureaucrats, corporate executives, and public intellectuals — make a pilgrimage to the Swiss town of Davos for the World Economic Forum. Demand is so great, and growing, available accommodations soon may not be sufficient.
These 2,000 or so elites (0.00003% of the world’s population) are the Davos Men (and comparatively few women), a term coined by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington. The average age of the participants is a bit over 50. They are predominately male, with only one in five being female. They represent around 1,000 organizations from 100 countries, although the largest proportion are from Western Europe and North America. Over the course of several days, their views, strategies, and policies will be captured by the paparazzi and an adoring media.
In recent years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has focused on economic matters and the new global context, encompassing conflicts, instability, and political, economic, and technological changes. But in truth, little of consequence happens at Davos. The real genius of Davos is the concept itself. Founded in 1971 by economist Klaus Schwab, it taps into the world’s voyeurism and innate shallowness.

For 2016, the WEF’s theme was “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” designed to prepare leaders for a future shaped by technological change. Yet participants ignored the fact that much of what passes for new technology destroys jobs and wages, and exacerbates income inequality, as owners of the technology benefit at the expense of others. It was also unclear where this future technological wonderland fits into a world of unsustainable debt levels, the intractable trajectory of climate change, the slowdown in Europe, Japan and emerging markets, conflict-driven immigration and geopolitical risk.
This year, the focus, ironically, is on “Responsive and Responsible Leadership” — code for confronting the rise of populism that threatens attendees’ control of their societies and economies. Over canapés and mineral water, WEF participants will discuss concepts such as geostrategic competition, new antagonists, global solidarity, exponentially disruptive change, a shared sense of uncertainty, the transformation of human identity, and the shift from traditional hierarchies to networked hierarchies.

The conference agenda shows how disconnected attendees are from real life. It is difficult for those who live in a cocoon of wealth or power, generally paid for by others, to understand the concerns of ordinary denizens of the planet. Discussions on economic inequality take place with scant participation from employee representatives or workers.
In reality, Davos is a networking opportunity. Participants hope to build up their Rolodex and book face time with clients, regulators, politicians, and peers over a few, hyper-efficient days. Firms can promote views beneficial to their business and financial interests in a seemingly benign environment. For some, Davos is an antidote to the insecurity of leadership. Financial Times columnist Gillian Tett once quipped that Davos was “a self-help group for the global elite”.


In other less elite news.

IMF sees Trump spending aiding U.S. growth, some emerging markets weaker

Mon Jan 16, 2017 | 9:40am EST
The International Monetary Fund on Monday lifted its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2017 and 2018 based on President-elect Donald Trump's tax cut and spending plans, but said this would largely be offset by weaker growth in several key emerging markets.
Updating its World Economic Outlook, the IMF kept its overall global growth forecasts unchanged from October at 3.4 percent for 2017 and 3.6 percent for 2018, up from 3.1 percent growth in 2016, the weakest year since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
The United States will see a slight 0.1 percentage-point improvement in 2017 gross domestic product and a stronger 0.4 percentage-point gain in 2018 as Trump lays plans for expansionary fiscal measures including tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
These would push U.S. growth to 2.3 percent in 2017 and to 2.5 percent in 2018, the IMF said, noting that they could also stoke inflation in an economy already nearing full employment.
"If a fiscally-driven demand increase collides with more rigid capacity constraints, a steeper path for interest rates will be necessary to contain inflation, the dollar will appreciate sharply, real growth will be lower, budget pressure will increase, and the U.S. current account deficit will widen," IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said in a statement.
He added that such a scenario could raise the specter of more protectionist measures and retaliatory responses.
But the new IMF outlook does not include any assumptions regarding Trump's proposed trade policies such as potential tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods or a renegotiation of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The IMF does assume a stronger dollar, a firming in oil prices and "more inflationary pressure and a less-gradual normalization of U.S. monetary policy."
While stronger oil and commodity prices have improved the picture for oil exporters including Nigeria, the steeper U.S. yield curve and tighter financial conditions will negatively affect some big emerging market economies, including Mexico.
The IMF has cut Mexico's growth forecasts by 0.6 percentage points in both 2017 and 2018, also citing investment uncertainty related to U.S. policy.
The IMF revised its 2017 growth forecast for China to 6.5 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from the October forecast, based on expectations for continued stimulative government policies, but left unchanged its 2018 forecast for a slowdown to 6.0 percent growth.

Germany hits back at Trump criticism of refugee policy and BMW tariff threat

Deputy chancellor blames America’s ‘flawed interventionist policy’ for refugee crisis and warns of ‘bad awakening’ for US carmakers
Monday 16 January 2017
Berlin has mounted a staunch defence of its policies after Donald Trump criticised the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for her stance during the refugee crisis and threatened a 35% tariff on BMW cars imported into the US.

Germany’s deputy chancellor and minister for the economy, Sigmar Gabriel, said on Monday morning that a tax on German imports would lead to a “bad awakening” among US carmakers since they were reliant on transatlantic supply chains.

“The US car industry would have a bad awakening if all the supply parts that aren’t being built in the US were to suddenly come with a 35% tariff. I believe it would make the US car industry weaker, worse and above all more expensive. I would wait and see what the Congress has to say about that, which is mostly full of people who want the opposite of Trump.”

In an interview with Bild and the Times, the US president-elect had indicated that he would aim to realign the “out of balance” car trade between Germany and the US. “If you go down Fifth Avenue everyone has a Mercedes Benz in front of his house, isn’t that the case?” he said. “How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all … it’s a one-way street.”

Asked what Trump could do to make sure German customers bought more American cars, Gabriel said: “Build better cars.”

---- Responding to Trump’s comments that Merkel had made an “utterly catastrophic mistake by letting all these illegals into the country”, Gabriel said that the increase in the number of people fleeing the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe had partially been a result of US-led wars destabilising the region.

Central-Bank Bashing Has Gold Only Asset Safe From Meddling

by Natasha Doff and Eddie Van Der Walt
13 January 2017, 00:01 GMT 13 January 2017, 11:56 GMT
Baring Asset Management’s Christopher Mahon has one major conviction about 2017: it will be the year in which central-bank bashing by politicians becomes the new normal, so he’s seeking shelter in gold.
“This year is the turning point,” Mahon said in an interview on Monday. “For seven years or so, central banks have largely escaped critique even though one could argue that their policies have been pretty inadequate in many senses. It’s very plausible now that politicians stand up and throw stones at central bankers.”
For the first time in more than two decades, politicians are encroaching on the autonomy central bankers expect to manage growth efficiently. Donald Trump has criticized the Federal Reserve for creating a “big, fat, ugly bubble” in the market by holding interest rates near zero. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said in October that a change has to come to Bank of England monetary policy. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has suggested that the European Central Bank share the blame for the rise of populism in Europe.
Mahon is betting that gold will rise if political intervention causes central banks to miss inflation and growth targets. In the past few months he’s built up a 4 percent allocation to bullion in his 1.7 billion pound ($2.1 billion) Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, which outperformed 80 percent of peers last year. Jim Rickards, author of New York Times best seller Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, is even more bullish: he recommends putting 10 percent into gold.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 29.20 Moz, Eligible 151.61 Moz, Total 180.81 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, wind power goes wrong in polluted China.

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

JIUQUAN, China — On the edge of the Gobi Desert, the Jiuquan Wind Power Base stands as a symbol of China’s quest to dominate the world’s renewable energy market. With more than 7,000 turbines arranged in rows that stretch along the sandy horizon, it is one of the world’s largest wind farms, capable of generating enough electricity to power a small country.

But these days, the windmills loom like scarecrows, idle and inert. The wind howls outside, but many turbines in Jiuquan, a city of vast deserts and farms in the northwest province of Gansu, have been shut off because of weak demand. Workers while away the hours calculating how much power the turbines could have generated if there were more buyers, and wondering if and when they will ever make a profit.

“There’s not much we can do right now,” said Zhou Shenggang, a manager at a state-owned energy company who oversees 134 turbines here; about 60 percent of their capacity goes unused each year. “Only the state can intervene.”

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pointed to its embrace of wind and solar power and other alternatives to coal to position itself at the forefront of the global effort to combat climate change.

More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the United States. One out of every three turbines in the world is now in China, and the government is adding them at a rate of more than one per hour.

But some of its most ambitious wind projects are underused. Many are grappling with a nationwide economic slowdown that has dampened demand for electricity. Others are stymied by persistent favoritism toward the coal industry by local officials and a dearth of transmission lines to carry electricity from rural areas in the north and west to China’s fastest-growing cities.

That has left China unable to generate enough renewable energy to make a serious dent in air pollution and carbon emissions, despite the state-driven building spree. Even with its unmatched arsenal of turbines, China still lags the United States. Wind power now accounts for 3.3 percent of electricity generation in China, according to the nation’s National Energy Administration, compared with 4.7 percent in the United States.

Chinese officials have described the challenges facing the wind sector as growing pains, and they say the investments in renewable energy will pay off in the long term. The costs of wind projects are falling rapidly with advances in technology and more efficient construction, making them more competitive with plants powered by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

And the government has vowed to continue investing heavily in renewable energy. It said this month that it intended to spend at least $360 billion through 2020 on developing renewable energy sources.

Analysts said that China’s success would depend on its ability to overcome both political and practical obstacles, including resistance to renewable energy from local governments and a lack of turbines near major cities.

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?

We close with a growing trend in the 21st century. The old carbon based, electric power generation economic model is so last century.

German power battery storage to grow three-fold this year: study

Thu Jan 12, 2017 | 8:10am EST
Germany's power grid industry will expand big electricity battery capacity more than three-fold this year to 200 megawatts (MW) from 60 MW, German advisory group Team Consult said in a study of the new business area.
Battery storage is a significant new development in the transformation of the power sector as it will eventually allow harnessing of fluctuating wind and solar power for use by transport grids, solar-producing householders, and the car industry.
Germany is on a course to derive 80 percent of its power supply from renewables by 2050, having achieved a share of 30 percent in 2016, while the expansion of networks to transport the weather-driven production lags far behind targets.
This is where batteries come in, to supply super fast balancing services, in order to ensure that the system runs efficiently.
"We observe a rising trend for storage batteries to be used to stabilize grids," said author Christoph Hankeln.
Through the batteries, grids will receive short-term boosts to cope with varying green power output.
The allocation of volumes is set via weekly auctions in the primary balancing market, which is organized by grid operators.
In this market, would-be providers compete to supply or absorb power within seconds, in return for service fees.
Team Consult estimates that this market has a 800 MW capacity, meaning batteries could account for 25 percent by the end of this year, displacing some of the currently active thermal energy plants.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished December

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

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