Monday, 16 January 2017

Trump Minus 4. Trade War Games?

Baltic Dry Index. 910 +18   Brent Crude 55.55

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

"We shouldn't pour cold water on everything.  We, the eight or nine players in global investment banking, have a very good future."

Deutsche Bank, CEO Josef Ackermann. Davos, January 2007.

On Friday things heated up in the “other” Trump trade war, the one with Mexico. Is a repeat of the 1930s now getting underway? Singapore fears that it is. Trump is already a winner in Davos and no one from Team Trump is even attending. Does NATO have a future if no one pays up? Will Twitter finally have a future? With 4 days still to go before Donald Trump takes office, he’s already accomplished more than President Obama in his last four years.

Mexico will 'immediately' respond to any U.S. border tax: minister

Fri Jan 13, 2017 | 4:01pm EST
Mexico must be ready to respond immediately with its own tax measures if the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump imposes a border tax, the economy minister said on Friday, warning such protectionism may trigger a global recession.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has promised a "major border tax" on companies that shift jobs outside the United States, and such a measure could hobble Mexico's exports to its top trading partner.
"It is clear we need to be prepared to immediately neutralize the impact of such a measure," Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview on Mexican television.

"And it is very clear how - take a fiscal action that clearly neutralizes it," he said.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Mexico over trade, jobs and immigration since he first launched his run for the White House in 2015, driving the peso currency to historic lows and unnerving investors, especially in the auto sector.

Guajardo said Trump's proposed tax "was a problem for the entire world" and that it "would have a wave of impacts that could take us into a global recession."

Nonetheless, the minister said he expected foreign direct investment in Mexico this year to total around $25 billion, with investment in the energy and telecommunications sectors expected to more than make up for the loss of a planned $1.6 billion Ford Motor Co. (F.N) factory that the company said this month it is cancelling. Trump had strongly criticized the plan, but Ford said its decision was not the result of pressure from Trump.

Guajardo also praised the government of Japan and Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) for their "reasonable" response to Trump's threat to impose a significant border tax if the company does not stop making its Corolla model in Mexico for the U.S. market. Toyota said last week the automaker has no immediate plans to curb production in Mexico.

"Toyota has 10 plants in the United States... and employs more than 130,000 Americans. If I were Mr. Trump, I'd treat them with more respect," Guajardo said.

Singapore’s MAS Warns of ‘Disastrous’ Effect of Trade Conflicts

by David Roman
The global economy will face “disastrous consequences” if U.S. protectionist measures proposed by incoming President Donald Trump prompt trade wars, the head of Singapore’s central bank said.

Some of the possible actions -- such as rejecting a U.S.-Pacific trade deal, extra taxes on U.S. importers and labeling major trade partners as currency manipulators -- “may well attract retaliatory measures,” Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said in a speech at a local conference on Monday.

But in all likelihood, the outcome “may not be that bad” since there’s still uncertainty around Trump’s policies and support for free trade remains strong among the U.S. establishment, he said.

Export-reliant Singapore is among the biggest losers from a slump in trade, with the economy probably recording its worst performance last year since the 2009 global financial crisis. Officials have vowed to push ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact signed between 12 countries including the U.S., Japan and Singapore. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the deal when he takes office.

While there is optimism about a U.S. fiscal boost and concern about a trade backlash, “there remains considerable uncertainty as to the actual policy changes in store,” Menon said. “They may not pan out as expected.”

Davos Chief Heeds Trump Win With Pledge to Tackle ‘Silent Fear’

by Stephen Morris and Erik Schatzker
The World Economic Forum is listening to Donald Trump.

The organization will convene a special meeting in Washington this year to discuss issues raised during the president-elect’s campaign and the populist wave that swept him to victory, WEF founder Klaus Schwab told Bloomberg Television on Sunday. The gathering will explore U.S. investment and job-creation opportunities for companies that participate in the forum, he said.

“It’s very natural that with the new administration we plan a major event in the U.S. to see what are the implications of the new president and how the business community could engage,” Schwab said in advance of the forum’s 47th annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. “We have to be responsive to the call.”

While the WEF has staff in the U.S., it hadn’t planned to hold a meeting there. In addition to the annual gathering in Davos, events are currently scheduled in Argentina, South Africa, Cambodia, Jordan and China.
Trump has claimed credit for persuading companies from Ford Motor Co. to Sprint Corp. to bring jobs and factories back to the U.S. from countries such as Mexico, and has demonstrated he can pressure chief executives to shift course with a single tweet. On Sunday, Trump said he’ll sanction companies with operations overseas, without specifying how.

“Car companies and others, if they want to do business in our country, have to start making things here again. WIN!” he posted on Twitter.

Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric and leadership style promise to dominate discussions at Davos, where a sense of unease has emerged following a year of political shocks. Trump’s victory, the Brexit vote in the U.K., and burgeoning populist movements across Europe have led the so-called Davos Man to wonder whether he’s part of the problem.

---- Schwab says the WEF’s annual meeting, where companies host lavish parties awash in champagne and rare vintage wines, attendees pay $50,000, and thousands of soldiers and police stand guard, remains an appropriate forum to discuss political issues like the rise of populism and to seek solutions to society’s biggest problems.

Trump Slams NATO, Floats Russia Nuke Deal in European Interview

by Rainer Buergin and Toluse Olorunnipa
Donald Trump called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would follow the U.K. in leaving the bloc, and threatened BMW with import duties over a planned plant in Mexico, according to two European newspapers which conducted a joint interview with the president-elect.

Trump, in an hourlong discussion with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London published on Sunday, signaled a major shift in trans-Atlantic relations, including an interest in lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear weapons reduction deal.

Quoted in German by Bild from a conversation held in English, Trump predicted that Britain’s exit from the EU will be a success and portrayed the EU as an instrument of German domination designed with the purpose of beating the U.S. in international trade. For that reason, Trump said, he’s fairly indifferent to whether the EU stays together, according to Bild.

The Times quoted Trump as saying he was interested in making “good deals with Russia,” floating the idea of lifting sanctions that were imposed as the U.S. has sought to punish the Kremlin for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and military support of the Syrian government.

“They have sanctions on Russia -- let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia,’’ Trump said, according to the Times. “For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.’’

Trump’s reported comments leave little doubt that he’ll stick to campaign positions and may in some cases upend decades of U.S. foreign policy, putting him fundamentally at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues from free trade and refugees to security and the EU’s role in the world.

Repeating a criticism of NATO he made during his campaign, Trump said that while trans-Atlantic military alliance is important, it “has problems.”

“It’s obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago,” Trump said in the Bild version of the interview. “Secondly, countries aren’t paying what they should” and NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism.” The Times quoted Trump saying that only five NATO members are paying their fair share.

While those comments expanded on doubts Trump expressed about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his campaign, he reserved some of his most dismissive remarks for the EU and Merkel, whose open-border refugee policy he called a “catastrophic mistake.”

Beijing will 'take off the gloves', if Trump continues on Taiwan- China Daily

Sun Jan 15, 2017 | 11:17pm EST
Two influential Chinese newspapers on Monday warned U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that Beijing will "take off the gloves" and Taiwan may be scarified if he continues to provoke Beijing over the self-ruled island once he sworn in on Jan. 20.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday, Trump said the "One China" policy was up for negotiation. China's foreign ministry said "One China" was the foundation of China-U.S. ties and was non-negotiable.

Trump broke with decades of precedent last month by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, angering Beijing which sees Taiwan as part of China.

"If Trump is determined to use this gambit in taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves," the English-language China Daily said.

The Global Times, an influential state-run tabloid, echoed the China Daily, saying Beijing would take "strong countermeasures" against Trump's attempt to "impair" the One China principle.

Up next, get ready for inflation in rubber products. If you need new tires now may be a good time to get them.

Unseasonable Flooding Kills Dozens in Thailand; More Rain on Way

January 15, 2017 12:02 AM
BANGKOK —  Thailand faces more hardship from unseasonable floods that have killed 40 people in its south, with more rain expected in the major rubber-producing and tourist region in coming days, a top disaster agency official said Sunday.
Persistent heavy rain well into what should be the dry season has triggered floods across the south, cutting road and rail links, threatening crops and affecting about 1.6 million people, said Chatchai Promlert, head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.
“The worst isn’t over. We’re expecting more rain this week while clean-up efforts are underway in places where the waters have subsided,” Chatchai told Reuters.
The Meteorological Department said on its website more rain was expected Monday.
The rainy season in Thailand normally takes place from June to November. The floods, which began January 1, have followed unseasonably heavy rain.
Thailand is one of the world’s most important producers of natural rubber and the national rubber authority said Thursday output in 2016-2017 would be about 10 percent lower because of the floods. Global rubber prices have spiked on concern about the impact.

“I think we agree, the past is over.”

President George W. Bush.

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 we ask, “are there any honest auto manufacturers in Europe?”

Emission probes could widen beyond Renault in France: Minister

Sat Jan 14, 2017 | 7:37pm EST
A judicial investigation into diesel emissions testing in France could widen beyond Renault after tests showed other carmakers had exceeded the authorized levels, the French environment minister said on Sunday, without elaborating.
Shares in Renault fell more than 4 percent to their lowest level in around a month on Friday after a source at the Paris prosecutor's office said it had launched a judicial probe into possible cheating on exhaust emissions at the French carmaker.
Volkswagen's admission that some of its diesel vehicles were fitted with software designed to hide the true level of emissions they produced has highlighted that most cars spew out far greater amounts of health-threatening nitrogen oxide (NOx) in everyday driving conditions than in laboratory tests.
"A number of anomalies were noted on Renault vehicles. The controls performed far exceeded the permissible standards. This is also the case for other carmakers to a different extent. So there could be other investigations," Environment Minister Segolene Royal said in an interview with French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.
"It is a matter of justice and I do not interfere."
Renault said it respected all laws concerning exhaust emissions, adding that its vehicles did not have software enabling them to cheat on emissions standards.

Italy Rejects Germany’s Request on Fiat Cars in Months-Long Feud

by Dan Liefgreen and Rainer Buergin
14 January 2017, 14:24 GMT
Italy rejected Germany’s request to look closer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s vehicles to ensure they meet European emission rules, as the months-long feud between the countries over the issue escalated.

Italian Deputy Transport Minister Riccardo Nencini said the “insistence of the German government after the responses given by the Italian ministry is incomprehensible.” Italy’s government is collaborating with the European Commission, Nencini said in a statement late Friday after the EU’s executive arm said German authorities have expressed serious concerns on emissions of the Fiat 500x.

“We have repeatedly asked Italian authorities to come forward with convincing answers as soon as possible,” the EU Commission said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

Fiat-Chrysler is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over its alleged failure to disclose software that violated emissions standards, according to people familiar with the matter, another legal hurdle for a company already under criminal scrutiny for its sales practices. The possibility of a criminal action over diesel emissions violations comes after the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it found software in 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s that allowed the automaker to exceed pollution limits on the road.

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie"              

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

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?

India Solar Prices Set to Drop on Competition, Costs

January 13, 2017
The price paid for solar power in India at auction is set to fall below last year’s record lows for the South Asia nation, driven by plummeting panel prices, falling interest rates and competition among developers seeking a slice of the country’s renewables market.

Prices could dip lower than the 4.34 rupees (6 cents) a kilowatt-hour offered in auctions held in the state of Rajasthan a year ago, according to at least one developer of solar projects in India.

“This year we will see prices fall below 4 rupees a kilowatt-hour for sure and it will be viable,” said Rahul Munjal, chairman and managing director of Hero Future Energies Pvt, the clean-energy arm of Hero Group, one of India’s largest automakers.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. With China and Japan joining the competitive-bidding bandwagon, as much as 25 gigawatts of solar capacity could be awarded through auctions this year globally, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“We feel interest rates will go down and the cost of solar panels will fall, so these will have a great effect on breaching the 4 rupees a unit-mark," said Hero Future’s Munjal, adding that he’s looking at a 50 basis-point decline in domestic interest rates.

Hero Future Energies, backed by the International Financial Corp., operates 360 MW of wind and solar capacity and has another 1.4 GW of projects in the pipeline. The company plans to participate in some of the upcoming auctions.

A decline in costs is one reason developers say prices at auction will drop.

After falling 30 percent last year, the price of ordinary multi-crystalline silicon modules is expected to fall another 20 percent in 2017, according to London-based BNEF. Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs.

“We expect these modules to sell for around $0.32 per watt," Jenny Chase, BNEF’s chief solar analyst, said in a research note.

Pent-up demand for nearly two gigawatts of solar capacity up for auctions in India in the early part of the year will also drive prices lower, said Rahul Goswami founder of Greenstone Energy Advisors, a boutique investment bank specializing in renewable energy deals in Asia’s third-largest economy.

"There is going to be a huge oversubscription in the coming auctions and everyone in 2017 will be looking at ‘how do I go forward from my one gigawatt to 1.5 or 2 gigawatts,’" Goswami said in a phone interview, adding that fewer tenders in the last several months is adding to the pent-up demand.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished December

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

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