Friday, 13 January 2017

Trump Minus 7

Baltic Dry Index. 892 -02   Brent Crude 56.05

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

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell.

We are seven days away from President Trump taking power in the world’s only superpower. The markets bought the rumour and are close to selling the fact.  By all accounts a trade war with China and Mexico starts immediately. But this may not be the ideal time to start a trade war with anyone. China’s economic wobble looks like accelerating. The Mexican Peso is collapsing due to capital flight. The wold’s weakest recovery from the Great Recession is already in month 89. The next recession is already long overdue. Trumpmania is already starting to fade.

Up first, more red flags from China, and these are the official figures that no one in China itself trusts.  November’s unexpected rise in exports was probably just statistical noise. Capital flight intensifies ahead of President Trump.

China posts worst export fall since 2009 as fears of U.S. trade war loom

Fri Jan 13, 2017 | 12:48am EST
China's massive export engine sputtered for the second year in a row in 2016, with shipments falling in the face of persistently weak global demand and officials voicing fears of a trade war with the United States that is clouding the outlook for 2017.

In one week, China's leaders will see if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on a campaign pledge to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office, and starts to follow up on a threat to slap high tariffs on Chinese goods.

Even if the Trump administration takes no concrete action immediately, analysts say the specter of deteriorating U.S.-China trade and political ties is likely to weigh on the confidence of exporters and investors worldwide.

The world's largest trading nation posted gloomy data on Friday, with 2016 exports falling 7.7 percent and imports down 5.5 percent. The export drop was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.

It will be tough for foreign trade to improve this year, especially if the inauguration of Trump and other major political changes limit the growth of China's exports due to greater protectionist measures, the country's customs agency said on Friday.

"The trend of anti-globalization is becoming increasingly evident, and China is the biggest victim of this trend," customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters.

"We will pay close attention to foreign trade policy after Trump is inaugurated president,” Huang said. Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

China's trade surplus with the United States was $366 billion in 2015, according to U.S. customs data, which Trump could seize on in a bid to bring Beijing to the negotiating table to press for concessions, economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a recent research note.

China exports off 6.1% in Dec., below expectations

By MarketWatch  Published: Jan 13, 2017 1:06 a.m. ET
BEIJING--China's exports in dollar terms in December fell from a year earlier, following an uptick in November, a reflection of the continued headwinds faced by the world's second-largest economy.
Exports fell 6.1% in December from a year earlier, following a 0.1% gain in November, the General Administration of Customs said Friday. November's unexpected rise in exports broke a seven-month streak of declines.
Exports had been expected to drop 3.0%, according to the median estimate from a Wall Street Journal poll of 11 economists.
The figures indicate that China's overseas shipments, once an important generator of growth, are continuing to weigh on its overall economic performance amid continued sluggishness in global trade.
Imports in December rose 3.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 6.7% gain in November. The increase was in line with the poll's median forecast for a 3.0% increase.
China's trade surplus in December narrowed to $40.82 billion from $44.61 billion the previous month, falling short of a median forecast for a $48.30 billion surplus.
For 2016, exports dropped 7.7%, while imports declined 5.5%, resulting in a trade surplus of $510 billion. Last year's trade surplus was smaller than the $594.5 billion surplus in 2015.

PBOC Said to Boost Yuan Curbs as Banks Told to Balance Flow

13 January 2017, 03:51 GMT 13 January 2017, 04:14 GMT
China has asked some banks to stop processing cross-border yuan payments until they balance inflows and outflows, people familiar with the matter said, as authorities step up a campaign to curb a record amount of money leaving the nation in the local currency.

The directions, given verbally on Wednesday, require the lenders to show at the end of every month that the amount of outgoing yuan matches the sum that comes in, said the people, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The People’s Bank of China guidance will apply to transactions involving both companies and individuals, the people said.

For now, the banks facing difficulty in balancing cross-border yuan payments will have to temporarily halt outbound services to take stock of their current positions, the people said. The PBOC declined to comment after a faxed request.

“This underscores the difficulty of the task facing China’s policy makers, working to steady the yuan and plug holes in an increasingly porous capital account,” said Tom Orlik, Beijing-based chief Asia economist at Bloomberg Intelligence.

The equivalent of a net $309 billion left China via yuan payments in the 11 months through November, set for the biggest annual outflow in data going back to 2010. To put this figure in perspective, a Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of Chinese outflows that doesn’t include outgoing yuan estimates that a total $762 billion exited the nation in that period. Yuan payments refer to money being sent across the border in the Chinese currency, rather than being converted into dollars or other foreign tenders first.

----Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has warned that a rising amount of capital is exiting the country in the Chinese currency rather than in dollars. In another sign of outflow pressures, China’s foreign-exchange reserves fell for a sixth straight month in December, dropping $41.1 billion to a five-year low of $3.01 trillion.

The yuan has come under increased pressure in the past two months amid the accelerating capital outflows, faster U.S. interest-rate increases and concern that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may make good on his threats to brand China a currency manipulator and slap punitive taxes on the Asian nation’s exports.

Chinese tabloid says U.S. needs to 'wage war' to block off South China Sea islands

Thu Jan 12, 2017 | 11:36pm EST
Blocking Chinese access to islands in the South China Sea would require the U.S. to "wage war", an influential Chinese state-run tabloid said on Friday, after U.S. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson suggested the strategy on Wednesday.

Tillerson told his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he wanted to send a signal to China that their access to islands in the disputed South China Sea "is not going to be allowed". He did not elaborate.

The United States would have to "wage a large-scale war" in the South China sea to prevent Chinese access to the islands, the Global Times said in an English language editorial.

The paper, which is known for writing strongly-worded, hawkish and nationalist editorials, is published by the ruling Communist Party's flagship paper. It does not reflect Chinese policy.

"Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories," the paper added.

The editorial also said that Tillerson, an Exxon Mobil Corp chairman and former chief executive, was the most likely of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks to be vetoed by congress.

"It is suspected that he merely wanted to curry favor from senators and increase his chances of being confirmed by intentionally showing a tough stance toward China," it said.

The paper did not elaborate on either point.

A similar article was also carried in the paper's Chinese language website that receives thousands of hits every day.

There are also legal questions of any U.S. attempt to block China's access, the editorial said, asking if this might mean that Vietnam and Philippines also should be denied entry.

China, Russia agree on more 'countermeasures' against U.S. anti-missile system: Xinhua

Thu Jan 12, 2017 | 7:12pm EST
China and Russia have agreed to take further unspecified "countermeasures" in response to a U.S. plan to deploy an anti-missile system in South Korea, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

The countermeasures "will be aimed at safeguarding interests of China and Russia and the strategic balance in the region", Xinhua said, citing a statement released after a China-Russia security meeting.

China and Russia held a joint anti-missile drill last May after Washington and Seoul began discussions over installing the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to counter any North Korean threats.

THAAD is now due to be deployed on a South Korean golf course, unsettling Moscow and Beijing, which worry that the system's powerful radar will compromise their security and do nothing to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula.

China and Russia said in October they would hold a second drill this year.

"China and Russia urged the United States and South Korea to address their security concerns and stop the deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula," Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.

North Korea's drive to develop nuclear weapons capability has angered China, Pyongyang's sole major diplomatic and economic supporter. However, Beijing fears THAAD and its radar have a range that would extend into China.

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 29.20 Moz, Eligible 151.58 Moz, Total 180.78 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, yet more cheating in the dying, wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR. With friends like this Italy doesn’t need enemies.
Dodgy Dave Cameron: "Juncker, I haven't tasted food for 3 days."  Juncker: "Well, I wouldn't worry about it... it still tastes the same."

How the EU helps out. With apologies to Curly, Moe, and Larry.

EU says expects answers from Italy over alleged Fiat emissions cheating

Thu Jan 12, 2017 | 3:30pm EST
The European Commission on Thursday called on Italy to provide proof against Germany's allegation that Fiat Chrysler used illegal exhaust emissions defeat devices, stepping up pressure on the group amid accusations against it in the U.S.

Germany has asked the EU executive to mediate its dispute with Italy, which rejected its allegations of hidden software on the Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep Renegade models that allowed excess diesel emissions.

Germany's motor vehicle authority KBA began testing the vehicles of several manufacturers, including Fiat Chrysler, after Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) admission of cheating on emissions tests.

An EU source said that testing carried out on one Fiat 500X vehicle at the EU's own vehicle testing laboratory north of Milan showed suspicious emissions behavior.

Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.

The German KBA motor vehicle authority had previously said it found a device that throttles back the models' exhaust purification system after 22 minutes - just longer than official regulatory tests.

Fiat Chrysler said at the time that its cars conform to current emissions rules and do not contain defeat devices.

In a sign of mounting frustration in Brussels over what EU officials see as governments colluding with the powerful car industry, the Commission said it was now up to Italian authorities to prove no wrongdoing.

"The German authorities have expressed serious concerns," Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet told Reuters. "We have repeatedly asked Italian authorities to come forward with convincing answers as soon as possible."

An EU official said Brussels shares Germany's concerns.

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?

New technique stores summer heat until it's needed in winter

Colin Jeffrey 11/1/17
----A group of Swiss researchers claim to have come up with a process that stores heat captured during summer for easy, flick-of-a-switch use in winter, with the added benefit that the captured energy can be physically transported anywhere it may be needed.
Created by researchers working at EMPA (Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs-und ForschungsAnstalt or, in English, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research), the new system uses concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the thermal storage medium, and a collection of largely off-the-shelf components to capture, convert, and release heat energy on demand.
 invented by Teads
To achieve this, the researchers rely on the fact that when water is poured onto dry sodium hydroxide an exothermic reaction ensues, where the chemical energy contained in the NaOH is released as heat. As NaOH is also extremely hygroscopic (that is, having a great attraction for dragging in and holding water molecules from the surrounding environment), more heat is produced from water condensing from vapor in the air and the sodium hydroxide solution is heated even further. In this way, large amounts of heat may be liberated from NaOH simply by the addition of water
Conversely, if heat energy (collected from the sun, for example) is fed into a solution of sodium hydroxide diluted with water, the moisture readily evaporates and the NaOH solution becomes more concentrated and, therefore, effectively stores the supplied energy. This concentrated mixture may then be kept stored for many months (even years), until the heat is once again liberated when the NaOH is exposed to water again. The solution can also be easily transported in tanks to other areas where heat energy is needed.
In practice, the storage medium is a viscous liquid composed of a 50 percent NaOH solution that is made to trickle along in a spiral pipe (created from heat exchangers normally found in instantaneous water heaters), where it soaks up water vapor along the way and then conveys the generated heat into the pipe. The heat is then free to radiate, convect, and conduct into the area requiring warmth.

During this process, the sodium hydroxide solution cascades down the outside of the heat exchanger spiral, where it is diluted to around 30 percent in the steamy atmosphere of the inside of the system, and the water temperature within the pipe rises to around 50° C (122° F). Which, in a happy coincidence, makes it ideal for under floor heating.
The reverse of this process – passing heat through the medium to store energy – has also been demonstrated in the system. Specifically, the moisture from the NaOH solution evaporates when heat is applied, which is then siphoned off and condensed. The solution that exits the heat exchanger is now back up to 50 percent strength, and "charged" with heat energy. The researchers suggest that the heat for this step could be renewably produced using solar collectors (similar to those used in solar-powered air conditioning systems).

----Though still in the prototype stage, EMPA is currently looking for commercial partners to assist in creating a compact version of the system for household domestic use.

The EMPA heat storage device is one of three competing systems in the COMTES project, which has the goal to develop and demonstrate compact seasonal storage of solar thermal energy.

Another weekend and the last weekend of President Obama. What began eight years ago with “yes we can,” has ended with “but we didn’t.”  And so on to the loose cannon of President Trump. Wall building, trade wars, illegal immigrant hunting, swamp draining and a confrontation with China loom. The next recession gets closer by the week. Have a great weekend everyone.
“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
H L Mencken.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished December

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

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