Thursday, 23 February 2017

President Trump’s Jobs Summit.

Baltic Dry Index. 806 +26   Brent Crude 56.31

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

“I’m just a banker doing God’s work”
Lloyd Blankfein’s CEO Goldman Sachs. “Mr. Goldman Sacks.”

We open today with the commodity wisdom of Goldie. Commodities have reached a “holding pattern,” they think. After 49 years following commodities, I’m not sure I could recognise a holding pattern, whatever that is. However, commodities usually rise and fall on supply and demand, except when rigged like the precious metals. Lately the Baltic Dry Index seems to have bottomed and is staging something of a comeback rally. If the “beady eye” is right, and that’s by no means a certainty, Goldie’s holding pattern might turn more into a launching pad, if President Trump’s American jobs summit later in the day, lives up to its expectations.

Goldman Says Commodities Need Proof of Demand to Rally More

by James Poole
22 February 2017, 06:36 GMT 22 February 2017, 09:12 GMT
Commodity markets will probably stay in a “holding pattern” until there are hard data showing real demand and shrinking stockpiles to support the recent price rally, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which expects such evidence to emerge in the second quarter.
“Market positioning is now extremely long across the commodity complex, as markets have priced in robust expectations on forward demand and inventory draws,” analysts led by Jeff Currie wrote in a report received Wednesday. Investors need to see proof of this outlook, or “in other words, ‘show me the activity’; real demand, real stock draws and empty warehouses,” they wrote.
Raw-material returns measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index have increased 16 percent in the past year, led by gains in zinc, sugar and Brent crude, as supplies trailed demand. Goldman said recent survey data suggest global gross domestic product growth is tracking at 4.4 percent, exceeding its economists’ estimate of 3.6 percent, and confirmation of “such robust activity” has the potential to push prices above its expectations.
The risks for higher prices are greater in metals markets than oil because of the supply response from U.S. shale producers that’s beginning to gain momentum, the analysts wrote. The “realization of deficit markets” will probably have a much larger impact on term structure, or spot prices relative to forward prices, than on the price levels themselves, they wrote.
“We are confident that real activity and inventory draws are likely to materialize,” the bank said. “In oil, the U.S. will be the last to draw” and global fundamentals suggest a much stronger market than U.S. stockpile increases suggest, it said. In China, the virtuous cycle created by rising producer prices has more to run and strong credit data will boost commodities.
If survey and credit data turn into real demand and deficits, a “backwardated term structure should result,” the bank said, referring to a market where spot prices are higher than forward prices. With such low market volatility, “a positive carry in commodity markets will likely be a welcome change to investors despite only a modest expected change in price levels,” it said.
Goldman reiterated its outlook for crude in New York to rise to $57.50 a barrel in the second quarter before declining to $55 for the rest of the year. Futures traded at $54.23 on Wednesday.

In America, “the Donald” meets later today with America’s job creators. It’ll be a brave job creator that doesn’t promise to create more American jobs later today.

In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right 

John Kenneth Galbraith.

Trump Meets With Corporate CEOs Thursday on Economic Policies

by Justin Sink
President Donald Trump will meet Thursday with corporate chief executives to discuss job creation and his plans to craft new tax and trade policies.

A rotating cast of U.S. business leaders have visited Trump at the White House since his inauguration, and at Thursday’s meeting with manufacturers White House aides say Trump plans to solicit ideas to help jump-start the American economy.

"As a successful businessman himself, the president knows that if we’re going to get the country back to work, we need to hear directly from job creators what is holding them back and where appropriate take steps to remove the barriers," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday. Spicer didn’t say which CEOs would participate.

Johnson & Johnson’s chairman and CEO, Alex Gorsky, will attend the meeting, a company spokesman said. David Farr, chairman of Emerson Electric, is planning to attend the meeting on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing 14,000 member companies.

Farr and other board members of the association are planning a national tour of factories over the coming week to promote policy changes they hope to see from the Trump administration and Congress. The tour will feature stops at the facilities of companies including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

At Thursday’s meeting the White House plans to separate the corporate leaders into working groups, focusing on areas including deregulation, workforce training, infrastructure, taxes, and trade. Vice President Mike Pence and White House aides will meet with the groups and compile their recommendations for the president ahead of his meeting with the full group executives.

"As you can tell by the structure of the meeting, the president is expecting these interactions to lead to real action being taken by the administration," Spicer said.

We close for today with French politics turning ugly. It’s all out war, in a stop Le Pen, nuclear take no prisoners fight. The usual suspects have cut a deal to fix the election, but what will the voters think?

Marine Le Pen’s Head of Cabinet Charged in EU Assistants Probe

by Gaspard Sebag
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s head of cabinet was charged late on Wednesday as she brushed off allegations that she misused European Parliament funds, saying they were politically motivated.
The cabinet head was charged for being the recipient of misappropriated funds, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. Le Pen’s body guard, who was also interrogated today, was released without being charged.

“I formally contest the facts that we’re being charged for,” Le Pen said on TF1 television. “The judicial system shouldn’t be upsetting the presidential campaign.”

For months, the anti-euro, anti-immigration candidate has led in polls for the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, though not the second. Because her populist campaign is about overturning France’s ruling elites, her supporters are unlikely to blanch at such allegations.

The two aides to Le Pen were placed in custody for interrogation Wednesday after investigators raided her National Front party’s headquarters earlier in the week as part of a probe into whether she improperly used European money to pay their salaries.

In French legal proceedings, investigative judges can charge companies or individuals in a procedure known as “mise en examen” when there is “serious and consistent” evidence showing likely involvement in the matter under investigation.

The European Parliament has ordered Le Pen to repay the money, estimating the improper payments at 336,146 euros ($355,000). She has refused to pay it back, saying the jobs weren’t fictitious, and has appealed the decision.

First Brexit, Then Frexit: Le Pen Says She's Like Theresa May

Svenja O'Donnell and Helene Fouquet
Marine Le Pen, who wants to take France out of the euro, wants you to believe she’s just like Prime Minister Theresa May, who is taking Britain out of the European Union.

“She’s running the U.K. using policies that I want to run” Le Pen said in an interview on TF1 television late Wednesday.

Being flattered by France’s far-right leader for her "drastic limitation" of immigration and "smart protectionism" will sit uncomfortably with May, an advocate of free trade who was criticized at home for not being quick enough to condemn President Donald Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim nations.

On Tuesday, her spokesman said that as a rule the U.K. government didn’t engage with the anti-immigration National Front led by Le Pen.

The question arose after May met with Le Pen’s centrist rival for the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron. The snub didn’t stop the anti-euro candidate from saying May’s policies were straight out of her playbook. Le Pen said that the decision by Britons to leave the EU “has allowed the currency to return to a level that has helped exports explode.”

 “All the lights are green in the U.K. and all those who predicted apocalypse got it wrong,” she said, adding that the unemployment rate has dropped since the Brexit vote and that growth has held up.

Macron Seals Centrist Pact, Boosting French Presidential Campaign

by Helene Fouquet and Gregory Viscusi
Independent candidate Emmanuel Macron agreed to an alliance with his centrist rival Francois Bayrou, boosting his run for president of France after a difficult week.

Macron told Agence France-Presse that he’s accepted Bayrou’s offer of a deal to avoid splitting the moderate vote in April’s first round ballot.

“We are in such a risky situation and for this situation we need an exceptional answer,” Bayrou said earlier during a press conference in Paris. “Macron is brilliant.”

Bayrou, the 65-year-old mayor of the southern town of Pau, was a contender in the 2007 presidential election when he won 18.6 percent of the vote in the first round, narrowly missing out on making the run-off. His share of the vote slipped to 9.1 percent in 2012 and recent polls have shown only about 5 percent would back him this time.

With the 2017 race shaping up as a tight three-way contest, even that might have hurt Macron.

Q: Why do French People eat snails?

A: Because they don't like fast food!

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 30.64 Moz, Eligible 152.82 Moz, Total 183.46 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, Italy’s dodgy banks – again! Though this time it’s nothing to do with Three Card Monte di Siena.

Italy freezes assets of banker accused of using Vatican for market rigging

Tue Feb 21, 2017 | 12:08pm EST
Investigating magistrates in Italy on Tuesday froze millions of euros worth of assets belonging to a prominent Italian banker they believe used the Vatican bank and another Holy See financial department for market manipulation.

The financial crimes police said in a statement that they had executed the magistrates' orders, sequestering 2.5 million euros (£2 million) in buildings, stocks and land belonging to Giampietro Nattino, head of Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA. [BFE.MI]

Magistrates accuse him of market manipulation and providing false information to Consob, Italy's stock regulator.

Nattino said in a statement that the frozen assets belonged to him personally and not to his bank, and that he would cooperate with investigators.

Shares in his private bank fell 3.6 percent before recovering some of that loss.

Tuesday's developments followed an exclusive report by Reuters in November, 2015 about a Vatican investigation into Nattino's accounts at the Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion, and at APSA, an office that oversees Vatican real estate and investments.

A confidential document seen by Reuters at the time covered the period from 2000 to 2011 and was passed on to Italian and Swiss investigators for their checks because some activity tied to the accounts allegedly took place in these countries.

Vatican investigators suspected that on one occasion when his bank handled a stock placement, the APSA accounts were used to buy shares before they were allocated to other investors.

In their statement on Tuesday, police said Nattino had used the "cover" of the Vatican financial institutions to carry out "a complex stock operation which resulted in criminal behaviour regarding market manipulation".

The police statement said Nattino had employed "misleading and false" methods to "substantially alter" the price of shares in his bank.

It said Italian magistrates were investigating two people who were managers at APSA in 2011 on suspicion of complicity. The Vatican had no immediate comment on the Italian magistrates' order or on who the former Vatican officials were.

Nattino's statement on Tuesday referred back to one issued in 2015 in which he said his work had "always been characterised by maximum transparency and correctness".

The Vatican, a sovereign state surrounded by Rome, has enacted a number of provisions to cleanse its finances and make them more transparent in recent years, particularly since the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

Among the reforms was the closing of accounts held by outsiders such as Nattino.
APSA made headlines in June 2013 with the arrest of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who worked there for 22 years as a senior accountant.
Last year he was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to smuggle 20 million euros in cash into Italy from Switzerland to help friends avoid taxes.
Scarano, who still faces a separate trial on money laundering charges, denies all wrongdoing.

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

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?

Scalable 100% yield production of conductive graphene inks

Date: February 21, 2017

Source: Graphene Flagship

Summary: Conductive inks are useful for a range of applications, including printed and flexible electronics such as radio frequency identification (RFID) antennas, transistors or photovoltaic cells. The advent of the internet of things is predicted to lead to new connectivity within everyday objects, including in food packaging. There is a clear need for cheap and efficient production of electronic devices using stable, conductive and non-toxic components.

A new method for producing high quality, water-based conductive graphene inks with high concentrations has been developed by researchers from the Graphene Flagship working at the Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK. The novel method uses ultrahigh shear forces in a microfluidization process to exfoliate graphene flakes from graphite. The process converts 100% of the starting graphite material into usable flakes for conductive inks, avoiding the need for centrifugation and reducing the time taken to produce a usable ink. The research is published in ACS Nano.
The inks produced by the microfluidization process have high concentrations of up to 100 g of graphene flakes per litre and can be optimised for screen printing. These inks can also be used to create novel composites, coatings and energy storage devices. This method can easily be applied to other layered materials, such as hexagonal boron nitride or transition metal dichalcogenides, to provide a family of printable circuit components -- conductor, insulators and semiconductors -- with which to build printed electronics with different functionalities. These inks are ideal for applications where low-cost is important.
With the 100% yield of the microfluidization method, it is now possible to produce high quality graphene inks in sufficient quantities for commercial products. Inks produced using this method have already been commercialised via a University of Cambridge spin out company, Cambridge Graphene, which was recently acquired by engineering solutions company Versarien. The inks are also supplied to Novalia, an innovative print company based in Cambridge, for use in their interactive touch-based printed electronic demos.
Dr. Panagiotis Karagiannidis, a researcher at the Cambridge Graphene Centre, is lead author of the work. "The motivation was the need for layers with low sheet resistance to be produced by screen printing using inks with high concentration. In the microfluidization process, all of the starting mixture experiences the same uniform intensive shear levels, converting it into a usable ink with high concentration. There is no wastage of material or time consuming post-processing."

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished January

DJIA: 19864  +92 Up. NASDAQ:  5615 +95 Up. SP500: 2279 +95 Up.

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