Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Baltic Dry Index. 800 -16   Brent Crude 55.43

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

Week two of the Trump Presidency and Europe’s little Hitler’s have seemingly declared war on President Trump and his incoming team. Interesting, if ill advised.

Trump’s top trade adviser accuses Germany of currency exploitation

Berlin using neighbours and US and is an obstacle to deal with EU, says Navarro
January 31 2017
Germany is using a “grossly undervalued” euro to exploit the US and its EU partners, Donald Trump’s top trade adviser has said in comments that are likely to trigger alarm in Europe’s largest economy. 

Peter Navarro, the head of Mr Trump’s new National Trade Council, told the Financial Times the euro was like an “implicit Deutsche Mark” whose low valuation gave Germany an advantage over its main partners. His views suggest the new administration is focusing on currency as part of its hard-charging approach on trade ties.
In a departure from past US policy, Mr Navarro also called Germany one of the main hurdles to a US trade deal with the EU and declared talks with the bloc over a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership dead.
Mr Trump’s administration is focusing on bilateral deals rather than the broad multilateral accords pursued by Barack Obama, his predecessor.
“A big obstacle to viewing TTIP as a bilateral deal is Germany, which continues to exploit other countries in the EU as well as the US with an ‘implicit Deutsche Mark’ that is grossly undervalued,” Mr Navarro said. 
“The German structural imbalance in trade with the rest of the EU and the US underscores the economic heterogeneity [diversity] within the EU — ergo, this is a multilateral deal in bilateral dress.” 
The comments highlight a growing willingness by the Trump administration to antagonise EU leaders and particularly Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Besides publicly supporting Mrs May’s government in its negotiations with the EU over the terms of its exit, Mr Trump called the EU a vehicle for Germany, and Nato an obsolete alliance. 
---- “Brexit killed TTIP on both sides of the Atlantic even before the election of Donald Trump. I personally view TTIP as a multilateral deal with many countries under one ‘roof’,” Mr Navarro wrote in emailed responses to FT questions.
Mr Trump last week also withdrew from a 12-country Pacific Rim deal negotiated by Mr Obama. 
Mr Navarro said one of the administration’s trade priorities was unwinding and repatriating the international supply chains on which many US multinational companies rely, taking aim at one of the pillars of the modern global economy. 
“It does the American economy no long-term good to only keep the big box factories where we are now assembling ‘American’ products that are composed primarily of foreign components,” he said. “We need to manufacture those components in a robust domestic supply chain that will spur job and wage growth.” 

Merkel Pushes Back at Trump Team’s Accusations on German Trade

by Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs
31 January 2017, 13:36 GMT 31 January 2017, 14:33 GMT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected an accusation from U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser that Germany is bolstering its exports with a “grossly undervalued” euro in a growing trans-Atlantic spat.

Peter Navarro, the head of the new White House National Trade Council, told the Financial Times that Germany’s advantageous trade position within the EU was one of the main reasons for the demise of a U.S.-EU trade accord, known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. As the administration seeks bilateral trade arrangements at the expense of multilateral deals, Navarro called TTIP “a multilateral deal with many countries under one ‘roof,’” according to written responses to the newspaper’s questions.

Merkel, responding to the report, said the euro exchange rate was the province of the European Central Bank, whose independence has long been upheld by the German government.

“We won’t exercise any influence over the European Central Bank, so I can’t and I don’t want to change the situation as it is now,” Merkel said in Stockholm Tuesday after meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. “Beyond that, we strive to trade on the global market with competitive products in fair trade with all others.”

The comments by the Trump official aimed at Europe’s biggest economy are an implicit challenge to Merkel, who is presiding over the Group of 20 countries this year on a platform of free trade and plans to host Trump at a summit in July. The euro rose 0.8 percent to $1.0776 at 3:30 p.m. in Berlin.

Donald v. Donald: Trump’s ‘Worrying’ Words an EU Risk, Tusk Says

by Richard Bravo
31 January 2017, 14:33 GMT
Donald Trump’s pronouncements in his first week as U.S. president are creating instability for the European Union at a time when the 28-nation bloc is facing the most dire threats in its six-decade history, EU President Donald Tusk said.
“The change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation, with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Tusk told EU leaders in a letter on Tuesday. An “assertive China,” a more aggressive Russia, terrorism and “worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable,” he said.
In addition to saying that Brexit would be good for the U.K., Trump predicted in an interview with European newspapers earlier this month that other EU nations would follow Britain out of the bloc. Trump, who was sworn in on Friday, has questioned the efficacy of sanctions against Russia and has described the 
67-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organization as obsolete. European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have vowed to maintain EU unity in the face of the new president’s “America First” agenda.
In the letter to EU heads of state and government ahead of a summit on Friday, Tusk also warned member countries against anti-EU sentiment, saying the disintegration of the bloc wouldn’t lead to full sovereignty for nations but would force their “real and factual” dependence on the U.S., Russia and China.

EU must seek new trade deals if U.S. looks inward: Eurogroup president

Tue Jan 31, 2017 | 10:26am EST
The European Union will have to establish new trading partnerships if its traditional economic and political ally the United States heads down a path of protectionism, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday.
"We don't yet know if that is going to happen," Dijsselbloem told the RTL broadcaster. "Europe must not sit back and blindly wait for what happens in the United States, but move ahead itself, also in the area of trade."
Dijsselbloem's comments came amid a backlash in the European Union and beyond to U.S. President Donald Trump's early policy moves, including withdrawing from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
He said that while the United States remained a key trade partner it would be sensible for the EU to finalize trade deals being negotiated with Asia, Latin America and Africa.
"Our cooperation with China. very important. Economically, increasingly important, but also politically," he said.
"If the U.S really opts for a more protectionist, inward-looking approach ... (and) is no longer a supporter of trade and cooperation, Europe will have to take on that role with determination."

French Race Blown Wide Open as Le Pen, Macron Wait in Wings

Helene Fouquet and Gregory Viscusi
Francois Fillon’s French presidential campaign plunged deeper into trouble on Tuesday after further revelations about his use of public funds to employ members of his family.

The Republican candidate’s daughter and son allegedly earned 84,000 euros ($91,000) from 2005 to 2007 while working for him when he was a Senator, Le Canard Enchaine said. His wife, Penelope Fillon, earned more than 900,000 euros during over a decade as a parliamentary assistant and a contributor to a magazine while doing little actual work, according to Le Canard.

The newspaper’s initial report on Penelope’s job last week triggered a prosecutor to open a preliminary probe into the family’s affairs. It’s not illegal to hire relatives for public posts in France, so long as they perform their duties. The candidate says he’s innocent.

----The scandal has gripped France over the last week and offers the prospect of another twist in a race that has the nationalist Marine Le Pen leading the polls and has already seen household names like President Francois Hollande and his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, fall by the wayside. That said, polls show that Le Pen is still a long shot for victory in the second round of voting, with Emmanuel Macron also poised to benefit -- at least in the short term -- from Fillon’s woes.

Good luck negotiating anything with the rump EUSSR. There are multiple Presidents, a 
committee of 27, which must get unanimous agreement, plus the approval of the Belgian region of the Walloonatics.  Might as well try training sheep to herd themselves and report to the holding pens, or teaching Lou Abbott the value of money.

President of the European Union

President of the European Union (or President of Europe) does not exist. Nevertheless, the term is often misused to mean any of:
Among the cases presented above, referring to the President of the European Council as the “President of the European Union” (EU) is very common in the international media.[1][2] Nevertheless, this post presides only over the European Council – an institution of the EU – rather than presiding over the EU as a whole. The post does not have any executive powers and is unlike heads of state such as the President of the United States of America or the President of France: it is far more akin to Presiding Officer or chairman. Letters of credentials for ambassadors of non-member countries to the European Union are presented to the President of the European Council.

Abbott & Costello: "Two Tens for a Five"

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 29.96 Moz, Eligible 150.84 Moz, Total 180.80 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
No crooks today, just a worrying development in the Pacific Ocean. Is an EL Nino climate event making a return?

El Nino May Make a Comeback as Australia Sees Pacific Warming

by Phoebe Sedgman  31 January 2017, 06:16 GMT
Less than a year after the world said goodbye to one of the strongest El Ninos on record, forecasters are predicting the weather pattern may make a comeback.

Climate models indicate the central Pacific Ocean will probably warm over coming months, suggesting neutral conditions or El Nino are the most likely scenarios for the southern hemisphere winter-spring period, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. Five models show El Nino thresholds may be reached by mid-to-late winter, it said. Australia’s winter starts in June.

The 2015-16 El Nino was the strongest since the record event of 1997-98. The pattern reduced rainfall in the Indian monsoon, parched farmlands, and curbed production of cocoa in Ivory Coast, rice in Thailand and coffee in Indonesia. India’s Skymet Weather Services Pvt. said last week that El Nino showed signs of resurfacing in coming months.

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation is set to remain neutral through summer and autumn, according to the Australian weather bureau. Model outlooks that span the southern hemisphere autumn tend to have lower accuracy and forecasts beyond May should be used with some caution, it said.

El Nino is one phase in the larger three-part ENSO cycle. It represents the warm phase, La Nina is when the equatorial Pacific cools, and ENSO Neutral is in-between. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center said in November that a weak La Nina had started.

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?

Tesla’s Battery Revolution Just Reached Critical Mass

Three new plants in California show how lithium-ion storage is ready to power the grid.
by Tom Randall 30 January 2017, 11:45 GMT
Tesla Motors Inc. is making a huge bet that millions of small batteries can be strung together to help kick fossil fuels off the grid. The idea is a powerful one—one that’s been used to help justify the company’s $5 billion factory near Reno, Nev.—but batteries have so far only appeared in a handful of true, grid-scale pilot projects.

That changes this week.  

Three massive battery storage plants—built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd.—are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time. Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built. Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.

Ribbons will be cut and executives will take their bows. But this is a revolution that’s just getting started, Tesla Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel said in an interview on Friday. “It’s sort of hard to comprehend sometimes the speed all this is going at,” he said. “Our storage is growing as fast as we can humanly scale it.”
The new battery projects were commissioned in response to a fossil-fuel disaster—the natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon, near the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch. It released thousands of tons of methane into the air before it was sealed last February.
In its wake, Southern California Edison (SCE) rushed to deploy energy storage deals to alleviate the risk of winter blackouts. There wasn’t any time to waste: All of the projects rolling out this week were completed within 6 months, an unprecedented feat. Tesla moved particularly nimbly, completing in just three months a project that in the past would have taken years.
---- The battery storage industry—a key part of the plan if wind and solar power are to ever dominate the grid—is less than a decade old and still relatively small. Until recently, batteries were many times more expensive than natural gas “peaker” plants that fire up to meet surging demand in the evening and morning hours.

But prices for lithium-ion batteries have fallen fast—by almost half just since 2014. Electric cars are largely responsible, increasing demand and requiring a new scale of manufacturing for the same battery cells used in grid storage. California is mandating that its utilities begin testing batteries by adding more than 1.32 gigawatts by 2020. For context, consider this: In 2016, the global market for storage was less than a gigawatt.

California’s goal is considerable, but it’s dwarfed by Tesla’s ambition to single-handedly deliver 15 gigawatt hours 1 of battery storage a year by the 2020s—enough to provide several nuclear power plants–worth of electricity to the grid during peak hours of demand. Not everyone, however, is that optimistic.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished January

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

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