Monday, 6 March 2017

An Unpredictable Time.

Baltic Dry Index. 939 +35   Brent Crude 55.70

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

"In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension."

John Kenneth Galbraith.

We open today with a slowing China. Though the rising Baltic Dry (shipping) Index suggests that global trade seems to have stabilised, a slowing Chinese economy suggests more trouble to come as the year unfolds.

Mar 05, 2017 02:29 AM

China 2017 GDP Growth Target at 25-Year Low

By Fran Wang
(Beijing) – China on Sunday set an economic growth target for 2017 that represents a 25-year low, as it accommodates uncertainties including rising global protectionism and challenges facing its unbalanced real estate and commodities markets.

Premier Li Keqiang set out the target as he vowed to continue the nation’s painful reform process that includes capacity reductions in oversupplied sectors like steel and coal, and closure of efficient state-run companies.

Economic growth is projected to grow “around 6.5%, or higher if possible in practice” in 2017, Li said in his Report on the Work of the Government delivered at the opening of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the annual meeting of China’s legislature.

That marked the least ambitious goal in 25 years, since a 6.0% target for gross national product (GNP) growth was set in 1992, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Last year, the government set its GDP growth projection at a more rigid range of 6.5%-7%. The economy ultimately grew at 6.7% for the year.

This year’s target is “realistic” and will “help steer” and stabilize expectations and allow room for structural reforms, Li said. But he also warned of “complicated and graver” situations this year.

“World economic growth remains sluggish, and both the deglobalization trend and protectionism are growing,” he said in the report. “There are many uncertainties about the direction of the major economies’ policies and their spillover effects, and the factors that could cause instability and uncertainty are visibly increasing.”

Concerns are growing over strained trade relations between China and its major trade partners including the U.S. under China skeptic President Donald Trump and the European Union, where a slew of political reshuffles are to take place later this year.

In EUSSR news, the Dutch are about to open the 2017 season of unpredictable continental elections. As with the election in America, mainstream media are heavily biased against the populist party. Germany and Turkey have all but gone to war. Britain prepares to trigger Article 50 and Brexit freedom. Mainstream media in Britain are still heavily biased against Brexit.

Dutch Election Wide Open as Parties Vie to Pick Up Wilders Votes

by Corina Ruhe
The Dutch election was wide open going into the last full week of campaigning, as support for the populist message of Geert Wilders declined and Prime Minister Mark Rutte failed to pick up the balance.

With polls showing five parties are now in contention to place first in the March 15 vote, leaders tried to capitalize on the opening over the weekend. Rutte touted his Liberal-led government’s economic record, while Wilders said it would be untenable to exclude his Freedom Party from a coalition if it scored highly.

“With a bit more than a week to go, there is not yet a clear winner,” Andre Krouwel, a professor of political science at Amsterdam’s VU University, said in a telephone interview. He added that about 40 percent of the electorate has yet to make up its mind.

Elections in the Netherlands will set the tone for ballots in France and in Germany this year that will determine whether the voter anger that prompted the U.K.’s Brexit vote and brought Donald Trump to the White House is reverberating across mainland Europe. Wilders, who wants to stop all Muslim immigration to the Netherlands, has praised Trump’s agenda, while Rutte said the Dutch have a chance to send a signal and halt the spread of populism.

Latest Polls

According to the latest poll published on Friday, the Freedom Party would get 25 seats in the 150-seat parliament, down from 29 seats a week ago, and the Liberals 24 seats, down one seat. The gap between the two front-runners and other parties is narrowing, with the Christian Democrats and Alexander Pechtold’s Democrats each gaining 3 seats on the week, to 21 seats and 17 seats respectively. Jesse Klaver’s Greens also had 17 seats.

Erdogan Hits Germany With Nazi Slur as Relations Deteriorate

by Brian Parkin and Tugce Ozsoy
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened Germany’s cancellation of public appearances by two of his ministers to Nazi practices, aggravating frictions that had already flared over Turkey’s human rights record.

Germany’s decision has “nothing to do with democracy,” Erdogan said at an event in Istanbul on Sunday, state news agency Anadolu reported. “Recent practices are no different from the Nazi ones of the past.” The German government press office didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment, but Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union parliamentary leader, Volker Kauder, responded to Erdogan’s Nazi references in Berlin Sunday evening.

“It’s an incredible and unacceptable turn of events that a leader of a NATO country talks this way about another NATO country, especially one who has considerable problems with the rule of law,” Kauder said in an ARD television interview.

Ties between Turkey and Germany, as well as the rest of the European Union, have been strained over Erdogan’s sweeping crackdown on opponents following the failed attempt to topple him in July. The Ankara government has jailed a German-Turkish reporter whom Erdogan described as a spy, and is pressing Germany to extradite fugitive Turkish military officers involved in the coup attempt.

New tensions emerged on Thursday after the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag to campaign for a planned April referendum to expand Erdogan’s powers, citing concerns of overcrowding. Bozdag canceled his trip and a scheduled meeting with his German counterpart.

Erdogan “is only thinking about pushing through his presidential system and his reaction shows that he’s worried he could lose” the referendum in Turkey, Kauder said.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci’s planned address on Sunday to a Turkish community in the western city of Cologne also was canceled by local authorities, who cited security concerns. Zeybekci traveled to Germany to attend another event.

Hammond to Set Aside $74 Billion for Brexit Risks, Times Says

by Svenja O'Donnell
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will use Wednesday’s budget to build up a 60 billion-pound ($74 billion) fund to offset any economic turbulence from Brexit, saying borrowing to make spending commitments before Britain formally leaves the EU in 2019 would be “reckless,” the Sunday Times reported.

Hammond, writing in the newspaper, warned Brexit may bring “unexpected” challenges, and stressed the need to maintain fiscal discipline, reaffirming his goal to balance the books in the next Parliament.

“While we are making steady progress in eliminating the deficit, there are still some voices calling for massive borrowing to fund huge spending sprees,” Hammond wrote. “That approach is not only confused, it’s reckless, unsustainable and unfair on our young people, who are left to deal with the consequences.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has set herself a deadline to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally starting Brexit talks, by the end of the month. While the economy has so far been resilient to the June referendum vote, higher inflation, slow wage growth and planned benefit cuts have led organizations such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies to warn inequality and poverty in Britain are set to worsen.

Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

Hilaire Belloc in "Epitaph on the politician" -

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 34.86 Moz, Eligible 153.47 Moz, Total 188.33 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, yet another red flag from China. China’s former  commerce minister is pessimistic on a coming trade war with America. Both lose, he thinks, and take out others as collateral damage.

China, U.S. Would Both Be ‘Wounded’ by Trade War, Chen Says

Bloomberg News
China’s former commerce minister said he worries a trade war with the U.S. is coming, warning it would hurt both countries and leave a trail of destruction across Asia.

“I’m seriously preparing for a trade war,” Chen Deming told reporters Monday on the sidelines of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing. “Trade volume between China and the U.S. is huge,” he said. “Both of us will be weakened and wounded by a trade war, and the global community will also be damaged.”

During his election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of stealing American jobs and intellectual property. While he has backed away from initial moves to link China’s trade activities with the broader policy that governs Taiwan relations, he has yet to set out specifics on how he might pressure Beijing.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has described China as the “most protectionist” major nation, said last week that the U.S. was preparing cases against China and other nations and would pursue “tougher enforcement” of existing trade rules.

 “I’m preparing for some solid counter measures to reduce or limit our damage if there’s a trade war with the U.S.,” Chen said. “I can’t tell you what the measures are. I can’t say I’m optimistic.”

Trade between the world’s two biggest economies supports around 2.6 million American jobs, according to the U.S.-China Business Council. While the U.S. has a goods-trade deficit with China, its exports of services to the country are growing rapidly. Between 2006 and 2014, they climbed more than 300 percent.
Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

George Orwell.

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?

Sustainable, High Energy Density Battery for Facilitating Widespread Use of Wind and Solar Power

Published on March 3, 2017 at 11:14 AM
A team of researchers at The City College of New York-based CUNY Energy Institute have developed a novel economical, rechargeable, high energy density battery that will soon facilitate the extensive use of wind and solar power. The battery is based on manganese dioxide (MnO2), a material that is abundant, safe, and non-toxic.

The researchers describe the battery’s uniqueness in a paper in the Nature Communications journal, stating that it is capable of realizing both high areal capacity and high cycle life.

In order to pack a number of battery electrodes together into a battery case, it is important to achieve high areal capacity. Essentially, this means that high areal capacity is required to construct a real, practical battery, as opposed to a tiny toy battery.

In the past, researchers have attained either high areal capacity or high cycle life, but have never achieved both together, the team emphasizes.

This unique innovation was possible by intercalating copper (Cu) into bismuth-modified δ-MnO2, which is called birnessite. In the 1980s, the latter was discovered by Ford Motor Company, but no one knew how to use it at high areal capacity. a research team led by Sanjoy Banerjee, renowned Professor and director of the Institute discovered the use at the CUNY Energy Institute.

The battery is projected for use at the scale of the power grid. This, in turn, would make it possible for wind and solar power to be used extensively.

An Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant from the Department of Energy financially supported this research.

CCNY research associate Gautam Yadav is the chief inventor and lead author of the articles. The other researchers were Joshua Gallaway, Damon Turney, Michael Nyce, Jinchao Huang, and Xia Wei.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February

DJIA: 20,812  +133 Up. NASDAQ:  5,825 +120 Up. SP500: 2,364 +115 Up.

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