Friday, 3 March 2017

Fed’s Talking Chair Sings Today!

Baltic Dry Index. 904 +33   Brent Crude 55.26

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

I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said.

Alan Greenspan.
It is Fed day in America, with the Federal Reserve’s Chairwoman, set to reveal if the Fed will hike its key interest rate mid-March. Roughly about the time Dutch voters go to the polls in the first of the key European elections this year.
Below, Asia turns cautious even as Julius Baer Singapore talks up its book.
“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”
Alan Greenspan.

Dollar Steady, Asian Stocks Retreat After Rally: Markets Wrap

by Garfield Clinton Reynolds and Eric Lam
2 March 2017, 22:21 GMT 3 March 2017, 05:48 GMT
Asian equity investors stepped back from Thursday’s gains, following U.S. shares lower as Janet Yellen prepares to weigh in on the path for interest rates. The dollar was flat after its longest winning streak since May.

Equities in Japan declined after three days of gains, even as a gauge of consumer prices rose for the first time since December 2015. Weaker metals prices weighed on Australian shares, while South Korean stocks tumbled on reports that China will curb tourism to the country. The yen strengthened, after four days of losses amid increasing confidence that the Federal Reserve will raise rates this month. The 10-year Treasury yield was flat after climbing for the past four days and gold edged lower.

The dollar’s recent advance and declines in gold and Treasuries lined up with increasing odds for tighter monetary policy, which got a boost as Lael Brainard became the latest Fed official to support the case for tightening “soon.” Rallies in equities and commodities predicated on stronger economic growth failed to keep pace even as reports showed a pickup in European inflation and a tighter U.S. jobs market. The rise in the Bank of Japan’s preferred measure of consumer prices offered some hope that inflation will begin inching toward Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s 2 percent target this year.

“The markets are in the short-term overextended,” said Mark Matthews, Singapore-based head of Asia research at Bank of Julius Baer. “Longer term, the reason why rates are going up is because the economy is getting better, and that’s good for stocks.”

Upcoming events that traders are looking out for:
  • Yellen gives an address on the economic outlook on Friday in Chicago after her deputy Stanley Fischer speaks in New York.
  • The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body of more than 2,000 political elites, business executives and others, opens its annual session in Beijing on March 3.
Fri Mar 3, 2017 | 1:16am EST

Japan consumer prices rise for first time in year but BOJ goal still distant

Japan's core consumer prices rose for the first time in over a year in January thanks to a pickup in energy costs, but a slump in household spending showed why economic growth and inflation have lagged the more ambitious goals set out by policymakers.

As rising protectionism in the United States poses risks for the world's third-largest economy, as well as the rest of export-reliant Asia, there is a danger companies will shy away from boosting wages seen as crucial for durable growth.

That will also undermine the Bank of Japan's efforts to accelerate inflation to its still-distant 2 percent target, analysts say.

Government data showed on Friday the core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.1 percent in January from a year ago, posting the first increase since December 2015.

It compared with a median market forecast for a flat growth and followed a 0.2 percent drop in December.
Many analysts expect core consumer prices to head toward 1 percent later this year. But that would still be half-way to the BOJ's goal, which was put into perspective by separate data showing household spending slipped in January even as the job market tightened further.
In wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR news, it’s all about spin and manipulation to thwart rising populism. If all else fails blame Putin’s Russia. Who knew Russia is the genius that pulled all the strings behind the curtain, and not the CIA, the deep state, and MI6? Meanwhile bizarrely, the nutty socialist European Parliament voted to make Americans Russians. Why would anyone want to remain in a prison run like this?
"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.

Rutte Says Netherlands Will Be Bulwark Against Populism’s Spread

by Anne Van Der Schoot and Corina Ruhe
2 March 2017, 15:28 GMT
  • The Dutch will vote in a national election on March 15
  • Prime Minister Rutte tied in latest poll with Geert Wilders
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on voters to reject Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party at the country’s election in less than two weeks and to put a halt to the spread of populism that’s taken hold in several western democracies.

“The Netherlands now has the chance, on March 15, to stop the dominoes that keep falling in the U.K. and in the U.S., and that might fall in Germany, France and Italy,” Rutte said in an interview on Thursday on the news program BNR Nieuwsradio. “We will stop this new trend.”

Wilders has created a “poisonous atmosphere,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the country’s finance minister and a member of the Labor Party, said in an interview with BNR Nieuwsradio. He’s made “an atmosphere in which an entire population is characterized as a problem, an atmosphere where freedom of religion is taken away from a segment of the population,” Dijsselbloem said.

A fracturing of support for Dutch political parties could require a coalition of as many as six separate groups to reach a 76-seat majority in the 150-person lower house of parliament. That means even if the Freedom Party walks away with the most seats, it could be prevented from having a governing role.

To Le Pen, ‘Question Is Not If to Leave Euro, but When and How’

by Gregory Viscusi
2 March 2017, 18:07 GMT
  • Far-right candidate calls for return to national currency
  • France’s Le Pen hails Trump’s policies and job creation
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen reiterated her promise to take the country out of the euro and said her brand of economic nationalism is part of a broader trend that’s sweeping the world.  

In a speech in Paris laying out her economic policies, the far-right National Front candidate said France has been “pillaged by the neo-liberal global economic order” and must learn from what’s going on in Washington, Beijing and London.

“Look at the jobs that Donald Trump has brought back to America,” Le Pen said. “From Donald Trump in the U.S. to Xi Jinping in China to Theresa May in Britain, economic patriotism is on the march. The European Union is last one left to still belief in the illusion of a borderless world.”

She said the euro had led to a hollowing out of industry in France, Italy and Spain, and it was time for a “friendly separation.” She also said the country’s sovereignty is at risk because 65 percent of French government debt is held outside the country.

"The euro is a corpse that still moves," Le Pen said. “It’s not a question of if we’ll leave the euro but when.”
Le Pen pledged to put the central bank under government control, nationalize toll roads, and make the public sector buy French goods. “My job isn’t to create jobs in China,” she said. She reiterated her call for a 35 percent import tax on products made by French companies overseas. She also said she’d force multinational companies to pay more taxes in France.

Polls show that Le Pen will win the most votes in the April 23 first round of the French election, but lose heavily to independent Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 run-off.

Wed Mar 1, 2017 | 12:02pm EST

France's Fillon denounces probe, fights on for presidency

Conservative Francois Fillon promised on Wednesday to fight "to the end" in France's presidential election despite a deepening financial scandal, but his campaign suffered new blows as a top aide resigned and a party backing him suspended its support.

The former prime minister revealed that investigating magistrates had summoned him to appear before them on March 15 to be placed under formal investigation over allegations that he paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros of public money to do very little work.

In a defiant speech at his party headquarters, he repeated his denials of wrongdoing, complained of judicial and media bias amounting to a "political assassination", and appealed directly to the French people for their support.

"It's not just me being assassinated. It's the presidential election," he said, flanked by senior party members, after a morning of speculation he was about to quit the race.

"I put myself before the French people because it is their suffrage, and not a biased procedure, that should decide who should be the president of the republic of France.

"I won't give in, I won't surrender, I won't pull out, I'll fight to the end."

Financial markets are closely watching the turbulent French campaign, in which far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is seeking to repeat the kind of anti-establishment shock that saw Britons vote to quit the European Union last year and Donald Trump elected as U.S. president.

Thu Mar 2, 2017 | 3:46pm EST

Euro lawmakers press EU to impose visas on U.S. citizens

The European Parliament called on the EU executive on Thursday to force Americans to apply for visas before visiting Europe this summer, stepping up pressure to resolve a long-running transatlantic dispute on the issue.

The European Commission stressed it was pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the row, leaving it unlikely that it would act on the vote by lawmakers setting a May deadline to impose visas - a move that could hurt Europe's tourism sector.

Washington refuses to grant visa-free access to people from four east European states and Cyprus, while those from the other 23 member states can enter using the U.S. visa waiver program. EU rules call for equal treatment for all Union citizens.

Commission officials noted a planned EU-U.S. ministerial meeting on June 15 to try and resolve the issue, which has been running since 2014. The EU executive already allowed a deadline for a solution to pass nearly a year ago, without taking action.

"We will report on further progress made before the end of June and continue to work closely with both the European Parliament and the Council," a Commission spokeswoman said, referring to the council which groups the governments of the 28 EU member states.

A Commission official said contacts are ongoing with the U.S. administration "to push for full visa reciprocity," but fell short of saying that immediate action would be taken.

Former Communist countries Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, have been calling on Brussels to end U.S. discrimination against their citizens.

“under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth... The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit... In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation”

Alan Greenspan

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 33.72 Moz, Eligible 152.98 Moz, Total 186.70 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal hammers the Obama-Clintonista, seditionist, fake news anti-Trump agenda.
An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense... that gold and economic freedom are inseparable.

Alan Greenspan

What’s Behind the Putin Fantasies

Donald Trump never found much of a seat on the U.S.-Russia business express.

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. Feb. 28, 2017 7:22 p.m. ET
Several Trump campaign advisers had business ties to Russia, so that must be nefarious, right?

Except that until the Crimea sanctions in 2014, it was U.S. policy to encourage American business in Russia—and had been since 1991. That a handful of advisers did business in Russia is amazing only because it’s so few. In July 2009, President Obama himself visited Moscow with a passel of U.S. execs in tow. Joe Biden was in Moscow a few months later partly for business-promotion purposes.

Go back and read the press. In 1995, Al Gore, presiding over the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, helped enable Exxon’s Sakhalin Island venture. Sixteen years later, the Obama White House helped enable its Russian Arctic venture. These two deals define almost the entirety of Rex Tillerson’s CV in Russia.

But wasn’t Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s sometime campaign adviser, an adviser to Viktor Yanukovych, Vladimir Putin’s favorite in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election? At the time, Mr. Yanukovych was promoting an economic tie-up with the European Union, a near-and-dear U.S. interest. Mr. Manafort may not have been working for the Obama administration’s preferred Ukrainian pol, but he was following in the footsteps of previous U.S. political aides, including some dispatched by Bill Clinton to save Boris Yeltsin’s re-election in 1996 (enabling Mr. Yeltsin eventually to hand power to Mr. Putin to protect his entourage’s stolen wealth).

Only later, when Mr. Putin yanked Mr. Yanukovych’s chain, did the events unfold that now have Democrats eager to discern nefarious patterns.

What about Mr. Trump’s ties to “shadowy” Russia banker Carter Page? A hilarious and lengthy article at finds Mr. Page an elusive wannabe who held a minor job in Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office.
What about Roger Stone, the make-believe secret shaman of American politics? Mr. Stone wants you to believe he’s connected to the KGB.

In the Trump-as-mole screeds, the biggest wonder is the non-mention of Goldman Sachs. After all, Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin both worked there when Goldman, on the eve of Russia’s 1998 default, arranged a convenient bond sale to tide the Yeltsin government over. Then again, another Goldman alum, Robert Rubin, was running the Clinton Treasury at the time, and pitched in with an IMF bailout for Russia.

We come to the sorry truth: So much hopeful money that poured into Russia only helped fund the emergence of the Putin kleptocracy. Over the course of three administrations, when the U.S. goal was to promote business ties with Russia, Mr. Trump was notable mainly for failing to find a seat on the train. His Russian-backed property and branding deals all came a cropper. He did manage to hold his Miss Universe contest in Moscow in 2013. Unlike Formula One, however, he hasn’t been back since. At least, like all high-end New York real-estate developers, he couldn’t fail to profit from selling overpriced condos to Russian emigres.

“Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and actions as president bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Mr. Putin during his first years consolidating power,” writes veteran foreign correspondent Susan B. Glasser in a New York Times op-ed last week. “The similarities are striking enough that they should not be easily dismissed.”

The similarities are indeed striking. Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump both have arms and legs. When it comes to distinguishing noise from signal, however, two men could not be less alike.

Russia was a country in chaos. Its president was a drunk seeking a successor to protect his daughter and friends from corruption investigations. Mr. Putin, a former KGB agent and head of the secret police, ran one of the few, after a fashion, functioning institutions in Russia, albeit arm in arm with organized crime.

Mr. Trump’s rise couldn’t be more different. He’s a reality TV star and brand manager. To an unusual degree, he’s a president who lacks even a party. Meanwhile, the courts, the bureaucracy, the media, the political parties all continue to function as they always have.

By all means, investigate Russia’s propaganda efforts directed toward influencing the U.S. election, as long as we don’t kid ourselves unduly that something novel and unprecedented took place. As for Mr. Trump, even to a broken-down Russian intelligence he simply would not have been that interesting a person until very recently. 
Now, somehow, he’s got the power of the U.S. president if he can figure out how to use it (a big if).

His increased military spending plus his support for U.S. energy, ironically, would amount to harsher sanctions on Russia than any Mr. Obama imposed. In a second irony, his rise has half the U.S. political firmament, Democrats plus a smattering of Never Trump Republicans, willing to see the Putin regime for what it is. Thinking clearly about Russia might finally become a fashion in Washington. It won’t happen, though, if the only goal is to turn Mr. Putin into a partisan club against the Trump administration.

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 hydronium-ion battery presents opportunity for more sustainable energy storage

Date: February 20, 2017

Source: Oregon State University

Summary: A new type of battery shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage.It's the world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier.
A new type of battery developed by scientists at Oregon State University shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage.
It's the world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier.
The new battery provides an additional option for researchers, particularly in the area of stationary storage.
Stationary storage refers to batteries in a permanent location that store grid power -- including power generated from alternative energy sources such as wind turbines or solar cells -- for use on a standby or emergency basis.
Hydronium, also known as H3O+, is a positively charged ion produced when a proton is added to a water molecule. Researchers in the OSU College of Science have demonstrated that hydronium ions can be reversibly stored in an electrode material consisting of perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydridem, or PTCDA.
This material is an organic, crystalline, molecular solid. The battery, created in the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State, uses dilute sulfuric acid as the electrolyte.
Graduate student Xingfeng Wang was the first author on the study, which has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a publication of the German Chemical Society.
"This may provide a paradigm-shifting opportunity for more sustainable batteries," said Xiulei Ji, assistant professor of chemistry at OSU and the corresponding author on the research. "It doesn't use lithium or sodium or potassium to carry the charge, and just uses acid as the electrolyte. There's a huge natural abundance of acid so it's highly renewable and sustainable."
Ji points out that until now, cations -- ions with a positive charge -- that have been used in batteries have been alkali metal, alkaline earth metals or aluminum.
"No nonmetal cations were being considered seriously for batteries," he said.
The study observed a big dilation of the PTCDA lattice structure during intercalation -- the process of its receiving ions between the layers of its structure. That meant the electrode was being charged, and the PTCDA structure expanded, by hydronium ions, rather than extremely tiny protons, which are already used in some batteries.
"Organic solids are not typically contemplated as crystalline electrode materials, but many are very crystalline, arranged in a very ordered structure," Ji said. "This PTCDA material has a lot of internal space between its molecule constituents so it provides an opportunity for storing big ions and good capacity."
The hydronium ions also migrate through the electrode structure with comparatively low "friction," which translates to high power.
"It's not going to power electric cars," Ji said. "But it does provide an opportunity for battery researchers to go in a new direction as they look for new alternatives for energy storage, particularly for stationary grid storage."

Another weekend and another weekend of tweets from you know who. But will they be Presidential tweets in keeping with this week’s big speech, or candidate Trump tweets in keeping with his inauguration address. At this point only “The Donald” knows, and I’m not even sure he knows himself. Have a great weekend everyone. If in America, try to stay away from sedition.

“Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace, thus demanding that men survive by means of virtue, not vices. It is this superlatively moral system that the welfare statists propose to improve upon by means of preventative law, snooping bureaucrats, and the chronic goad of fear.”

Alan Greenspan.  Obsolete, inoperative, since August 15, 1971.

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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