Friday, 21 April 2017

Solar’s 10 Terawatts. A Critical Weekend.

Baltic Dry Index. 1243 -35     Brent Crude 53.02

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

"Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights."

Alan Greenspan

For more on 10 Terawatts of global solar or bust, scroll down to Technology Update. No, I doubt it can be done either, not without a massive improvement next decade in battery technology, and in solar panel conversion efficiency. But it’s President Trump’s Energy Department’s goal, so who knows.

Back on planet earth, on the right side of the Atlantic, which is to say the wrong side, the east, occupied by the EUSSR, the French voters of all people, are being handed matches this weekend to begin flicking at the barrel of open gunpowder aka the EU. If they end up with a run-off on May 7 between a far left neo-communist anti-EU candidate, and a far right anti-EU candidate, Ka-boom. Brexit will look like a stroll in the park in comparison to France exiting the eurozone. Fiat Euros anyone?

Here’s how France’s hotly contested election could spark market turmoil

Published: Apr 20, 2017 4:04 a.m. ET
Get ready for crunchtime in France.
With only a few days to go before Sunday’s first-round presidential election, the polls are showing a nail-bitingly close race between four candidates, setting the scene for what could be a shake-up in European financial markets next week. Two anti-European Union candidates have a serious chance of making it into the final runoff round on May 7, raising fears this could be the beginning of the end for the eurozone.
“This remains an open contest and the result could yet serve up a far bigger blow for the European project than we saw with Brexit,” said Tony Cross, market analyst for TopTradr, in a note.
Usually a French general election doesn’t present a make-it or break-it moment for the entire eurozone, but this time its different. After a race full of surprises, a surge in the polls by far-left, euroskeptic Jean-Luc Melenchon has again reminded investors of the sweeping antiestablishment sentiment grabbing Europe and the U.S. at the moment.

Far-right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen is also doing well in the polls and currently looks like she’ll get one of the two spots in the runoff. The big question is who she’ll face in the second round.

Will it be centrist Emmanuel Macron, who pollsters and analysts see as the favorite to emerge as president in May? Will it be scandal-ridden, dark horse candidate François Fillon who’s enjoyed an 11th hour rebound in support? Or will it be Melenchon, who has promised to rework the treaties that set the framework for the EU and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the bloc.
“Investors (and French voters) are getting worried about a ‘nightmare’ scenario in which Le Pen faces Mélenchon on 7 May, leaving them with a hard choice between two anti-globalization, anti-EU and pro-Russia candidates,” strategists at Citigroup said in a note.
“The French election presents ‘volcano’ risk, i.e. strong moves are likely across financial markets but risks are very much two-way,” they added.

It’s anyone’s guess how the latest moslem atrocity in Paris will affect Sunday’s coming election.

Thu Apr 20, 2017 | 11:51pm EDT

Islamic State claims Paris shooting, one policeman killed

A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State militant group.
President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the "cowardly killing" on the Champs Elysees boulevard, in which the assailant was himself shot dead by police, was an act of terrorism.

The wide avenue that leads away from the Arc de Triomphe had been crowded with Parisians and tourists enjoying a spring evening, but police quickly cleared the area, which remained empty well into the night of all but heavily armed security forces and police vehicles.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the man had been identified, but investigators were still assessing if he had accomplices.

A police arrest warrant issued earlier on Thursday, which was seen by Reuters after the attack, warned of a dangerous individual who had come into France by train from Belgium on Thursday. It was unclear if that man was the attacker or linked to the shooting.

Officers searched the home of the dead attacker in a town east of Paris, a police source said.
"The sense of duty of our policemen tonight averted a massacre ... they prevented a bloodbath on the Champs Elysees," Interior Minister Matthias Fekl told reporters.

"A little after 9 PM a vehicle stopped alongside a police car which was parked. Immediately a man got out and fired on the police vehicle, mortally wounding a police officer," Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks mostly perpetrated by young men who grew up in France and Belgium and that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.

In Brexit news, John Bull is exiting the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR just in the nick of time, no matter who the French voters elect on Sunday. John Bull’s thoroughbred will be racing against the EU’s hippopotamus in the 21st century, if the unreformed EU can survive at all.

Made in Asia for Asia: How the rise of its middle class is remaking the world economy

Peter Wong says Asia, with its growing middle class hungry for consumption, will lead the new world order of the 21st century, bolstered by the RCEP free trade plan and the belt and road initiative
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 10:00am UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 6:46pm

The emergence of an East-East trade and investment corridor, boosted by the significant and largely unexpected economic and political events of 2016, is expected to fundamentally alter the present world order.

Throughout history, Asia has accounted for the largest share of the global gross domestic product: the “Great Divergence”, during which countries in the West outstripped the rest of the world economically and technologically, was an anomaly. In the 20th century, the world’s economic centre of gravity began to shift back to the East – as first Japan, then the four Asian “tigers”, and ­finally China, India and Southeast Asia underwent rapid industrialisation. But the health of the global economy is still dependent on the appetite of consumers in the West.

Asia, led by China, set to play a bigger role in the evolution of global trade

The present world order is underpinned by an East-West corridor: goods are made in the East and sold in the West. But with globalisation under attack, the world is evolving into big regional trading blocs. The result is less global trade but vastly increased regional trade.

If the 20th century belonged to America, then the 21st century will surely belong to Asia. In the years to come, an East-East corridor will form the spine of a new world order – goods will continue to be made in the East, but an increasingly large portion will also be sold in the East.

By 2025, Asia will become the world’s leading trade region, with much of the growth coming from intra-regional commerce. At the moment, trade within Asia is worth slightly more than inter-regional trade, but it is forecast that, by 2020, intra-Asian trade will be worth about twice as much as Asia’s trade with the rest of the world.

In other Asian news, will China’s stock market woes sink what’s left of Trumpmania. The current US recovery from the Lehman crash is already long in the tooth, and built of the sands of massive debt. This is probably a critical weekend to be out of risk, safely parked in cash and gold.

China Stocks Head for 2017's Worst Week Amid Crackdown Concerns

Bloomberg News
Chinese shares headed for their biggest weekly loss of 2017, with increased regulatory scrutiny and a crackdown on leveraged trading sapping investor sentiment.

The Shanghai Composite Index was set for a 2.2 percent tumble for the week, the most since mid-December, with mainland gauges of energy and materials companies leading the decline. Stocks that rose after China’s announcement of a new economic zone in Xiongan were among the worst performers. Hesteel Co., China Fortune Land Development Co. and Beijing Capital Co. plunged at least 18% for the week.

China’s securities regulator has stepped up criticism of what it called disruptive trading behavior, with chief Liu Shiyu saying at the weekend the nation’s bourses should punish irregularities “without mercy.” The A-share gauge has been the world’s worst-performing equity market over the past five days, with trust companies said to have been ordered to cut exposure to the property sector and the Shanghai securities regulator demanding a crackdown on illegal futures trading.

“The downward trend remains intact as regulators will likely maintain their strict stance over financial scrutiny," said Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at Shanshan Finance Co. "The market can hardly avoid the impact from government policies.”

We close for the day with the war view from China and why they think that President Trump is a paper tiger on North Korea. After a period of internal muddle, China seems to have come down in support of its treaty obligations to North Korea, and is now very publicly warning President Trump and the American War Party to keep off the grass. A message probably privately delivered before President Trump’s “armada” sailed off to Australia rather than the Korean peninsula.

Reportedly, China has moved 150,000 troops close to their border with North Korea, allegedly for humanitarian reasons. Reportedly Russia has also moved an unspecified number of troops to their much smaller border with North Korea.

But did President Trump or anyone in Washington get China’s message?

Five reasons why the US cannot attack North Korea like it did Syria

Treaties, uncertainties over Pyongyang’s nuclear readiness, and the sheer scale of armaments on both sides maintain a delicate truce on the Korean peninsula
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 April, 2017, 2:31pm UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 April, 2017, 5:18pm
US President Donald Trump’s sudden strike on Syria and Washington’s doubling down on aggressive military posturing has led to wide speculation that Pyongyang could be the next target for unilateral action.

Even though the administration has indicated that military option is among the options under review, there are many signs that North Korea is not Syria – as military action against the former carries far greater risks.

1. Why can’t the US attack North Korea like it did Syria?
The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war. Fighting halted on July 27, 1953 under an armistice signed between Washington and Beijing. If the US initiated an attack, it would break the treaty endorsed by the United Nations.

2. What are the most important differences between North Korea and Syria?
While Syria is believed to have pursued nuclear weapons, North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities have matured in recent years. Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests and claims it has successfully “miniaturised” nuclear warheads – though such claims have never been independently verified. It experienced a series of embarrassing failures while launching the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile last year. 
Despite that, military experts believe that North Korea learnt from those setbacks and might even be able to develop a nuclear-tipped, intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States within the coming four years, during Trump’s presidency.

3. Why must China stand by North Korea if it is attacked by the US?
China is North Korea’s ally. In 1961, the two countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, in which both parties are obliged to offer immediate military and other assistance to the other in the case of an outside attack. This treaty has been prolonged twice, and is valid until 2021.

4. Why does China insist on a peaceful resolution and oppose military option floated by the US?
China is concerned that its border provinces would be inundated with North Korean refugees if the Kim regime collapsed. From a geopolitical point of view, Beijing views North Korea as a buffer zone from the potential encroachment by powers are aligned with the US, including Japan and South Korea.

"With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people."

F. A. von Hayek

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 30.53 Moz, Eligible 163.77 Moz, Total 194.30 Moz.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
As the global finance ministers gather in coven in Washington, District of Crooks, for the IMF and World Bank Spring meetings, the IMF has gone all wobbly on President Trump and Trumponomics.
"Were we to be directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread."

Thomas Jefferson

Thu Apr 20, 2017 | 3:33am EDT

Worries over Trump policies cloud start of IMF, World Bank meetings

World finance leaders are gathering on U.S. President Donald Trump's home turf on Thursday to try to nudge his still-evolving policies away from protectionism and show broad support for open trade and global integration.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings bring the two multilateral institutions' 189 members face-to-face with Trump's "America First" agenda for the first time, just two blocks from the White House.
"These meetings will all be about Trump and the implications of his policies for the international agenda," said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board official who is now with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian think-tank.
He added that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is aiming to "socialize" the new administration to the IMF's agenda and influence its policy choices.
The IMF in particular has sounded warnings against Trump's plans to shrink U.S. trade deficits with potential measures to restrict imports, arguing in its latest economic forecasts that protectionist policies would crimp global growth that is starting to gain traction.
Trump administration officials are now pushing back against such warnings by arguing that other countries are more protectionist than the United States.
Trump launched the week by signing an executive order to review "Buy American" public procurement rules that have long offered some exemptions under free trade agreements, and by lashing out at Canadian dairy restrictions.
In addition to warnings on trade, the IMF on Wednesday unveiled two studies pointing out dangers from fiscal proposals that Trump is considering. These included warnings that his tax reform ideas could fuel financial risk-taking and raise public debt enough to hurt growth.
"Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort."

Antony C. Sutton
Technology 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?

Trump Admin. Outlines Global Solar Plan: 10 Terawatts By 2030

April 19th, 2017 by Tina Casey
President Trump talks a great game when it comes to US coal miners and coal jobs but he sure is walking the renewables walk. The latest item in the flood of renewable energy news pouring from the Energy Department since Inauguration Day is a new study that charts a do-able path for global energy producers to harvest 5-10 terawatts of solar power by 2030.

That’s quite a big feat considering that the current scope of global solar generation is still measured in gigawatts, but then again President Trump is known to be a huge fan of the bigly.

For those of you keeping score at home, a terawatt is 1,000 gigawatts. A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts or one billion watts.

So yes, 10 terawatts is a heckuva lot of electricity. It’s not enough to fulfill global demand, which hung around 15 terawatts as of 2015, but wind power and other renewables could fill in the rest.

By way of comparison, last fall the International Energy Agency issued a report that pegged global renewables at only 153 gigawatts in 2015, including wind and other sources as well as solar.

IEA has some nice things to say about the growth rate of renewable sources, but the agency is still looking at only 200 gigawatts by 2020 — and again, that includes a healthy dose of wind and other renewables.

So, how does the Trump Administration expect everybody to make up the difference?

That’s where something called GASERI comes in. GASERI is the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutions, consisting of the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, and Japan’s Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies.

Okay, so there are only three members, but those three pack a huge punch. Here’s the CleanTechnica take from 2012, when GASERI was launched:

Forget your Avengers, your X-Men and your other super-groups (yes, we’re talking about you, Queens of the Stone Age), if there is any planet saving to be done from now on it will be accomplished by the new Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutions.

As articulated by NREL, the organization’s mission is to “accelerate progress toward shared solar research and development goals as well as to ensure sustainable long-term use of solar energy.”
GASERI met right around this time last year to tease out some of the obstacles facing solar deployment.

Here’s the takeaway:
…To provide a major contribution to global climate goals, total installations on the order of 20 TW will be needed by 2040. This will require stable PV R&D support worldwide and systemic investments targeted at reducing production costs, increasing efficiency, and improving reliability.
An increasingly flexible electricity grid, increased availability of low-cost energy storage and demand-side management also will play key roles in enabling accelerated PV deployment…

Did you catch that thing about “stable PV R&D support?” US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has taken his share of hits on social issues, but in his brief tenure so far the Energy Department has been firing on all pistons with renewable energy news including foundational research on solar cells, renewable hydrogen, and energy storage among many other topics.
Another weekend and what a weekend!  Will Admiral Trump’s missing “armada” suddenly show up and start blitzing North Korea? Will Sunday’s French Presidential election sink the eurozone and the EUSSR. Will the assembled horde of global finance ministers in Washington, see no evil, speak no evil, and evil, to misquote someone I forget, finally finish off the fiat money financial demolition job Lehman started, all the way back in 2008? They can resist anything except temptation, as we all found out with the previous French IMF Managing Director. Whatever happened to him? Wasn’t he supposed to become a French socialist President? Couldn’t have done any worse for France than Hollande.

Nothing but boring parochial local politics in UK media for the next six weeks, as if anyone really cares. Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy Spring fast moving towards summer.

“It is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing one dollar in any of those [CDS] transactions.”
Joseph J. Cassano, a former A.I.G. executive, August 2007, on Credit Default Swaps that wiped out A.I.G in 2008.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: 20,663  +131 Up. NASDAQ:  5,912 +165 Up. SP500: 2,363 +135 Up.

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