Friday, 7 April 2017

Trump v Xi – Take That!

Baltic Dry Index. 1215 -08       Brent Crude 55.59

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

'Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.'

Samuel Johnson. 1758.

Day two of the summit between the world’s largest debtor and the world’s second largest creditor, at President Trump’s winter home in ritzy Palm Beach Florida. In an intended or unintended, message of contempt for China and President Xi, while the two were sipping tea and coffee, and discussing pleasantries, President Trump ordered a nearly 60 cruise missile strike on an airbase in Syria that’s allegedly, according to America, storing and arming Syrian bombs with Sarin nerve gas. A reckless and dangerous way of disposing of it if true.

My guess is this was an intended message of contempt, aimed at sending a message to the people of China. President Xi is so unimportant, this summit so unequal, we are the masters of the universe! The not so subtle message to Xi, sort out North Korea fast or we will militarily. And don’t for a second think that your submarine pens in Hainan Island or your bases in the South China Sea won’t face the same fate if you step out of line.

The official American line, spun on the BBC this morning by an ex-US Colonel formerly part of Obama’s intelligence team, the Syrian’s had bombed an Al-Nusra weapons depot using Sarin bombs rather than high explosives.

Al-Nusra, a rebranded Al Qaeeda affiliate in Syria, is armed and indirectly financed by the USA. The Syrian/Russians seem to have hit an American nerve.

The official Syrian line, supported by Russia, Syria bombed with high explosives the Al-Nusra weapons dump, setting off a Sarin release Al-Nusra had stored there. The innuendo being that America had supplied the Sarin via Turkey, with or without the Turks knowledge, purpose unknown.  

The truth? Who knows.

A testy second summit session is to resume today, although famously USSR-American summits have been cancelled in the past over less provocative incidents.  In Beijing and Moscow much analysis will be going on over what message was intended and what was just a Trumpianism. But either way, China just lost face.

U.S. airstrike against Syria rattles stock-market futures

Published: Apr 6, 2017 11:28 p.m. ET

Futures for the Dow fell as much as 100 points, implying a firmly lower open for stocks on Friday

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell late Thursday, as the U.S. Navy launched some 60 cruise missiles against targets in Syria.

Dow futures YMM7, -0.27% were off more than 100 points, or 0.5%, at 20,502, while those for the S&P 500 index ESM7, -0.29% were down 0.5% at 2,342. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 NQM7, -0.26% were down about 0.6% at 5,393.

The airstrike using Tomahawk cruise missiles comes after President Donald Trump condemned Tuesday’s apparent chemical attack in Syria, which killed scores of civilians. “What Assad did is terrible,” Trump said on Thursday as he traveled to Florida on Air Force One. “What happened in Syria is truly one of the egregious crimes and it shouldn’t have happened.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no place in that country’s future.
The U.S. airstrike marks the first large-scale military operation launched by Trump, who took the oath of office Jan. 20. It also comes at a sensitive time for the GOP leader, who is hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at his resort in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., on Thursday and Friday. The summit is being closely watched by investors for signs that the heads of the world’s largest economies can ease tensions, over trade and North Korea, which has heightened geopolitical tensions with a series of missile tests.

Russia Bashes Trump as Syria Gas Attack Hits Detente Hopes

by Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov , and Stepan Kravchenko
Russia accused President Donald Trump of rushing to judgement after an apparent poison-gas attack in Syria prompted the harshest U.S. criticism of the Kremlin under the new administration, further denting hopes of a breakthrough in relations.

“We would welcome a more considered approach,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “This is a dangerous and heinous crime but it’s hasty to put labels on it.”

The U.S. blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the attack in the northwestern province of Idlib that killed more than 70 people, and criticized Russia for backing Assad in pointing the finger at rebels opposed to his rule. Trump said the “heinous actions by the Assad regime” had changed his thinking on the civil war and went “beyond red lines.”

Until recently, Syria had seemed the one area where Putin and Trump were certain to find common ground. Trump during his election campaign had pledged to cooperate with Russia in fighting terrorism and top officials have made clear that the U.S. no longer seeks regime change in Syria.

But the U.S. military is reluctant to join forces with Russia in Syria and the latest events in the war-torn country place the former Cold War rivals as far apart as they were during Barack Obama’s presidency, even if Trump is likely to avoid direct conflict.

“Some people believed in a miracle,” Sergei Karaganov, a former Putin foreign policy adviser, said of the hope for a new page in U.S.-Russia relations under Trump. “It didn’t happen.”

The fallout from this development will play out in the months ahead. So far, though it seems to be bad for stocks, and good for gold and crude oil.

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 29.18 Moz, Eligible 160.61 Moz, Total 189.79 Moz.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR again. Is Europe up to the job at hand, let alone Brexit? Progress, when it happens at all in the dying EUSSR, happens at a pace that make the glaciers look like 100 yard sprinters.
"If the EU cannot resolve a small problem the size of Greece, what is the point of Europe?"

Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission, former Italy Prime Minister.

05.04.2017 : 13:27

Tsipras wants emergency EU summit if no deal is reached Friday 

Greece’s left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, on Wednesday called for an emergency summit of EU leaders this month if no agreement is reached on the country’s bailout progress at Friday’s Eurogroup meeting in Malta.

“I think the initiative will have to be taken at the higher level to have a positive outcome before Easter, in any case within April, even if this means calling a euro area summit,” Tsipras said after a meeting with EU Council President Donald Tusk in Athens.

“But this endless negotiation must come to an end,” he added.

In his comments, Tusk said there was “no political alternative” to Friday's Eurogroup resulting in a technical deal between Greece and its lenders.

“Our finance ministers should do the work to achieve an agreement. This is the only positive result for Greece and for the whole community,” the former Polish prime minister said.

“We are close to concluding this demanding procedure,” he added.

The bailout talks have been delayed for months, freezing the payout of a rescue loan installment and hurting chances of a Greek economic recovery after years of recession and turmoil.

EU finance ministers to ponder Europe's bad-loan problem

Updated / Wednesday, 5 Apr 2017 12:23
European Union finance ministers will try on Friday to find a way to deal with bad loans at European banks that drain their profits and capital and obstruct their financing of the economy. 
The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn in Europe increased the non-performing loans (NPLs) of EU banks.
Non-performing loans now amount to €1 trillion, or 5.4% of all bank loans.
The data come from a paper prepared for the ministers' discussions on Friday and Saturday at informal talks to be held in Valletta by the Maltese presidency of the EU.
The paper said it is difficult to compare levels of bad loans in banks elsewhere because no common definition exists, but they amounted to 1.7% of total loans in the US and 1.6% in Japan in 2015. 
"The pace of working out the NPLs is still relatively slow, and if action continues at that level it will take quite a bit of time," one EU official said. 
Officials said banks could survive with a 5.4% bad loan ratio, but that the average masked huge differences between countries, ranging from 1% to 47%. 

Wed Apr 5, 2017 | 2:07am EDT

Bank lobby warns of market ructions if Brexit talks stumble

Europe's banking lobby warned on Wednesday of the dangers to wholesale banking and financial stability if negotiations over Britain's exit from the European Union end in deadlock.

"Financial stability and market efficiency must be safeguarded during the Brexit implementation process and thereafter," the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) Chief Executive Simon Lewis said in a statement.

In a report released on Wednesday, AFME highlighted conflicting issues faced by the key actors in Brexit talks which it said could cause disruptions, including Britain wanting to secure the best possible access to the bloc, while not wishing to remain part of the single market.

AFME is also concerned about the European Commission having responsibility for EU financial markets policy, while also being the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, as well as Europe's capitals competing to attract financial firms from London, while also wanting to limit any additional systemic risk.

"With such a disparate set of actors and incentives, it will be a major challenge to implement Brexit in an orderly way in relation to wholesale banking," AFME said.

There are also potential problems ahead for banks in London that want to continue operating from the British capital after Brexit under an EU system known as "equivalence", whereby the EU grants market access to non-EU firms that comply with rules that are as robust as those in the bloc.

AFME said the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), would play a crucial role in advising the EU on whether a non-EU firm could be deemed to be equivalent.

ESMA's resources, however, will become more stretched once the UK's budget contribution ends, meaning that obtaining equivalence for about 2,000 firms may not be fast enough to avoid market disruption, AFME added.

“We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

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?

After yesterday’s famine, today a feast.

Thu Apr 6, 2017 | 2:11am EDT

Ford to launch two green cars, electrify 70 percent of vehicles in China

Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Thursday said it plans to launch a new plug-in hybrid car in China next year and will bring a fully electric sport-utility vehicle to China in the next five years, amid sweeping plans to electrify its vehicle lineup.

The U.S. automaker said in a statement that it plans for 70 percent of Ford brand vehicles sold in China to be conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids or full battery electric by 2025.

Researchers 'iron out' graphene's wrinkles

New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers

Date: April 3, 2017

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary:  Engineers have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.
From an electron's point of view, graphene must be a hair-raising thrill ride. For years, scientists have observed that electrons can blitz through graphene at velocities approaching the speed of light, far faster than they can travel through silicon and other semiconducting materials.
Graphene, therefore, has been touted as a promising successor to silicon, with the potential to enable faster, more efficient electronic and photonic devices.
But manufacturing pristine graphene -- a single, perfectly flat, ultrathin sheet of carbon atoms, precisely aligned and linked together like chickenwire -- is extremely difficult. Conventional fabrication processes often generate wrinkles, which can derail an electron's bullet-train journey, significantly limiting graphene's electrical performance.
Now engineers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that their techniques successfully produce wafer-scale, "single-domain" graphene -- single layers of graphene that are uniform in both atomic arrangement and electronic performance.
"For graphene to play as a main semiconductor material for industry, it has to be single-domain, so that if you make millions of devices on it, the performance of the devices is the same in any location," says Jeehwan Kim, the Class of 1947 Career Development Assistant Professor in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. "Now we can really produce single-domain graphene at wafer scale."

DARPA’s sub-scale VTOL X-Plane prototype completes flight testing

Rich Haridy April 5, 2017
After several years of development DARPA has successfully completed flight-testing of one of the most novel, and odd-looking, aircraft designs we've seen in some time – the sub-scale electric X-Plane.

After calling for an innovative new approach to an aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, DARPA awarded its Phase 2 contract to Aurora Flight Sciences in early 2016. Aurora's design includes 24 electric ducted fans, 18 on the main wings and six on the smaller front canards. Both the main wings and the canards are designed to tilt upwards for vertical takeoff before rotating to the horizontal for regular flight.
The sub-scale demonstrator successfully tested several new innovations including lateral and rearward flight controls, wing and canard tilt mechanisms and sustained hover. The prototype was also used to trial a number of other technologies DARPA has been developing, such as 3D-printed plastics for flight structures and aerodynamic surfaces.
"The aircraft exhibited exceptional flight characteristics, with no loss in altitude even as it transitioned from vertical to horizontal flight," reported Ashish Bagai, DARPA's program manager.
Following the success of these flight tests, DARPA is moving towards developing a full-scale aircraft that will bear the official designation of XV-24A. A few improvements are slated to be incorporated into the full-scale model, most notably a hybrid turboshaft engine to drive the electric generators powering the fan units, as opposed to simple batteries used in the demonstrator model.

Another weekend and spring, in my part of almost free southeast England, is coming into full bloom. Time to head into the woods and fields to enjoy the start of bluebell season, adding to the blaze of colour from the brilliant white blackthorn hedges and trees, the vivid green of the newly emerging leaves on the trees, and the arrival of highly colourful butterflies and moths. Time to put aside the cares of the world, the uncivil war in America, the dying EUSSR, the forever Bush and Blair war across the Levant. Time to enjoy God’s free gift of Spring to all in the northern hemisphere, for those willing to take the time to see it. Have a great weekend everyone. Peak bluebells near me is still about 5 to 10 days away.

...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions remain under EUSSR rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Declaration of Westminster June 24th 2016, with apologies to the Declaration of Arbroath April 6th 1320

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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