Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Crude Oil Soars.

Baltic Dry Index. 980 +03.     Brent Crude 50.61

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality - the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape [from the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR.]

With apologies to Walter Bagehot.

We open with crude oil prices surging yesterday. OPEC cuts, or rising war tensions, or simply an old fashioned bull raid in an otherwise bear market? Who knows, but it caught out the complacent oil shorts, and so probably has further to run. If rising on fear of a US attack on North Korea later in the autumn, this oil rally will turn a bear market back to a bull market, and set off a wider scramble to get long most industrial commodities. War fever is great for most commodities.

Here’s why oil just scored its biggest one-day rally of 2017

Published: July 25, 2017 5:14 p.m. ET

WTI oil settle 3.3% higher Tuesday

OPEC members can’t take all the credit for oil’s rally Tuesday, which saw prices score their biggest single-session gain of the year.

News of cuts to oil-and-gas exploration spending and signs of a potential slowdown in U.S. output also played roles in the bullish shift in sentiment.

On Tuesday, September West Texas Intermediate crude CLU7, +1.02%  rallied by $1.55, or 3.3%, to settle at $47.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, marking the strongest single-day climb since late last year, according to FactSet data.

Prices continued to climb in electronic trading late Tuesday, topping $48 a barrel, after data from an industry group reportedly showed a hefty drop in weekly supplies for U.S. crude.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said at a meeting in Russia that it would cut August exports to 6.6 million barrels a day—a million barrels less than a year earlier. Separately, Nigeria, which isn’t part of the production-cut agreement led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, also promised to limit its daily production to 1.8 million barrels.

Traders have taken these developments as bullish for prices, though many do point out that the Saudis normally lower exports at this time of year because of stronger domestic demand for oil, and Nigeria’s output would still have to rise from its current level of just over 1.6 million barrels a day before the West African nation would cap its output.

Still, at the meeting Monday, which include some major non-OPEC nations such as Russia, oil producers were upbeat.

“OPEC and non-OPEC members displayed optimism over the current production cut deal and seemed confident that the path they were treading would eventually rebalance the markets,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, in an note Tuesday.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said Monday the coalition’s compliance with the production deal was strong, while OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the rebalancing of oil-market supply and demand is “bound to accelerate in the second half,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

On Tuesday, United Arab Emirates followed Saudi Arabia’s lead, with its energy minister Mohamed al-Mazrouei announcing on Twitter that the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company will cut its crude exports by about 10% in September.

Commodity Rally Boosts Asian Raw-Material Stocks: Markets Wrap

By Adam Haigh
A broad-based rally in commodities from oil to copper underpinned gains in producers of raw materials in Asia, while bonds fell as the Federal Reserve prepares to conclude its policy meeting.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Energy Index jumped 1.1 percent, the biggest gain on the Asian benchmark. Equity markets in Japan and Australia followed the advance in U.S. and European stocks after earnings from Caterpillar Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. led to outsize gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Oil rose above $48 a barrel for the first time since early June, while copper extended gains. The Australian dollar declined after inflation data missed estimates.

More than 80 percent of S&P 500 companies have delivered earnings that have beaten forecasts so far this reporting period, helping to support optimism in the global economy and bringing down volatility levels to fresh record lows. Investors are looking for clues from the Fed on how it plans to reduce the balance sheet, with policy makers seen keeping interest rates on hold as the U.S. central bank meeting concludes on Wednesday.

In other news, as we await details later from the Federal Reserve meeting, the IMF may be heading to Beijing next decade, it’s business as normal in Brexit UK.

July 24, 2017 / 5:14 PM / 19 hours ago

IMF could be based in Beijing in a decade: Lagarde

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund could be based in Beijing in a decade if growth trends for China and other big emerging markets continue and these are reflected in the Fund's voting structure, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Monday.

Lagarde said at a Center for Global Development event in Washington that such a move was "a possibility" because the Fund will need to increase the representation of major emerging markets as their economies grow larger and more influential.

"Which might very well mean, that if we have this conversation in 10 years' time...we might not be sitting in Washington, D.C. We'll do it in our Beijing head office," Lagarde said.

She added that the IMF's bylaws call for the institution's head office to be located in the largest member economy.

Since the IMF was launched in 1945, that has always been the United States, which currently has an effective veto over IMF decisions with a 16.5 percent share of its board votes.

But economists estimate that China, with growth rates forecast above 6 percent, will likely overtake U.S. gross domestic product sometime over the next decade to become the world's largest economy in nominal terms. Some, including the IMF, have argued that China already contributes more to global growth on a purchasing power parity basis, which adjusts for differences in prices.

Below, yet more Project Fear Brexit news. I blame it on Brexit. Shame about all those lying, stealing, cheating banksters, about to get transferred to the Siberian cities of Europe. BMW likes GB.

The whole history of civilisation is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first and deadly afterwards.

Walter Bagehot.

July 26, 2017 / 12:02 AM / 5 hours ago

Investment in UK fintech tops pre-Brexit levels in first half of 2017

LONDON (Reuters) - Over half a billion dollars were poured into British financial technology companies in the first half of 2017, over a third more than the same period last year, trade body Innovate Finance said on Wednesday, in the latest sign the fast-growing sector is so far weathering Brexit.

UK-based fintech startups pulled in $564 million of venture capital investment in the first six months of the year, more than half of which came from outside Britain.

That was up 37 percent from the first half of 2016, and put Britain in third place globally for fintech investment, behind the United States and China.

Some had worried that Britain's vote last June to leave the European Union would see Britain lose its status as the main European hub for fintech - a sector that ranges from mobile payment apps to digital currencies like bitcoin, and one that the government regards as a key source of economic growth.

The latest figures paint a promising picture, with investment up almost 50 percent on the second half of last year in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

That still lags 2015, when a record $676 million was invested in the first half of the year and over $1.3 billion for the entire year. But from July 1 to July 23, the sector has already raised another $155 million.

July 25, 2017 / 11:20 AM / 23 minutes ago

UK factory output rises at fastest pace since 1995 - CBI

LONDON (Reuters) - British manufacturing output increased at its fastest rate since the mid-1990s over the past three months, despite orders slowing in July, an industry survey showed on Tuesday.

The Confederation of British Industry's quarterly balance for manufacturing rose to +31 in the three months to July, the highest reading since January 1995 and up from +22 in the three months to April.

In July alone, however, new orders slowed slightly more than expected, with the CBI's monthly balance slipping to +10 from +16 in June.

Although export orders slowed in the three months to July, manufacturers' optimism about exports over the coming three months rose the highest in 40 years.

"It's great to see the benefits from the decline in sterling for UK exporters feeding through," said Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI's chief economist.

BMW Chooses U.K. for Electric Mini Despite Brexit Risk

By Elisabeth Behrmann
25 July 2017, 13:40 GMT+1
BMW AG will build an electric version of the Mini compact car in the U.K., choosing its factory in Oxford, England, over alternatives in Germany and the Netherlands despite risks associated with Brexit.

The battery-powered Mini, which will be based on the underpinnings of the Countryman sport utility vehicle, will start production in 2019, BMW said in a statement on Tuesday. The model will be assembled at the plant until at least 2023, a person familiar with the decision said.

With the move, BMW joins tech companies in investing in Britain ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union, even as investment banks relocate some operations. Inc. is expanding the size of its new U.K. headquarters to support the growth of its Prime Video service in Europe. The world’s largest online retailer will occupy the entire 15 floors of a newly constructed tower on the edge of the City of London, after initially having planned to take only 11.

Setting the production site for the e-Mini has been particularly complex because of competing political and economic pressures amid government negotiations over Brexit. If a trade agreement proves unfavorable, components from Germany could face tariffs, making the project less viable. But BMW can ill afford to hold off on a decision until a final deal, and assigning the model to Mini’s main plant would ease tensions with U.K. officials, who have been lobbying heavily for the marquee project.

The relatively short time frame for the production run for the model -- four years, compared to the typical seven -- gives BMW the opportunity to shift the car elsewhere with the next revamp of the vehicle if necessary, the person said.

The battery-powered Mini variant marks a critical expansion of the Munich-based manufacturer’s electric-car lineup as it prepares for tougher EU environmental rules being phased in starting in 2020. The e-Mini will be BMW’s first all-electric model since the namesake brand’s i3 was introduced in 2013. The battery-powered urban car has struggled with tepid sales because of its odd design, relatively high price and limited range. 

In India news, the 2017 Indian monsoon brings flooding rather than drought. But that’s still a plus for the Indian economy.

Heavy Monsoon Rains Lash Western India, Killing 16

25 July 2017, 08:02 GMT+1 25 July 2017, 08:35 GMT+1
New Delhi (AP) -- At least 16 people have been killed this week in heavy monsoon rains that have lashed western India, including the desert state of Rajasthan, with more than 24,000 villagers evacuated to higher ground, officials said Tuesday.

Hundreds of rescuers using motor boats saved 789 people, including some pregnant women, from being swept away by the swirling floodwaters in six districts in Gujarat state, said Ranvijay Singh, a government official.

The rescuers found six bodies in flooded villages on Monday and Tuesday, raising the death toll in Gujarat to 70 since the start of the monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

Mount Abu, a popular hill station in Rajasthan, received 80 centimeters (32 inches) of rain on Monday, surpassing a 1992 record of 66 centimeters (26 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period, according to the state flood relief department.

At least 10 people have died in the past two days due to drowning and house collapses in Rajasthan, where air force helicopters evacuated 450 people from inundated areas in Jalore, Pali and Sirohi districts, the flood relief department said.

At least 60 people have died in northeastern Assam state due to flooding since the start of the monsoon season in June.

Another 14 people died in the nearby state of Arunachal Pradesh last month after a mudslide swept through a village.

Indian monsoons have strengthened over past 15 years, study shows

July 24, 2017
An MIT study published in Nature Climate Change finds that the Indian summer monsoons, which bring rainfall to the country each year between June and September, have strengthened in the last 15 years over north central India.

This heightened monsoon activity has reversed a 50-year drying period during which the monsoon season brought relatively little rain to northern and central India. Since 2002, the researchers have found, this drying trend has given way to a much wetter pattern, with stronger monsoons supplying much-needed rain, along with powerful, damaging floods, to the populous north central region of India.

A shift in India's land and sea temperatures may partially explain this increase in monsoon rainfall. The researchers note that starting in 2002, nearly the entire Indian subcontinent has experienced very strong warming, reaching between 0.1 and 1 degree Celsius per year. Meanwhile, a rise in temperatures over the Indian Ocean has slowed significantly.

Chien Wang, a senior research scientist in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, the Center for Global Change Science, and the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change, says this sharp gradient in temperatures—high over land, and low over surrounding waters—is a perfect recipe for whipping up stronger monsoons.

"Climatologically, India went through a sudden, drastic warming, while the Indian Ocean, which used to be warm, all of a sudden slowed its warming," Wang says. "This may have been from a combination of natural variability and anthropogenic influences, and we're still trying to get to the bottom of the physical processes that caused this reversal."

Wang's co-author is Qinjian Jin, a postdoc in the Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The Indian monsoon phenomenon is the longest recorded monsoon system in meteorology. Measurements of its rainfall date back to the late 18th century, when British colonists established the country's first weather observatories to record the seasonal phenomenon. Since then, the Indian government has set up several thousand rain gauges across the country to record precipitation levels during the monsoon season, which can bring little or no rain to some areas while deluging other parts of the country.


“If we went back on the gold standard and we adhered to the actual structure of the gold standard as it existed prior to 1913, we’d be fine. Remember that the period 1870 to 1913 was one of the most aggressive periods economically that we’ve had in the United States, and that was a golden period of the gold standard. I’m known as a gold bug and everyone laughs at me, but why do central banks own gold now?” 

Alan Greenspan. June 28, 2016.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, the growing multiple car crash in Germany. Is there any law, anywhere, German auto-makers won’t break in pursuit of the filthy lucre?

German car makers' shares crash on allegations of collusion

24 July 2017 • 11:20am
Shares in Germany’s biggest car manufacturers plunged in early trading as investors digested allegations about decades of collusion between Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

Investors dumped the shares after reports, which first appeared in the German press late on Friday afternoon, claiming the companies may have secretly worked together on technology, forming a cartel that could have led to the “dieselgate” emission scandal.

The allegations come just days after Daimler recalled more than 3m of its Mercedes Benz cars for work to lower their emissions. The week before, Audi - which is owned by Volkswagen - recalled 850,000 vehicles.

Over the weekend the European Commission said it was looking into the claims. If it does investigate and finds evidence of a cartel, the car makers could face multi-billion euro penalties.

German authorities are already investigating, with Spiegel magazine, which first reported the claims, saying that evidence of collusion was uncovered by chance when prosecutors raided VW offices looking into suspicions of a separate cartel involving steel.

The allegations have stirred up angry responses among the car makers' employees, with VW calling an extraordinary meeting for Wednesday where the claims are expected to top the agenda. Daimler staff are “are rightly horrified and angry” by the claims, according to a spokesman for the works council, adding that if they turn out to be true “there must obviously be consequences”.

Between them the three car giants have had about €10bn wiped off their value since the news first broke. The companies shares have all fallen by more than 5.5pc since the claims first emerged. 

According Spiegel, the car makers began working together in the 1990s in an attempt to stay ahead of foreign rivals, with engineers meeting  “regularly several times a year” to discuss technology.
BMW and Daimler have been dragged into the scandal that engulfed VW after it was discovered 11m of its cars worldwide were fitted with “defeat devices”.

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?

Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.

Chinese proverb.

Scientists design solar cell that captures nearly all energy of solar spectrum

Date: July 11, 2017

Source: George Washington University

Summary: Scientists have designed and constructed a prototype for a new solar cell that integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum.

A George Washington University researcher helped design and construct a prototype for a new solar cell that integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum.

The new design, which converts direct sunlight to electricity with 44.5 percent efficiency, has the potential to become the most efficient solar cell in the world.

The approach is different from the solar panels commonly seen on rooftops or in fields. The new device uses concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) panels that use lenses to concentrate sunlight onto tiny, micro-scale solar cells. Because of their small size -- less than one millimeter square -- solar cells that utilize more sophisticated materials can be developed cost effectively.

The study, "GaSb-based Solar Cells for Full Solar Spectrum Energy Harvesting," was published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

The stacked cell acts almost like a sieve for sunlight, with the specialized materials in each layer absorbing the energy of a specific set of wavelengths, said Matthew Lumb, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. By the time the light is funneled through the stack, just under half of the available energy has been converted into electricity. By comparison, the most common solar cell today converts only a quarter of the available energy into electricity.

"Around 99 percent of the power contained in direct sunlight reaching the surface of Earth falls between wavelengths of 250 nanometers and 2,500 nanometers, but conventional materials for high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells cannot capture this entire spectral range," Dr. Lumb said. "Our new device is able to unlock the energy stored in the long-wavelength photons, which are lost in conventional solar cells, and therefore provides a pathway to realizing the ultimate multi-junction solar cell."

Scientists have worked to develop more efficient solar cells for years, however this approach has two novel aspects. It uses a family of materials based on gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates, which are usually found in applications for infrared lasers and photodetectors. These GaSb-based solar cells are assembled into a stacked structure along with high efficiency solar cells grown on conventional substrates that capture shorter wavelength solar photons. In addition, the stacking procedure uses a technique known as transfer-printing, which enables three dimensional assembly of these tiny devices with a high degree of precision.

This particular solar cell is very expensive, but researchers believe it was important to show the upper limit of what is possible in terms of efficiency. Despite the current costs of the materials involved, the technique used to create the cells shows promise, researchers say. Eventually a similar product enabled by cost reductions from very high solar concentration levels and technology to recycle the expensive growth substrates could be brought to market.

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

Ronald Reagan

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished June

DJIA: 21,350 +196 Up. NASDAQ:  6,140 +235 Up. SP500: 2,423 +166 Up.

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