Thursday, 27 July 2017

Fed To Markets, Bubble On Like 1987.

Baltic Dry Index. 968 -12.     Brent Crude 50.85
"The borrowing has to stop. The market slide was a shot right between the eyes that had better wake us all up to simple fact that we can't keep romping forever on borrowed money." 

Lee Iacocca, Chrysler Corp Chairman, October 20, 1987

In a serious error that will come back to haunt the Fedster’s later, probably in the autumn’s notorious “crash season,” the Fed’s talking chair said “party on like it’s 1987 all over again, we ain’t never taking this punch bowl away.”  And the party goers promptly “partied on.” If it all goes badly wrong later in the year, don’t blame Trump or the politicians for the wreck. The Fedster’s just deliberately opted to get further behind the current curve. But just like the infamous October 19th, 1987, will a summer of boom turn into the most gigantic of busts?

"What do you expect us to do? Announce that all the Cabinet members will be buying IBM and General Motors tommorrow?

exasperated Administration official, New York Times, October 20, 1987

July 27, 2017 / 1:39 AM / 2 hours ago

Asia shares hit 2007 top, dollar skids on Fed inflation

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Stocks, bonds and commodities were all on a roll in Asia on Thursday, as bulls scented a softening in the Federal Reserve's confidence on inflation that promised to keep U.S. interest rates low for longer than some had expected.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed 0.9 percent to heights not seen since December 2007. It has gained over 5 percent so far this month.

South Korea .KS11 and Japan's Nikkei .N225 both added 0.2 percent, while Australia put on 0.3 percent. Stocks in the Philippines .PSI were at a one-year peak and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI added 0.3 percent to push above 27,000.

But worries about tighter regulations nudged China's blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 down 0.7 percent, though data showed a pick up in profit growth for industrial firms.

The latest rush for risk came after the Fed left U.S. rates unmoved as expected on Thursday, and tweaked its wording on inflation.

The market seized on the fact that the central bank noted that both overall and core inflation had declined, and it removed the qualifier "recently," perhaps suggesting concerns the slowdown might not be temporary.
The Fed also said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon," cementing expectations of a September start.

Dollar Drops on Fed's Inflation; Asia Stocks Rise: Markets Wrap

By Adam Haigh
The dollar sank and Treasuries climbed after the Federal Reserve signaled that inflation remains persistently below its target even as the economy picks up steam. Asian stocks rose to the highest in almost a decade on optimism about corporate earnings.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index traded at the lowest in more than a year, while the 10-year Treasury yield extended losses after the Fed held rates steady and indicated it would start unwinding its balance sheet “relatively soon.” The MSCI Asia Pacific Index reached the highest since December 2007 after earnings from Samsung Electronics Co. and Nintendo Co. beat analysts’ estimates, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high.

The Fed said inflation remains below the central bank’s 2 percent target even as near-term risks to the economic outlook appear balanced, signaling it intends to kick off the long-awaited reduction in its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in September and fueling speculation the central bank won’t rush to raise rates.

With the central bank’s announcement out of the way, investors can return to a corporate earnings season that’s seen more than 80 percent of S&P 500 companies deliver higher than-expected profit. In Asia, Samsung Electronics posted earnings that beat analysts’ estimates on the success of its new Galaxy S8 smartphones and surging prices of semiconductors, while Nintendo surprised investors with a big jump in quarterly profit . Thursday is shaping up as a busy day for Europe, with companies worth more than $3 trillion set to report their accounts.

Up next, Britain (and Europe’s) future or a massive monumental mistake? Only time will tell, but if the future really is electric transportation, (busses, cars, lorries,) where will all the electric power come from, and how will it be generated and distributed? How many new GB power station will be needed? Where will they be built and by whom? Can that be even achieved by 2040, and at what cost?  Will there be compensation for the owners of the existing hydrocarbon infrastructure?

Better yet, why not just ban all of Germany’s cheating “dirty, killer diesels” now, and make the German manufacturers pay out compensation to the duped owners and the cities suffering foul killer air?

July 26, 2017 / 8:44 AM / 43 minutes ago

Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, minister says

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars from 2040 as part of a plan to get them off the roads altogether 10 years later, environment minister Michael Gove said on Wednesday.

It follows a similar announcement earlier this month by the French government, while German cities including Stuttgart and Munich have also said they are considering banning some diesel vehicles.

The British government has been under pressure to take steps to reduce air pollution after losing legal cases brought by campaign groups, and in May set out proposals for a scrappage scheme to get rid of the most polluting vehicles.

Ahead of a June election, the governing Conservatives pledged to make "almost every car and van" zero-emission by 2050.

"Today we are confirming that that means there should be no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040," Gove told BBC Radio.

The step will likely accelerate the decline of diesel cars in Europe's second biggest market, where they are blamed for poor air quality.

The Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) emissions test cheating scandal has added to concerns about diesel.

But where will all the extra electricity needed for our EV future come from? Who will pay for all the extra infrastructure needed? How “green” will that electricity be? How safe is recharging EVs on a mass scale in rainy GB, or driving through floods?  If any EVs short circuit in rain or floods or crashes, who covers the liability for any death and damage?
Below, the UK’s National grid covers (some of) the beat.


Our energy insights

Forecourt thoughts: Mass fast charging of electric vehicles

If the government is to reach its 2050 decarbonisation target it is probable that by that date all cars will have to be electric as is outlined in our Future Energy Scenarios.

But if all cars were electric and they were to have the range of today’s petrol and diesel cars (internal combustion engines, ICE) they will need to have large capacity batteries installed. Residential charging is the norm now but is it going to be a viable solution for the future?

What about those without off -street parking? What about multiple EV households? Can our
domestic electricity supply take the extra demand?

There are a number of solutions to these challenges, one of which could be to establish a network of recharging stations which has the potential to benefit the consumer.

What is today’s situation?

Today a top of the range EV will travel about 300 miles on a single charge. For instance the
2018 Jaguar iPace will have a range of 310 miles. To cover this distance it requires a battery
capacity of 90 kWh. This, or similar, is likely to be a standard size battery in the future as prices drop and greater ranges are a ‘must have’.

If you assume you have an average size battery charger; it is a 3.5 kW device (equivalent to a fast boiling domestic kettle’s electricity usage). It would take about 19 hours to charge one of these batteries from being 25% full to 100% charged
This time could be halved to 10 hours with a 7 kW charger. This size of charger is already available and will soon become more prevalent than the 3.5 kW versions

"The market crash of 1987 caught most economists, scholars, and investment professionals by surprise. Nowhere in the classical, equilibrium-based view of the market so long considered inviolate was there anything that would predict or even describe the events of 1987. The failure of the existing theory left open the potential for competing theories."

Robert Hagstrom, Investing, the Last Liberal Art

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

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

Today, more nonsense from the Fedsters on gold, but today I’ll let “Mish,” a real expert debunk the Fed’s self-serving nonsense attack on gold.

"It's the nearest thing to a meltdown that I ever want to see. We were fortunate this occurred when the American economy is very stong. We are not operating in an environment of weakness."

John J. Phelan, Chairman of the NYSE, October 20, 1987

Bogus Fed Research Claim: “Gold Standard Didn’t Really Tame Inflation”

Posted by Mish | July 25, 2017 2:11:45
The Wall Street Journal reports Gold Standard Didn’t Really Tame Inflation, New Research Says.
The research was by St. Louis Fed economist Fernando Martin. Curiously, his study precisely shows that the gold standard did indeed tame inflation.

Let’s investigate Martin’s bogus claim and his peculiar logic in making it.

In his email to the WSJ, Martin stated: “Most of the price increase in the period starting with World War II is due to two specific episodes.”

WWII was the first episode and the “1970s inflation episode was unambiguously the result of Fed policy blunders.” Supposedly, “the lessons learned from the experience helped central bankers start a multi-decadelong effort to lower inflation to historically low levels.”

I cannot tell if the second set of quotes is the WSJ view or Martin’s.

Martin’s Peculiar Logic

Here is Martin’s peculiar logic in explaining why the gold standard does not work: “You can still have high inflation with a metallic standard” because history shows governments regularly go off such regimes.

Got that? The gold standard won’t tame inflation because … the government won’t stick with it!
This is what constitutes critical research and absurd posting of said research by the Wall Street Journal.

Policy Error by the Fed

The article cited a “policy error” by the Fed as the cause of the stagflation period.

Actually, the policy error was Nixon closing the gold window on August 15, 1971, ending convertibility of gold for dollars. Our balance of trade soon went haywire, as did the explosion of credit and debt.

The preceding three slides from my June 24, Venture Alliance group presentation.

Not Properly Counting Inflation

The Fed does not count asset bubbles including housing in its absurd measure of inflation.

Moreover, Martin conveniently overlooks the Great Recession and all of the damage it did while the Fed was allegedly providing “stable inflation”.

Economic Challenge to Keynesians

Of all the widely believed but patently false economic beliefs is the absurd notion that falling consumer prices are bad for the economy and something must be done about them.
More + killer charts.

Staying with Mish while he’s on a roll, below how an EU v USA trade war starts via ludicrous US sanctions on Russia.

Make America Safe: Put Congress on Permanent Recess (What the Sanction Bill is Really About)

Posted by Mish | July 25, 2017 8:02:37
House Speaker Paul Ryan just bragged the House passed “one of the most expansive sanction packages in history.” The bill places sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

The bill passed by a veto-proof margin 419-3. The three members of Congress who are on the right side of the debate (all Republicans) are Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Rep. Tom Massie of Kentucky and Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee.

The wheels are in motion. All that needs to happen is for the Senate to go along. That’s likely because the Senate passed its own measure.

The Evidence?

Can we please see the evidence on Russia?

ZeroHedge explains Meet The Awan Brothers – The (Not-Russian) IT Staff Who Allegedly Hacked Congress’ Computer Systems.

Even if there is evidence, unless the US is willing to stop meddling abroad, what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

What the Bill is Really About

This bill is not about Russian meddling. Euroiontelligence explains.

The bill is aimed specifically at the Nord Stream 2 project, with BP and Shell as the largest European partners, and which the US considers as detrimental to its interests.

We reported on the 97-3 vote in the US Senate in favour of new legislation to step up sanctions against Russia, by including third-country companies that trade with Russia – in other words, European companies. The EU was relatively relaxed about this because it was far less clear whether the House of Representatives would support the Senate version of the bill. And ultimately there was hope that President Donald Trump would veto it. Both of these expectations appeared to be wrong.

What concerns the European Commission in particular is the impact of the decision on the controversial Nord Stream 2 project, which plans to get Russian gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing the existing central and eastern European channels. The two companies most affected would be Shell and BP, two of the project’s main funders.

According to FAZ, the European Commission follows the developments with concern because US policy goes against EU interest, and because it divides the western alliance in its response to Russia.

The concern is particularly strong in Germany. Sigmar Gabriel is talking about extraterritorial sanctions that are illegal under international law.

Winand von Petersdorff notes in a comment in FAZ that the bill is consistent with an overarching goal of successive US administrations to block the Nord Stream 2 project. There are two reasons why the US is particularly focused on this pipeline: it weakens Poland and Ukraine, both of which have a strong lobby in Washington. And it benefits US exporters of liquefied gas. The draft legislation does not hide that part of the motivation is to create US jobs. Von Petersdorff notes that US legislators have rarely expressed with such clarity the view that they prioritize US commercial interests over its political partnership with the EU. There is still some residual hope that the final draft of the bill will be weaker than feared by the Europeans, but a presidential veto now seems unlikely.

EU to Hit Back

Politico reports Brussels Prepares to Bite Back at US Over Russia Sanctions.

The European Commission plans to hit back “within days” at the United States if possible new sanctions against Russia, which could be finalized by the end of the month, are agreed upon and leave European energy and other companies vulnerable to U.S. interference.

According to an internal note prepared for commissioners, and seen by POLITICO, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is particularly concerned about energy-related measures in the sanctions, which he believes could be used unfairly against European energy companies.

The biggest affected interest would be the mooted Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, itself a source of political controversy in the EU, though the Commission note says “the impact would in reality be much wider.” Germany and Austria lashed out at the proposed sanctions in June, accusing the U.S. of politicizing its economic interest in selling shipments of liquefied natural gas to Europe, which would compete with projects like Nord Stream 2 or the Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian.

"I knew on Monday it was time to get out. It's like you're in a $25 blackjack game in Las Vegas, and all of sudden you discover you're playing on a $500 table. The stakes are just too high."

An independent trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, October 22, 1987
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?

Chemical route towards electronic devices in graphene

 Date: July 25, 2017

Source: Aalto University

Summary: Essential electronic components, such as diodes and tunnel barriers, can be incorporated in single graphene wires (nanoribbons) with atomic precision. The goal is to create graphene-based electronic devices with extremely fast operational speeds.

Essential electronic components, such as diodes and tunnel barriers, can be incorporated in single graphene wires (nanoribbons) with atomic precision. The goal is to create graphene-based electronic devices with extremely fast operational speeds. The discovery was made in a collaboration between Aalto University and their colleagues at Utrecht University and TU Delft in the Netherlands. The work is published in Nature Communications.

The 'wonder material' graphene has many interesting characteristics, and researchers around the world are looking for new ways to utilise them. Graphene itself does not have the characteristics needed to switch electrical currents on and off and smart solutions must be found for this particular problem. "We can make graphene structures with atomic precision. By selecting certain precursor substances (molecules), we can code the structure of the electrical circuit with extreme accuracy," explains Peter Liljeroth from Aalto University, who conceived the research project together with Ingmar Swart from Utrecht University.

Seamless integration

The electronic properties of graphene can be controlled by synthesizing it into very narrow strips (graphene nanoribbons). Previous research has shown that the ribbon's electronic characteristics are dependent on its atomic width. A ribbon that is five atoms wide behaves similarly to a metallic wire with extremely good conduction characteristics, but adding two atoms makes the ribbon a semiconductor. "We are now able to seamlessly integrate five atom-wide ribbons with seven atom-wide ribbons. That gives you a metal-semiconductor junction, which is a basic building block of electronic components," according to Ingmar Swart.

Chemistry on a surface

The researchers produced their electronic graphene structures through a chemical reaction. They evaporated the precursor molecules onto a gold crystal, where they react in a very controlled way to yield new chemical compounds. "This is a different method from that currently used to produce electrical nanostructures, such as those on computer chips. For graphene, it is so important that the structure is precise at the atomic level and it is likely that the chemical route is the only effective method," Ingmar Swart concludes.

"The principal reason for the drop was that common stocks all over the world are overvalued. If the market had come down from 2,700 by thirty-seconds of a point, or sixteenths, over a period of time, you wouldn't be writing about this. The real question is why it went so far so fast."

Nicholas F. Brady, head of the presidential task force into the crash, October 24, 1987

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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