Friday, 7 July 2017

Hamburg, Fight On!

Baltic Dry Index. 829 -18     Brent Crude 47.60

“What me worry?”

President Trump, with apologies to Mad Magazine.

Though the rioters kicked off earlier in the week, testing Hamburg’s water cannons and supplies of pepper spray, the main fight day event only kicks off later today. Yes, it’s finally the Great G-20 Pow Wow in Hamburg Germany. Greatly forecast to be an all against Donald Trump’s America contest, someone in America thought that this was just the perfect time to rub China’s nose in the dirt. Diplomacy under “the Donald” is certainly different.

Since love and fear can hardly coexist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

Fri Jul 7, 2017 | 6:00am BST

U.S. bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

Two U.S bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement on Friday, asserting the right to treat the region as international territory, despite China's territorial claims in the busy waterway.

Before their flight on Thursday, the two B-1Bs trained with Japanese jet fighters in the neighbouring East China Sea, the first time the two forces have ever conducted night-time drills.

That U.S. military activity came amid heightened tension in the region after North Korea claimed it has developed a long range missile that could threaten the United States.

The U.S. wants China to do more to pressure Pyongyang to halt its research into missiles and nuclear bombs.

Fri Jul 7, 2017 | 4:38am BST

Trump pledges to act 'very strongly' on North Korea missile threat

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to confront North Korea "very strongly" following its latest missile test and urged nations to show Pyongyang there would be consequences for its weapons programme.

North Korea on Tuesday test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest. North Korea said it could carry a large nuclear warhead.

Speaking at a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea was "a threat, and we will confront it very strongly".

He said the United States was considering "severe things" for North Korea, but that he would not draw a "red line" of the kind that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had drawn but not enforced on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Trump added: "They are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done."
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the missile test in itself did not bring the parties closer to a war and stressed that America's focus was on diplomatic efforts to pressure Pyongyang.

----The issue presents Trump, who took office in January, with perhaps his biggest foreign policy challenge and has put pressure on his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom the Republican president had pressed without success to rein in Pyongyang.

China called on Thursday for restraint and made clear it did not want to be targeted by U.S. sanctions.
Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said that while China would implement relevant U.N. resolutions, "the U.S. should not use their domestic laws as excuses to levy sanctions against Chinese financial institutions".

Late on Thursday, court filings made public disclosed that U.S. authorities were trying to seize millions of dollars from companies that deal with North Korea, including the country's military, from eight large international banks.

Russia objected on Thursday to U.N. Security Council condemnation of the North Korean rocket launch because the U.S.-drafted statement referred to it as an intercontinental ballistic missile, diplomats said.
Moscow has said it believes Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday, while China has not identified the rocket launched. North Korea said it tested an ICBM and the United States said that was likely true.

Fri Jul 7, 2017 | 4:05am BST

World leaders braced for tough talks with Trump on climate, trade

Leaders from the world's top economies will try to bridge deep differences with U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change and trade on Friday as a Group of 20 summit gets underway in Germany amid the threat of violent protests.

The meeting in the port city of Hamburg comes at a time of tectonic shifts in the global geo-political landscape, with Trump's "America First" policies pushing Europe and China closer together.

Trump will meet Russia's Vladimir Putin for the first time on Friday afternoon, an encounter that will be intensely scrutinised following allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the U.S. election to help Trump win.

The summit also brings together Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a time when Washington is ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea after it test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and threatening the Chinese with punitive trade measures.

Amid the big egos and intractable conflicts, the host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faces the daunting task of steering leaders towards a consensus on trade, climate and migration - all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago.

Facing her own election in two months, Merkel met with Trump for one hour at a hotel in Hamburg on Thursday evening to try to overcome differences that envoys have been unable to settle in weeks of intense talks, including a last minute trip to Washington by the chancellor's top economic adviser.

The two leaders shook hands and smiled for the cameras, showing none of the tension that hung over their first meeting in Washington in March and Trump's first trip to Europe in May, a visit that led the usually cautious Merkel to suggest the United States was no longer a reliable partner.

"There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won't just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation," Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told Reuters in an interview.

A senior German official involved in the talks said he expected negotiators would be working around the clock to try to break the deadlock before Saturday, the final day of the summit.

On climate, sources told Reuters that U.S. officials were pushing for a mention of fossil fuels as a viable alternative to cleaner energy sources and that the Europeans were resisting. In addition to the United States, Saudi Arabia was proving difficult to get on side.

On trade, the sources said that Washington was backtracking on language condemning protectionism that Trump agreed to at a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily in late May.

Hanging over the trade discussions is a threat by Washington to use a Cold War-era law to restrict steel imports based on national security concerns, a step that would hit the Chinese as well as partners in Europe.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggested on Thursday that the measures could trigger a transatlantic trade war.

In other China news, more red flags from the Great Ponzi Scheme aka China. When China blows, it’s all likely to get very ugly.

China could export a recession to everyone else, says ex-IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff

  • Former IMF economist Kenneth Rogoff said high debt levels in China were a big concern
  • China could export a recession, he said
July 6 2017
Soaring debt levels in China were a serious concern as the fallout of any crisis would hit everyone else, said a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist on Thursday.

"If there's a country in the world which is really going to affect everyone else and which is vulnerable, it's got to be China today," Kenneth Rogoff, economics professor at Harvard University, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.

"The whole region's dependent on China... so I certaintly think you could see (the export of) a recession out of China," added Rogoff, who was chief economist and research director at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003.

His comments came as the world second-largest economy grapples with growing pains, while trying to rein in high debt levels.

"They are trying to keep up their growth, (but) there are lot of factors that would constrain it, particularly as they move from being export-led to domestic-driven," he added.

In other non G-20 news, Vancouver BC, is planning to build the world’s tallest flammable tower. Good luck with that after the Grenfell Tower inferno in London. Who will buy the apartments contained in the world’s largest pyre? What will fire and contents insurance cost?  How long, as it ages, before skimped maintenance makes it unsafe? How safe are the other buildings around it if it catches alight? A very tempting target for terrorists, eh?

Design for world’s tallest timber tower revealed

Friday, June 23, 2017
The design of the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower, by Shigeru Ban Architects, has been revealed by Vancouver-based developer PortLiving. Named Terrace House, the project will be located in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood, adjacent to the landmark-listed Evergreen Building, designed by late architect Arthur Erickson.

Ban designed the residential tower as a tribute to its neighbour, picking up the architectural language of triangular shapes, natural materials, and an abundance of greenery.

“Shigeru Ban has tremendous respect for Arthur Erickson’s work. It was the opportunity to design a building next to one of Erickson’s masterpieces that initially drew him to this innovative project,” said Dean Maltz, Managing Partner at Shigeru Ban Architects Americas.

The tower will stand 19 storeys and 71 metres tall, one storey higher than the current world’s tallest timber building – Brock Commons on the UBC campus. This marks the first time Shigeru Ban Architects has undertaken a project in Canada.

PortLiving has assembled a world-class team to bring Ban’s vision to life, including the original landscape architect who worked on the neighbouring Evergreen Building, Cornelia Oberlander. Another prominent member of the project team is internationally renowned wood structural engineer, Hermann Blumer.

“We have brought together the best of the best – a team of true experts in creative collaboration, working together for the first time ever on a single project. The result is truly a once-in-a-lifetime project setting new standards in design and construction,” said Macario (Tobi) Reyes, founder and CEO of PortLiving. “Every detail has been considered right down to the specific foliage on the terraces.”

The goal of this innovative wood, glass, and concrete tower is to make a prominent gesture that demonstrates Vancouver’s commitment to forward-thinking sustainable design and advanced timber engineering and construction.

The project is expected to undergo a 22-month construction period after the existing structure is completely demolished.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Spencer Churchill.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

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

No crooks, or bent pols, or banksters today, just an alert to the possible arrival of food inflation later in the year. While the article is quite correct that the price of grains is relatively low in the final price of grain products, what caught my interest was that the USA spring-wheat crop is suffering its worst drought since 1988. 1988 was a great year for me, providing a fortune from soybeans and oats.  “Beans” went to the teens, and oats about doubled, which on ten to one leverage (“gearing” for the Brits,) made for handsome profits for those riding the trend, holding through shakeouts, and letting profits run. 

While this year will be different, carryover inventories are larger, and the world has more diversified producers of grain, this developing grain story warrants watching.
The northern U.S. has been plagued by dryness this year, and conditions for the domestic spring-wheat crop are their worst for this time since 1988.

Fear Not, Pasta Lovers: Your Meal Is Safe From Wheat Price Surge

By Jeff Wilson and Sydney Maki
6 July 2017, 00:00 GMT+1
The unsold wheat sitting inside Buzz Mattelin’s grain silos in Montana should offer some comfort to American noodle lovers.

Benchmark wheat futures in Chicago have jumped more than 37 percent this year -- off to their fastest start since 1979 -- after a plunge in North American planting was followed by drought that’s showing signs of damaging the harvest. That’s raised concern that it will cost more to make all sorts of flour-based foods like bread and pizza and cakes.

But U.S. stockpiles of the high-protein durum wheat used in pasta noodles including spaghetti and macaroni are the biggest in 11 years, left over from a harvest last season that was the largest since 2009. And Canadian inventories are up 51 percent. Mattelin, who farms about 900 acres of durum near Culbertson, Montana, says he’s still got 25 percent of the grain he collected last year, while his 2017 crop wilts from lack of moisture.

“National yields will be lower in the U.S., but we are starting with a strong supply left from last year’s big crops,” said Jeff Van Pevanage, the president and chief executive officer at Portland-based Columbia Grain International, a unit of Japanese trader Marubeni Corp. “The U.S. has a comfortable supply, and Canada can export more. A lot of mills already bought ahead for the third and fourth quarters.”

Even with higher prices, consumers probably won’t see much impact. Wheat accounts for only a small part of the cost to make most products -- often just a few cents for a loaf of bread.
----The Montana durum price rose 33 percent in June, the most for that month since before 1999, as drought intensified from the northern Great Plains to the southern Canadian Prairies, where most of the North American wheat crops are grown. Before 2017, wheat had tumbled for four straight years, so U.S. farmers planted 20 percent less this season. Canada cut acreage by 16 percent, sowing more canola than wheat for the first time ever. Spot prices in the Golden Triangle area of Montana reached $7 a bushel from $5.25 in May and April.
----Still, there are signs of trouble ahead for growers in North America, where the U.S. and Canada had been expected to be the world’s biggest exporters of wheat after Russia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last month forecast domestic wheat output will plunge 21 percent, the most since 1992, after farmers planted the fewest acres in a century. In Canada, production will fall 11 percent, the third decline in four seasons.

The northern U.S. has been plagued by dryness this year, and conditions for the domestic spring-wheat crop are their worst for this time since 1988. Much of North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota are in a moderate to extreme drought, according to most recent U.S. Drought Monitor data. Canada also is experiencing a hot, dry summer, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The price of spring wheat, the high-protein variety favored for hard rolls, bagels and yeast breads, has surged 52 percent this year and topped $8 a bushel this week for the first time since a devastating drought in 2012. The benchmark wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade is the highest in almost two years, closing Wednesday at $5.60 a bushel.

---- On Mattelin’s 2,000-acre farm in Montana, which produces spring wheat, malting barley, peas, soybeans and sugar beets, the durum crops are stunted, thin and turning a shade of blue. It’s the worst they’ve looked since 1988, after enduring 50-mile-per-hour winds the past month, the 64-year-old farmer said. With hot weather forecast over the next two weeks -- just as the plants are flowering to make grain -- conditions may get worse.

“I’ll be lucky to have 40 percent of normal yields this year,” Mattelin said.

Wheat, oat futures soar as commercial buyers scramble amid supply worries

Monday, 3 Jul 2017 | 4:21 PM ET
----The outlook for meaningful precipitation in the drought areas of the Dakotas and Montana is grim, and there are also concerns about unfavorable conditions for growing across the border in Canadian wheat provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan. The drought also is believed to have contributed to several lightning-related fires in the past month.

Last month, North Dakota's governor declared a drought emergency and the state's forestry agency warned that the extended dry conditions are making wildfire risk worse.

"You're going to have multiple days of 90- to 100-degree temperatures with no [precipitation] on an already really, really stressed crop," said Joe Lardy, research manager at CHS Hedging, a commodities broker in St. Paul, Minnesota. "And there's just not any good substitution for spring wheat, either."

The spring wheat crop, which was planted in April and May in the U.S., is particularly vulnerable in June and July during its pollination stage.

EU wheat crop suffers second downgrade in two days

By Jamie Day - Published 30/06/2017
The European Union wheat crop suffered its second downgrade in two days as the European Commission reduced its forecast below 140m tonnes, following a cut by the International Grains Council too.

The forecast for this year's EU barley harvest suffered a bigger downgrade, with the commission ditching expectations of production staying in line with last year's.

The commission cut its estimate for the EU soft wheat crop the world's biggest, by 2.42m tonnes to 138.86m tonnes.

While still higher than the 134.36m tonnes produced last year, when summer rains wrought heavy damage to France's crop, the commission's revised forecast was lower than that from many other commentators.
Indeed, the International Grains Council late on Thursday cut its forecast for the EU soft wheat harvest by 400,000 tonnes to 140.8m tonnes.

Earlier this month, market analyst Strategie Grains cut its EU wheat estimate by 1.1m tonnes to 141.6m tonnes, in line with a loss of yield potential in France, Germany and Spain.

Strategie Grains has since downgraded the French wheat crop by a further 1.6m tonnes to 35.6m tonnes, after the spell of hot dry weather in the third week of June.

Spain's wheat imports to soar 40%, as 'worst crop omens confirmed'

4th Jul 2017, by Mike Verdin
Soft wheat imports by Spain, the European Union's top buyer, will soar further than had been expected, by 43%, AgroInfomarket said, cutting again its forecast for the country's own harvest, thanks to dry weather.
The analysis group termed "inevitable" a greater reliance by Spain on imports of a range of grains in 2017-18 to ensure feed supplies required by the country's extensive livestock sector.
---- The import upgrade reflected a further downgrade of 800,000 tonnes to 4.15m tonnes – a 38% drop year on year - to the estimate for the country's own soft wheat production, after dry weather continued into last month.
The forecast is well below an estimate of 5.1m tonnes last week from the International Grains Council.
"With a good part of the winter cereal already collected... the worst omens are confirmed," AgroInfomarket said.

Australia wheat harvest to fall further than first thought
By Jamie Day - Published 03/07/2017

Australia's wheat harvest will, thanks to a lack of rain, fall more than has been expected this year, National Australia Bank said, issuing a production forecast well below those from many other commentators.
As well as crops losing yield potential from the dry weather, the conditions could also have reduced the area planted with the crop for 2017, the bank said.
National Australia Bank predicted a 23.3m-tonne wheat crop for the 2017-18 marketing year "based on rainfall to date and assumed average rainfall in major cropping areas for the rest of the season".
The extent of the decline from last year, when the harvest came in a record 35.1m tonnes, shows "just how severe the rainfall deficits were last month", as crops were attempting establish after sowing.
The NAB estimate is lower than figures from other global analysts - and would represent the weakest harvest in five years.
---- June rainfall in the wheat belt in Western Australia, the top wheat growing state, was only 23% of the long term average, according to official data.
The bank also flagged a forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology's of below-average rainfall over the next three months in the Western Australian wheat belt, besides most of Victoria and New South Wales and parts of South Australia.
"If these rainfall levels transpire, there is a potential downside for grain yields."
Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.

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?

Spinning around: A room temperature field-effect transistor using graphene's electron spin

Date: July 5, 2017

Source: Graphene Flagship

Summary: A graphene-based spin field-effect transistor has been used in an operating at room temperature. Using the spin of the electrons in graphene and other layered material heterostructures the researchers have produced working devices as a step towards integrating spintronic logic and memory devices.

Graphene Flagship researchers based at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden have published in Nature Communications a research paper showing a graphene-based spin field-effect transistor operating at room temperature. Using the spin of the electrons in graphene and other layered material heterostructures the researchers have produced working devices as a step towards integrating spintronic logic and memory devices.

Current semiconductor logic devices within our computers use the flow and control of electronic charge for information processing. Spintronic memory devices use the intrinsic properties of electron spin to store information. For future devices, researchers are searching for ways to integrate both information processing and storage in one device unit.

"Graphene is an excellent medium for spin transport at room temperature, due to its low atomic mass. However, an unsolved challenge was to control the spin current at ambient temperature" explains Saroj Dash, group leader and Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology.

The Graphene Flagship researchers Andre Dankert and Saroj Dash have now shown that it is possible to electrically manipulate the spin properties of graphene in a controlled manner at room temperature. This not only could open many new possibilities in spin logic operations but also integration with magnetic memory elements in a single device. With further developments, if one could produce a spin current without charge flow, this will require far less power and lead to more versatile devices. This is especially important as we move more and more toward hand held mobile computing.

"Controlling the flow of spin currents in a transistor-like manner is a decade old dream and the missing link towards all-electrical spin logic applications." says the lead author Andre Dankert from Chalmers University of Technology, "Researchers were working for almost ten years to understand the spin transport properties of various layered materials and how they can be tuned to achieve this goal. Our work is an important milestone in the field of spintronics."

Graphene has been shown to transport spin over long distances by several Flagship Groups. Combining graphene with another layered material where spin lasts much less time can produce a spin field-effect transistor like device.

Another weekend and a weekend of great G-20 uncertainty. Who will emerge winner and who will emerge loser? Will the G-20 decide to take on the problem of North Korea, or will China and Russia block a new Korean War starting? Will Germany finally get hegemony over the rump-EU? Will John Bull finally get free from the Berlin-Brussels pettifogging, one size fits all, sausage factory? None of the above? Time to enjoy another of God’s great northern hemisphere summer weekends. Time to leave all the G-20 luminaries to ponder over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

One certainty though, no matter what the good, the bad, and the ugly decide in Hamburg , Germany, on the Berlin Broadcasting Corporation, aka Project Fear, it was the Tories what done it, from Brexit to burning down Grenfell Tower, to blocking Comrade Corbyn from seizing power.

Of course, the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

Hermann Goering. Nuremberg. 1946.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished June

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

No comments:

Post a Comment