Friday, 4 August 2017

Betting on Black or Red. Making A Killing.

Baltic Dry Index. 1023 +30   Brent Crude 51.87

“One of the things that Chavez did when he came to power, he didn’t kill all the oligarchs, he allowed them to live, to carry on… a lot of them are using their power and control…to make it difficult and to undermine Maduro.”

Former Labour Mayor of London, Red Ken Livingstone. Comrade Corbyn ally.

We open today with Asia nervously pondering on recent developments, and awaiting later today, the US employment figures. Will they be good enough to force the Fed’s hand on raising its interest rate? Will they be bad, and kill any interest rate hike? What’s a poor stock or bond gambler to do?

But first this fire news from Dubai, and the incredibly aptly named Torch Tower. Thankfully no deaths or casualties, as reported. The difference with London, mandatory evacuation, and sprinklers, though it’s not clear if the building has an external sprinkler system. The fatally flawed advice of the London Fire Brigade deserves its own urgent independent enquiry. Why the cover up?

August 4, 2017 / 12:06 AM

Blaze sweeps through Dubai skyscraper for second time

DUBAI (Reuters) - A fire ripped through one of the world's tallest residential towers in Dubai on Friday, the latest in a series of fires in tall structures in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf's tourism and business hub, over the past three years.

Flames shot up the sides of the Torch tower in the second blaze to hit the high-rise since 2015, forcing hundreds of occupants to flee as burning debris showered down the sides of the 1,105 foot (337 metre)-tall, 79-storey structure.
"We were sleeping and we woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming. We ran down the stairs and it 
took us about 10 minutes to reach from the 50th floor," a resident who gave his name as George told Reuters.

"It was very bad. The fire was very strong at that time, about 1 a.m. Then it started calming down over the next two hours," he added.

The tower was evacuated, no injuries were reported, and there was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze.

But the incident may revive questions about the safety of materials used on the exteriors of tall buildings across the wealthy Gulf region and beyond.

An investigation by the management of the Torch after its 2015 fire found that most of the damage was to the cladding, exterior panelling used for decoration or insulation.

Dubai rolls out new safety system for 40,000 buildings

The Dubai Life Safety Dashboard will allow the authority, other government departments, building owners and even residents to view the safety status of buildings in real-time via smart devices.

June 8, 2015

DUBAI // More than 40,000 buildings have been equipped with Dubai Civil Defence’s new system to monitor safety. Plans are in place to increase that number to 70,000 within three years. 

The Dubai Life Safety Dashboard will allow the authority, other government departments, building owners and even residents to view the safety status of buildings in real time on smart devices. At the moment, requests for information are sent to the operations room in what is often a time-consuming process.

“Every building owner in Dubai will be provided with their individual building dashboard that displays the health and safety status of their buildings,” said Maj Gen Rashid Al Matroushi, the director of DCD.

“The dashboard will also enable other government departments to facilitate innovative services to building owners and occupants in Dubai.”

Buildings will be linked to two main operations rooms, in Jebel Ali and DCD headquarters.
The dashboards display information such as whether the water systems, or fire sprinkler systems, are functioning correctly.

Gen Al Matroushi said there were more than 200,000 structures in Dubai and the focus would be on installing the systems first in hospitals, schools, high-rise buildings, warehouses and factories.


Now back to Asia’s stock market gamblers guessing whether to bet on Black or Red.

August 4, 2017 / 1:50 AM

Asia stocks edge higher, dollar languishes on U.S. politics, mixed data

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian stocks inched up on Friday after a technology-led drop on Wall Street, while U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar were pressured by news Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued grand jury subpoenas in his investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent, although gains were kept in check by the reluctance of many investors to stake out fresh positions ahead of U.S. job data later in the global day.

The index was poised to climb 0.3 percent for the week, taking its gains for far this year to nearly 24 percent.

Japan's Nikkei dropped 0.3 percent on a stronger yen, and looked set to end the week little changed.
South Korea's KOSPI, which closed at a 3-1/2-week low on Thursday, recovered 0.3 percent. It is down 0.4 percent this week.

China's blue-chip CSI 300 lost 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent.

Overnight, the S&P and Nasdaq closed 0.2 percent and 0.35 percent lower respectively, with the declines led by technology shares.

But the Dow managed to post slight gains, staying above the 22,000 level breached on Wednesday.

----"Politics come to the forefront once again with the latest developments in the Trump-Russia probe," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore, but added that "equity markets continued with a semblance of calm awaiting Friday’s U.S. jobs report".

Investors will scrutinize July's employment report for clues on whether it could influence the timing of the Federal Reserve's plans to tighten monetary policy.

Non-farm payrolls were expected to have increased by 183,000 jobs last month after surging by 222,000 in June, Reuters survey of economists found. The unemployment rate is seen falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent.

Up next, how professional gambling, aka money management, is supposed to work. You win some, you lose some. You don’t go round to the central banksters for a bailout, unless of course, you’re a crony bankster friend of the central bank. Which is why it’s no big loss if thousands of London’s gambling banksters, are forced after Brexit to ply their dangerous, rent-seeking, trade across the English Channel. Next time the financial system blows up, and it will, it will be continental taxpayers on the hook for bailing them out, not the long suffering UK tax payer. A big Brexit win for old fashioned capitalism.

The Oil Trader Known as ‘God’ Is Closing Down His Main Hedge Fund

By Nishant Kumar, Javier Blas, and Suzy Waite
3 August 2017, 16:06 GMT+1
Andy Hall, the oil trader sometimes known in markets as “God,” is closing down his main hedge fund after big losses in the first half of the year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The capitulation of one of the best-known figures in the commodities industry comes after muted oil prices wrong-footed traders from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to BP Plc’s in-house trading unit. Hall’s flagship Astenbeck Master Commodities Fund II lost almost 30 percent through June, a separate person with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

“I’m shocked,” said Danilo Onorino, a portfolio manager at Dogma Capital SA in Lugano, Switzerland. “This is the end of an era. He’s one of the top oil traders ever.”

Hall shot to fame during the global financial crisis when Citigroup Inc. revealed that, in a single year, he pocketed $100 million trading oil for the U.S. bank. His career stretches back to the 1970s and includes stints at BP and legendary trading house Phibro Energy Inc., where he was chief executive officer.

“Andy Hall is one of the grandees of oil trading,” said Jorge Montepeque, a senior vice president of trading at Italian energy major Eni SpA.

A representative of Astenbeck Capital Management LLC declined to comment. The Southport, Connecticut-based company managed $1.4 billion at the end of last year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Hall is the latest high-profile commodity hedge-fund manager to succumb to the industry’s low volatility and lack of trending markets. At least 10 asset managers in natural resources have closed since 2012, including Clive Capital LLP and Centaurus Energy LP. Goldman Sachs reported its worst-ever result trading commodities in the second quarter.

With Comrade Corbyn’s New Communist Labour Party leading in the UK polls, not too hard to do given the shambles of Mrs. May’s Tory government, the non EUSSR Swiss Banks are rushing to help the UK’s wealthy prepare for the worst. And with ex-Labour Mayor of London, Livingstone calling for “oligarchs” to be rounded up and executed, “Venezuela’s mistake,” plus others in the New Communist Labour Party calling for a one hundred percent inheritance tax, who can blame them.  Qatar as a bolt hole, despite regional tensions, is looking better too, for those not wanting to head for faraway, America, Canada, or Aussie-New Zealand. As a dual citizen of Ireland, Cork or Galway, look quite attractive too.

“Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke.

August 3, 2017 / 1:27 PM / 15 minutes ago

Swiss bank Julius Baer opens UK offices to seize on Brexit nerves

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss private Julius Baer (BAER.S) is opening three new UK offices as it looks to bank for wealthy residents spooked by uncertainty over Britain's planned exit from the European Union.
The offices will be in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow while Julius Baer will also establish a small team in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Zurich-based bank said in a statement on Thursday. Julius Baer had a UK presence only in London so far.

A person familiar with the plans said Julius Baer would likely staff the offices with around 30 employees.

Speaking last week, Chief Executive Boris Collardi had highlighted Britain as "one of the biggest opportunities for Julius Baer" because of the wider uncertainties created by Brexit.

"The typical high-net-worth individual in the UK is feeling very uncertain about the future in terms of assets, in terms of currency risk, in terms of diversification and in terms of how they should be positioning themselves in this market," he said.

It bucks a trend set by many investment banks planning to reduce their UK presence in anticipation of Brexit, a process which could cost banks their ability to serve the EU from London - commonly referred to as passporting rights.

However, passporting rights are of less significance in private banking, where stability is one of the main priorities.

Britain is one of the most attractive markets for private banks with the world's fourth-largest population of millionaire households behind the United Sates, China and Japan, according to Boston Consulting Group.

Two-thirds of Britain's wealth is held by individuals outside of London and the southeast, said Julius Baer, Switzerland's third-biggest private bank behind UBS (UBSG.S) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S).

UBS has UK offices in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds. Credit Suisse serves the UK market through its London office.

Game-Changing Qatar Law to Grant Expats Permanent Residency

By Alaa Shahine and Nafeesa Syeed
2 August 2017, 21:54 GMT+1
Qatar, facing a Saudi-led boycott, approved landmark legislation with the potential to ultimately transform Gulf societies by granting permanent residency to some of the foreigners who dominate its population.

The elevated status would be the first in the Gulf region, where the privileges of nationals have been zealously guarded and expatriates’ access to public services and property rights are sharply curtailed. Under the new law, permanent residents will be treated more like Qatari nationals and will benefit from elements of the state’s generous welfare system, including education and health-care services, the official Qatar News Agency reported late Wednesday.

They will also be given priority, after locals, for military and civilian public jobs and would be allowed to own property and run certain commercial activities without a local partner, QNA reported. Those eligible for the card include children of Qatari women married to foreigners, people with special talents “needed by the state,” and others who have extended notable services to the country, it said. Citizenship, however, will remain off-limits to foreigners.

The action “is symbolically significant, and will make some expatriates in Qatar feel like they now have a more substantial stake in the future of the country,” which could give them an incentive to stay and make additional investments in the country, said Allison Wood, a Middle East and North Africa analyst with the Control Risks strategy firm in Dubai.

It also meshes with Qatar’s public relations strategy after Saudi Arabia and three allies severed their diplomatic and transport links with the country in June, “which has generally been to portray itself as a victim,” Wood added. “The new law provides an opportunity to put Qatar in the headlines as a more open, forward-thinking state when compared to its neighbors, which do not have similar residency programs.”

Livingstone backs Maduro and blames US meddling for Venezuela collapse

August 1 2017, 12:01am, The Times
Ken Livingstone has backed President Maduro and accused an “establishment elite” of playing a part in Venezuela’s economic decline.

The former Labour London mayor, 72, highlighted claims of meddling by the owners of domestic companies and the US to explain why the nation was on the verge of bankruptcy.

President Maduro has claimed victory in a vote, condemned by critics as a sham, for a constituent assembly that is expected to hand his ruling Socialist Party more power.

Opposition politicians boycotted the ballot and millions of Venezuelans shunned the process.

----Before annoucing his bid for the Labour leadership in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn praised the politics of Venezuela as “a cause for celebration”. He has been less forthcoming since.

The country’s economy has shrunk by a third since 2014 and is expected to contract by 12 per cent this year. Shortages of basic items are common.

----Mr Livingstone is under a two-year “administrative suspension” from the Labour Party, set to end in April, after his claim that Hitler had supported Zionism before he “went mad and ended up killing six million Jews” was found to have broken party rules.

All the political parties alike have their origins in past ideas and not in new ideas — and none more conspicuously so than the Marxists.

John Maynard Keynes.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

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

Today, so you really want to bank with a European Bank. Gambling with Central bank money in Manila, thanks to making chumps of Bangladesh, SWIFT, and the Federal Reserve.

August 2, 2017 / 12:57 PM

Regulators to delay meeting in bid to reach bank capital deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Banking regulators will postpone their next meeting in another bid to agree on global capital rules, taking more time to try to overcome objections from European banks to minimum capital levels, people familiar with the talks said.

The negotiations are being closely watched by thousands of lenders, even though the rules would not come into force until 2024 or 2025, and Standard Chartered said on Wednesday it would not pay a dividend because of the regulatory uncertainty.

The next meeting of the Basel Committee of banking supervisors was set for mid-September but it is now expected in early October, the sources said.

The Basel Committee, which has been trying to reach a deal since last year, had no comment.

Standard Chartered shares fell on Wednesday after it said it would not pay a dividend until there was more clarity on regulatory uncertainties, including the capital implications of the new Basel rules.

The Basel meeting delay will give officials more time to overcome European banks' reluctance to accept a "floor" or minimum level of capital a big bank must hold, the sources said.

Basel members such as the United States want a floor equivalent to 75 percent of the amount standard regulatory capital calculations used by smaller lenders comes up with.

Europe wants a figure nearer 70 percent. Potential compromises include scaling back on capital elsewhere in the package if a floor of 75 percent is chosen.

Conversely, capital could be ratcheted up elsewhere in the package if a floor of 70 percent is selected, the sources said.

A floor of 72.5 percent would look silly but acceptable if it gets the deal done, one source said.

Central bank governors such as the U.S. Federal Reserve's Janet Yellen, the European Central Bank's Mario Draghi and Bank of England chief Mark Carney are pushing for a deal to allow the banking sector and regulators to move on.

---- Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said last month that a floor set at 75 percent would hit too many European banks. Other banking sector officials say this is because European banks don't hold enough capital.

Basel is also facing a growing list of members who want to delay implementing tougher capital requirements for banks' trading books, a separate reform that has already been agreed.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia are delaying the rules while the U.S. Treasury has recommended a delay and the European Union has proposed a phase-in.

A Baccarat Binge Helped Launder the World’s Biggest Cyberheist

How do you make $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank disappear? Run it through an Asian laundromat
Alan Katz and Wenxin Fan  3 August 2017, 09:00 GMT+1

For someone supposed to be laundering millions of dollars in stolen funds, with investigators from three countries scrambling to track the money, Ding Zhize was a surprisingly unhurried man. He’d brought a dozen or so high rollers from ­China to play in the glitzy VIP room in MetroManila’s Solaire casino. The game was baccarat. It was late February 2016—still high season for Asian casinos, thanks to the Lunar New Year holiday­—and Ding had been here for days. As red-shirted dealers laid down hand after hand, ­gamblers smoked Double Happiness cigarettes and helped ­themselves to an endless supply of mineral water, lemon tea, and Hennessy XO cognac. The chips they played in a steady stream were valid only in that room. The most valuable ones were ­rectangular plaques worth $20,000.

Ding, his partner, Gao Shuhua, and the gamblers in tow were probably betting on both the house’s hand and the players’ hands, trying to strike a balance between gains and losses. After all, the important thing for anyone looking to launder money through a casino isn’t to win. It’s to exchange millions of dollars for chips you can swap for cool, untraceable cash at the end of the night.

It wasn’t the first time the Chinese duo of Ding and Gao had managed a transaction like this. Running illegal gambling operations, including recruiting people for foreign gaming junkets, was their main business, according to previously unreported court documents in China obtained by Bloomberg Markets as well as interviews with family members and former business partners. By the time Ding, Gao, and their players had their casino accounts frozen in March 2016, they’d managed to make tens of millions of dollars disappear, according to a Philippine Senate committee that investigated the theft.

The money was part of the largest cyberheist in history. In early February, $81 million had been stolen from Bangladesh’s central bank by hackers who issued bogus instructions via Swift, the global interbank payment system, ­according to reports by the Philippine Senate committee, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance. The cyberthieves messaged the New York Fed, where Bangladesh Bank had funds on deposit, directing it to send funds to a handful of bank accounts mostly in the Philippines set up using fake names.

Just a few days after the theft, Bangladesh Bank officials asked their Philippine counterparts for help. Yet the gamblers were allowed to play on for weeks, according to reports by the casino’s parent company, Bloomberry Resorts Corp., and the Philippine Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations. Even after the remaining funds were frozen, no charges were filed against Ding, Gao, or the players with them, so Philippine police didn’t make any arrests, says Sergio Osmeña III, a former senator who last year was a member of the inquiry panel. “They waited until it was too late,” he says.
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?

Ikea begins selling solar panels and home batteries in the UK

Posted 22 hours ago by Darrell Etherington @etherington

Ikea is getting into the domestic solar power generation and storage market in the UK, with new solar panel and home storage battery system products. The products include panels that integrated with existing roofing solutions provided by Solarcentury, a UK solar power company, which includes a 25 year guarantee on the panels themselves, as well as s six-year warranty on installation and every aspect of the system hardware.

The installations cost more than your average self-assemble coffee table, with prices beginning at the
equivalent of just under $4,000 U.S. The battery storage component can work with the solar panel offerings provided by Ikea and Solarcentury, but are also offered standalone as add-ons for existing home solar installations. Those batteries will help boost solar usage rates as a fraction of total energy consumption for UK home owners, Ikea says, allowing the average home equipped with solar power generation to achieve nearly 80 percent solar usage.

Ikea entering the solar power market puts it in company with dedicated providers like Tesla, which offers home solar generation and storage solutions through its acquired subsidiary SolarCity, and via its Tesla Powerwall home battery storage product.

Ikea may not be offering a DIY solar solution like it does with its furniture assembly, but it is trying to make
the process uncomplicated, which is in keeping with its broader mission. The home furnishings retailer says it’ll provide potential customers with everything they need to go solar as quickly as possible including a free quotation, a home survey, quotation approval and final installation.

If this takes off, it seems likely Ikea will look to expand the model elsewhere. That could mean partnering with different providers in different regions, so this could end up being an opportunity for home solar market expansion much more broadly across the ecosystem if things pan out.

Another weekend, and travel chaos across the EUSSR’s airports, from all the new travel checks brought about by Mrs Merkel’s Migrant Madness and their violence. Thankfully neither Rosie my border collie or I, have any intention of setting foot on the continent made for tanks, ever again. With Brexit, relatively speaking, just around the corner, if GB spends the money on itself, formerly sent to Brussels never to be seen again, Making GB Great Again, what would they have there, any Brit could possibly want. Ireland, not being on the continent, excepted. Have a great weekend everyone.

"Any nation which gives up its freedom in pursuit of economic advantage deserves to lose both."

Thomas Jefferson, US President 1801-1809.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished July

DJIA: 21,891 +207 Up. NASDAQ:  6,348 +250 Up. SP500: 2,470 +171 Up.

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