• Sprott Money
    02/28/2015 - 07:05
      In this exclusive interview, Hugo Salinas Price share his views on precious metals, provides some historical background on gold and silver money, the manipulation of the precious...

Natural Gas

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German DAX Rises Above 11,000 For First Time After European GDP Surprises To Upside





Who would have thought all it takes for Eurozone Q4 GDP to print above expectations, even if by the smallest of possible margins - one which even the Chinese goalseek-o-tron bows its head down to in respect - which at 0.3% Q/Q was above the 0.2% expected and above Q3's 0.2%, was for Europe to admit it has finally succumbed to deflation. Oh, and for the ECB to admit the situation has never been more serious by launching Q€. Oh, and add the "estimated contribution" to GDP from hookers and drugs. Put all that together and on an annualized basis, the European economy grew by 1.4%. Whatever the reason, Q4 GDP was the best print since Q1, even as Germany blew not only consensus of 0.3%, but the highest GDP estimate of 0.6% out of the water when it reported that courtesy of a spike in spending, its economy grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, up from the near-recessionary 0.1% in Q3. That, together with QE and ZIRP now raging across the continent, was enough to push the DAX above 11,000 for the first time ever.

 
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Want To Know Where The Next Bear Market Is? Look Around!





If you want to know where the next bear market is, look around at the people who are enjoying unimaginable wealth. Mr. Market has a habit of correcting things over time. My guess is that you won’t be paid $200K/year to drive trucks in North Dakota for much longer. The best thing about capitalism is that everything is temporary. The last time around, people had the stock, could have sold it, and didn’t. Nothing lasts forever.

 
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Frontrunning: February 12





  • 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
  • Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
  • Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
  • Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
  • In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
  • AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
  • Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
 
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Ukraine Ceasefire Deal Agreed After Negotiations All-Nighter; Doubts Remain About Its Implementation





It would have simply been too much to handle for Europe and the risk off algos if hours after the embarrassing failure of the emergency Eurogroup meeting in Brussels failed to reach any deal involving Greece, the Ukraine ceasefire negotiations in Minsk were also to fall apart. Again. Which is probably why after a marathon session lasting 17 hours, and following repeated trial balloons that a deal had and/or had not been reached, a short while ago all major media outlets were delighted to finally blast some Risk On news namely that leaders of France and Germany brokered a renewed deal to end Ukraine’s 10-month civil war in the separatist eastern region, which means that we have a Minsk-signed Ukraine ceasefire. Again.

 
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Fourth Turning: The Shadow Of Crisis Has Not Passed - Part 2





The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.

 
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Market Wrap: Stocks Drift, Dollar Stronger, Oil Snaps Rally, Treasurys Slide On Microsoft Deal





So far it has been largely a repeat of the previous overnight session, where absent significant macro drivers, the attention again remains focused both on China, which reported some truly ugly inflation (with 0.8% Y/Y CPI the lowest since Lehman, just call it deflation net of the "goalseeking") data (which as usually is "good for stocks" pushing the SHCOMP 1.5% higher as it means even more easing), and on Greece, which has not made any major headlines in the past 24 hours as patience on both sides is growing thin ahead of the final "bluff" showdown between Greece and the Eurozone is imminent. The question as usual is who will have just a fraction more leverage in the final assessment - Greece has made its ask known, and it comes in the form of 10 billion euros in short-term "bridge" financing consisting of €8 billion increase in Bills issuance and €1.9 billion in ECB profits, as it tries to stave off a funding crunch, a proposal which will be presented on the Wednesday meeting of euro area finance ministers in Brussels. The question remains what Europe's countrbid, if any, will be. For the answer: stay tuned in 24 hours.

 
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Europe, US Risk Off After Greece Rejects European Ultimatum, Ukraine Peace Talks Falter





In the absence of any notable developments overnight, the market remains focused on the rapidly moving situation in Greece, which as detailed over the weekend, responded to Europe's Friday ultimatum very vocally and belligerently, crushing any speculation that Syriza would back down or compromise, and with just days left until the emergency Eurogroup meeting in three days, whispers that a Grexit is imminent grow louder. The only outstanding item is what happens to the EUR and to risk assets: do they rise when the Eurozone kicks out its weakest member, or will they tumble as UBS suggested this morning when it said that "the escalation of tensions between the Greek government and its creditors is so far being shrugged off by investors, an attitude which is overly simplistic and ignores the risk of market dislocations" while Morgan Stanley adds that a Grexit would likely lead to the EURUSD sliding near its all time lows of about 0.90.

 
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Shunned Greece Agrees To Boost Economic Cooperation With Russia





It's been an odd few days for Greece's new PM Alexis Tsipras. From being lambasted by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, shunned by Angela Merkel's henchmen, holding hands with Jean-Claude Juncker, and losing a key funding channel from Mario Draghi; Tsipras' anti-austerity platform has been 'supported' by Barack Obama and he has been invited for a visit to Russia by Vladimir Putin, and reminded that Russia is willing (and able) to provide financial aid if asked by finance minister Anton Siluanov. So headlines this evening from ekathimerini should not be entirely surprising that Putin and Tsipras have agreed to boost cooperation in the economy and energy, tourism, culture and transport sectors; and discussed the possible creation of a pipeline to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe via Turkey and Greece.

 
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A New Theory Of Energy And The Economy, Part 2 - The Long-Term GDP-Energy Tie





In Part 1, we described the world’s economy as one that is based on energy. The design of the system is such that the economy can only grow; shrinkage tends to cause collapse. If this view of the situation is correct, then we need an ever-rising amount of inexpensive energy to keep the system going. We have gone from trying to grow the world economy on oil, to trying to grow the world economy on coal. Both of these approaches have “hit walls”.  Now we have practically nowhere to go.

 
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Ukraine Currency Plunges Over 30% After Central Bank Gives Up On Indicative Rate





And so another central bank admits defeat to the forces of market supply and demand.

 
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Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: The Entire Oil Collapse Is All About Crushing Russian Control Over Syria





And so the great chess game involving Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States, Qatar, Syria, ISIS, Ukraine, natural gas and lots and lots of oil, is finally revealed.

 
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Frontrunning: February 4





  • Arab World Unites to Condemn ‘Barbaric’ Death of Jordanian Pilot (BBG)
  • Jordan hangs two Iraqi militants in response to pilot's death (Reuters)
  • As Oil Prices Climb, Some Harbor Doubts (WSJ)
  • Taiwan plane cartwheels into river after take-off, killing at least 19 (Reuters)
  • Seven dead as commuter train hits car near New York City (Reuters)
  • Apollo’s 600% Profit on Oil Company Leaves Rivals Behind (BBG)
  • Greece's rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB's drachma threats  (Telegraph)
 
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What The Rig Plunge Really Means For The Price Of Oil





The devil is in the details: The market is likely too excited about falling rig counts. Even after the natural gas experience, the market fails to appreciate that the relationship between rig count and production can be deceptive. Headline rig count declines may look impressive, but as we look at the data, much of the drop in oil rig count has come in low yielding vertical/directional rigs – i.e. the low-hanging fruit. Even within horizontal rigs, much of the decline has come in lower performing plays or lower tier counties within high quality plays. In some cases, we’ve seen a reallocation of rigs between counties within plays. This was particularly prominent in Midland last week. The most productive rigs will likely remain as long as possible, esp where hedges are in place, until redeterminations or cash flow issues force additional cuts.

 
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Futures Rebound Continues As "Greece Concession" Story Picked Up By European Desks, Oil Rises





The rally that was sparked by yesterday's late-day FT report had all but fizzled overnight, replaced by more concerns about the state of the global economy when Austrialia's central bank surprised the world (just 9 of 29 analysts had expected this move) by becoming the 15th in a row to ease in 2015 (the list: Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and now Australia), cutting the cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25%, and sparking more concerns about a global currency war or rather USD war against every other currency, when the USDJPY algos woke up again, and did everything they could to re-defend the critical 117.20 level in the USDJPY which has proven critical in supporting the market in recent weeks, once again using the Greek "softening tone" story as the basis for the ramp as Europe woke up, which in turn sent the DAX promptly to new all time highs, while the Athens stock market surged by 9% at last check.

 
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Exxon Revenues, Earnings Tumble 21% From Year Ago, Sales Miss Expectations By $5 Billion; Stock Buyback Grinds To Near Halt





Moments ago, following our chart showing the devastation in Q1 earning forecasts, Exxon Mobil came out with its Q4 earnings, and - as tends to happen when analysts take a butcher knife to estimates - beat EPS handily, when it reported $1.56 in EPS, above the $1.34 expected, if still 18% below the $1.91 Q4 EPS print from a year earlier. A primary contributing factor to this beat was surely the $3 billion in Q4 stock buybacks, with another $2.9 billion distributed to shareholders mostly in the form of dividends.  However, while XOM did the best with margins and accounting gimmickry it could under the circumstances, there was little it could do to halt the collapse in revenues, which printed at $87.3 billion, well below the $92.7 billion expected, and down a whopping 21% from a year ago. And this is just in Q4 - the Q1 slaughter has yet to be unveiled!

 
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