en Frontrunning: December 6 <ul> <li>Trump heads back out on road for 'thank you' tour (<a href="">AP</a>)</li> <li>For Europe’s Unity, 2017 Will Be a Year of Reckoning (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>Oil dips as OPEC, Russian output rises ahead of production cut (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> <li>The Pessimist's Guide to 2017 (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>Donald Trump’s Message Sparks Anger in China (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>Brazil’s Reform Plan in Disarray After Senate Chief Removed (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>China urges U.S. to block transit by Taiwan president (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> <li>Wooed by Trump, Taiwan Trembles (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>SoftBank’s Son Said to Plan Meeting With Trump in New York (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>Syrian government, ally Russia warn rebels in city of Aleppo (<a href="">AP</a>)</li> <li>Blackstone Going Public on $10 Billion Foreclosures Bet (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>A Cheat Sheet on the Deglobalization of the Financial World (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>One Historic Lens Says Trump Stock Market Lovefest Just Starting (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>U.S. ‘Disappointed’ by Japan’s Plan to Cut Drug Costs (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>Family’s $29 Billion Fortune Claim Denied Amid India’s Tax Hunt (<a href="">BBG</a>)</li> <li>Orban allies tighten media grip ahead of Hungary election (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> <li>U.S. seeks to reassure Beijing after Trump call with Taiwan leader (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> <li>Theranos Foresaw Huge Growth in Revenue and Profits (<a href="">WSJ</a>)</li> <li>Rouhani says Iran will not let Trump rip up nuclear deal (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> <li>Danish police arrest suspect after policeman shot in head (<a href="">Reuters</a>)</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Overnight Media Digest</strong></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">WSJ</span></em></p> <p>- The verbal confrontation between President-elect Donald Trump and the Chinese government escalated on Monday, as China responded harshly to attacks by Trump on its economic and security positions. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- Inc unveiled Monday its first small-format grocery store, Amazon Go, one of at least three brick-and-mortar formats the online retail giant is exploring as it makes a play for an area of shopping that remains stubbornly in-store. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- The euro rallied from early losses following Italian voters' rejection of government-backed constitutional changes, but the volatile day raises concerns about how the currency survives an era of populist politicians and diverging economies. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- A day after the Obama administration put the brakes on a Midwest oil pipeline by denying a permit needed to finish the route, a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said the incoming administration supports completing the project. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- President-elect Donald Trump said he will nominate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a move that would place a former political adversary with little housing-policy expertise in a key administration post. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- Investor materials show Theranos projected revenue of nearly $2 billion and net income of about $505 million this year. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- Euroskeptic parties vary in their prescriptions but are putting pressure on mainstream politicians to address perceived flaws in the EU and common currency. Elections next year in several European nations will go far to determine the fate of continental integration. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- New Zealand is facing a leadership contest following the surprise resignation of Prime Minister John Key that will pit his deputy, a former party leader, against at least two other prominent members. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- The U.S. Senate Monday cleared the final hurdle to passage of broad legislation aimed at boosting federal funds for biomedical research and speeding up government approval of drug and medical-devices, a goal pursued by the pharmaceutical industry over the objections of some consumer advocates. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">FT</span></em></p> <p>Britain's government is listening closely to the financial services sector's Brexit concerns, said finance minister Philip Hammond and the minister in charge of the process for the country's exit from the European Union, David Davis.</p> <p>British Transport Minister Chris Grayling will say in a speech on Tuesday that he wants Network Rail to share responsibility for running railway tracks with other operators.</p> <p>Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Monday on some debt relief for Greece, but were divided on reforms it must undertake to reach fiscal targets, leaving it unclear if the International Monetary Fund will join the Greek bailout programme.</p> <p>Britain is beginning to prepare its new World Trade Organisation membership terms ahead of its exit from the European Union and will seek to closely replicate the existing EU ones, Trade Minister Liam Fox said on Monday.</p> <p>Web giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">NYT</span></em></p> <p>- Amazon has created a small grocery store in Seattle that will allow customers to take drinks, prepared meals and other items off shelves and walk out without having to wait in a checkout line. It planned to open the store to the public early next year and that it would offer chef-made meal kits with ingredients for quickly preparing dinners at home. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft said they have teamed up to fight the spread of terrorist content over the web by sharing technology and information to reduce the flow of terrorist propaganda across their services. The group plans to create a kind of shared digital database, "fingerprinting" all of the terrorist content that is flagged. By collectively tracking that information, the companies said they could make sure a video posted on Twitter, for instance, did not appear later on Facebook. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- The international oil industry agreed to pay billions of dollars to the Mexican government for rights to drill in the country's portions of the Gulf of Mexico. The companies made a big bet that oil and natural gas prices would eventually rebound enough to make additional exploration and drilling profitable. The sale was a validation of Mexico's decision to open its former government-monopoly energy business to foreign investment and expertise. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>- Uber acquired artificial intelligence start-up Geometric Intelligence. The new research arm will be called Uber's A.I. Labs and all 15 people from the start-up will be absorbed by Uber. Uber said it hoped that through the acquisition, the new team could harness the wealth of data it collects from the millions of daily Uber rides. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Britain</span></em></p> <p>The Times</p> <p>Tata Steel Ltd says it has made significant commitments to more than 4,000 workers at the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales, which has spent the past eight months under threat of closure. Rather than close one of the two blast furnaces at the steelworks, which many believe Tata has been considering as part of a merger of its European operations with ThyssenKrupp, of Germany, it is believed that the Indian-owned industrial group plans to keep staff employed into the next decade. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>Shareholders at Independent News &amp; Media Plc have voted overwhelmingly in support of restructuring measures despite protests from current and former staff whose pensions will be cut as a result. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>The Guardian</p> <p> Inc has opened a corner store where customers can pick up their groceries and just walk out without having to queue up and pay at the checkout. The company said shoppers at its Amazon Go store will have the cost of their purchases automatically billed to their Amazon Prime account. Sensors will track customers as they go about the store and record items they pick up. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>A top U.S. investment bank resigned as a key adviser to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International Plc because of concerns that the retail company had manipulated its share price, according to claims made in a high court document. Bank of America Merrill Lynch had concerns about Sport Direct's corporate governance and the "propriety" of share transactions in 2012 around its employee bonus scheme, according to allegations in legal filings by Jeff Blue, previously one of Ashley's key allies. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>The Telegraph</p> <p>GW Pharmaceuticals Plc plans to expand manufacturing in the United Kingdom and boost cultivation of the cannabis plants it uses to make a treatment for severe epilepsy, its chief executive has said. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>Blackcurrant drinks should be exempt from the government's sugar tax, drinks makers including Ribena have suggested, as Treasury documents reveal a number have asked for special treatment by the Treasury. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>Sky News</p> <p>An executive who left BG Group months before a takeover approach from Royal Dutch Shell is being lined up to take the helm of Genel Energy Plc , the oil company founded by former BP boss Tony Hayward. Chris Finlayson is the leading candidate to replace Hayward as Genel's chairman. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>A planned 24-hour strike by London Underground drivers has been suspended, the RMT union has said. Drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City lines were due to walk out from 9.30 pm on Tuesday, amid claims of a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of procedures and bullying and harassment of staff. <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> artificial intelligence Bank of America Bank of America Bitly Business Business China Chinese government Danish police Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Economy European Union European Union Foreclosures Germany Google Greece Gulf of Mexico http FT Britain's government Hungary International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund Iran Merrill Merrill Lynch Mexican government Mexico Midwest Natural Gas New Zealand Obama Administration Obama administration OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Reuters Senate south Wales Syrian government Tata Theranos Twitter Twitter U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Uber United Kingdom United States Senate World Trade World Trade Organisation Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:48:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 579722 at Shariah Gold Standard Approved for $2 Trillion Islamic Finance Market <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Shariah Gold Standard Approved for $2 Trillion Islamic Finance Market</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>by Jan Skoyles, Editor Mark O'Byrne</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the World Gold Council have made an important decision which was announced yesterday at the&nbsp;World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">This decision is about one of the most important markets in the world: the gold market, an invest-able market worth an estimated $2.4 trillion and is also of significance for the world of Islamic finance.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><a href=""><strong><img src="" alt="sharia-gold-infographic2-1" width="468" height="1024" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-8129 size-large" /></strong></a><br />The AAOIFI, in collaboration with the World Gold Council (WGC) and Amanie Advisors, has approved what will become known as the&nbsp;<a href="">Shariah Gold Standard</a>. This is a set of guidelines that will expand the variety and use of gold-based products in Islamic Finance.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">As many as 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, 25 per cent of the population, will have far greater access to the gold market than they have since the birth of modern finance, which has been primarily structured towards Western ideals.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">More details were announced at the World Islamic Banking Conference including details of the gold products that are likely to be permissible.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>The sharia gold standard announced yesterday allows the over 110 million investors in the Islamic world to invest in</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>a)&nbsp;</strong>vaulted gold</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>b)&nbsp;</strong>gold savings plans (such as GoldCore's GoldSaver)</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>c)&nbsp;</strong>gold certificates</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>d)&nbsp;</strong>physical gold ETFs including "probably"&nbsp;the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange-traded gold (GLD)</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>e)&nbsp;</strong>gold mining shares (within certain Shari’ah parameters)</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>We know three&nbsp;things that the new Shariah gold-standard will achieve:</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>a)&nbsp;</strong>Increase diversity in the number of available Shariah gold compliant investment products<strong><br /></strong><br /><strong>b)&nbsp;</strong>Greater emphasis on the role of physical gold in gold transactions<strong><br /></strong><br /><strong>c)&nbsp;</strong>Islamic finance will have greater say in the setting of the gold price</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">To some, this may appear to be an unnecessary formality taken by the body whose guidelines are followed by Islamic finance institutions across the world. After all, physical gold is Shariah-compliant and holds a unique status for Muslims.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">AAIOFI states,&nbsp;<em>"From the perspective of Islamic Fiqh and the Islamic economic system, gold has its specific significance. This significance arises from the specific principles provided for gold and silver as Thaman in Shari'ah."<br /></em><br />According to Islamic texts, gold is a ribawi item, which means that it must be sold on weight and measure, and cannot be traded for future value or for speculation. In order for a gold instrument to be Shariah-compliant, the precious metal must be the underlying asset in related transactions.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">However there has been a need for clarification for how gold bullion can be used for investment purposes by Muslims, for a long time.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">This uncertainty has kept Shariah-compliant offerings at a minimum and many investors restricted by the type of gold bullion transactions they are able to partake in, with most focused on jewellery and coin offerings. Daud Bakar, chairman of Amanie Advisors, agrees, ".the existing Islamic standards for gold are fragmented, hampering product development and market demand."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Currently in the gold market, the majority of activity regarding gold financial instruments is based almost entirely on speculation. This is due to the overwhelming size of both the London and COMEX (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) gold markets, which together have the greatest influence on the spot price of gold.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Whilst Islamic investors have always had access to the gold market through jewellery and coins, this guidance will&nbsp;vastly increase the number and diversity of investment products available. There are very few Shari'ah-compliant gold offerings today. Using its deep sector knowledge, GoldCore, and its Islamic partners, have been working on a comprehensive solution for two years and will provide the solution to qualifying Islamic financial institutions in early 2017.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">With gold investment platforms such as GoldCore able to offer segregated, allocated gold bullion accounts with the option of physical delivery, Muslims are now able to invest in gold bars and coins.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The new 'gold standard' will affect the gold market globally as 1.6 billion people will be able for the first time to use gold bullion products and platforms that offer physical delivery, allocated and segregated gold ownership.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">"For a number of years we have been working on an institutional gold platform and indeed a Sharia compliant gold bullion solution for the institutional market. As a market leader in precious metal storage, we have been consulting with major institutions and our strong partners to deliver allocated and segregated gold storage services to investors throughout the world", said GoldCore CEO, Stephen Flood.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">If Islamic Finance institutions were to allocate just one per cent of assets into new gold products then we would expect to see demand climb by about 500-1000 tonnes, per annum. Given that recent demand and supply figures showed a surplus of just 172 tonnes of gold in the market, we could begin to see some tightening with the increase of Shariah-compliant gold instruments, which will have a positive impact on the price.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">It is not unreasonable to expect a minimum one per cent move of Islamic finance assets into gold, especially when you look at how it has performed. WGC data shows that in the last eight years the major Islamic asset classes (including REITs, the Takaful index, the Dow Jones Islamic Equities Index and the Dow Jones Sukuk Index) have all underperformed compared to gold, as have the major currencies used in the Islamic world.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Few appreciate that the launch of a Shari'ah gold or&nbsp;<a href="">Islamic gold</a>&nbsp;standard signals a changing dynamic in the gold market. Gold&nbsp;bullion &nbsp;will be additionally appealing to Islamic banks due&nbsp;to Basel III rules that require banks own high liquidity and quality, low counter party risk assets such as physical&nbsp;<a href="">gold in allocated and segregated storage</a>.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Until now, no group as influential as the AAOIFI has issued guidelines stating that gold must be the underlying asset in all gold transactions as we suspect they will do shortly.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Whilst the likes of the COMEX gold market are able to grow to multiple times the size of the underlying physical market, with little impact on physical demand or price, this will no longer be case.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Jan Skoyles&nbsp;is a research executive at GoldCore, a gold investment platform and this is a version of an article that first appeared in the&nbsp;<a href="">Khaleej Times</a>, the UAE's best selling English newspaper and highest circulated English language newspaper in the Gulf</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Gold Prices (LBMA AM)</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">06 Dec: USD 1,171.15, GBP 918.18 &amp; EUR 1,086.94 per ounce<br />05 Dec: USD 1,164.90, GBP 915.84 &amp; EUR 1,095.36 per ounce<br />02 Dec: USD 1,171.65, GBP 929.00 &amp; EUR 1,100.88 per ounce<br />01 Dec: USD 1,168.75, GBP 930.09 &amp; EUR 1,099.68 per ounce<br />30 Nov: USD 1,187.40, GBP 952.06 &amp; EUR 1,115.44 per ounce<br />29 Nov: USD 1,187.30, GBP 952.45 &amp; EUR 1,119.98 per ounce<br />28 Nov: USD 1,189.10, GBP 956.51 &amp; EUR 1,117.99 per ounce</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Silver Prices (LBMA)</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">06 Dec: USD 16.79, GBP 13.17 &amp; EUR 15.63 per ounce<br />05 Dec: USD 16.62, GBP 13.05 &amp; EUR 15.54 per ounce<br />02 Dec: USD 16.35, GBP 12.95 &amp; EUR 15.36 per ounce<br />01 Dec: USD 16.30, GBP 12.91 &amp; EUR 15.35 per ounce<br />30 Nov: USD 16.67, GBP 13.39 &amp; EUR 15.66 per ounce<br />29 Nov: USD 16.54, GBP 13.26 &amp; EUR 15.61 per ounce<br />28 Nov: USD 16.68, GBP 13.45 &amp; EUR 15.73 per ounce</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><br />Recent Market Updates</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Potential “Systemic Crisis In Eurozone” After Italy Votes No, Renzi Resigns</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold and Silver Will Protect From Coming Financial Crash – Rickards</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;RBS Fail Bank of England Stress Test</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Peak Silver – Supply Deficits Mean Higher Prices</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Bail In Risk – €4 Trillion Banking System In Italy Poses Contagion Risk as Referendum Looms</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Down 13.5% In 13 Days – Trump Bearish For Gold?</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;War On Cash Just Got Real – India and Citibank In Australia</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Russia Gold Buying In October Is Biggest Monthly Allocation Since 1998</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Stocks, Bonds, Pension Funds “Will Be Wiped Out…” – Rickards</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Physical Gold Is A “Long-Term Position” as “Hedge Against Governments”</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Sell Off On Fed Noise – “Interesting Times” To “Support Gold”</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Islamic Gold – Vital New Dynamic In Physical Gold Market</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Peak Gold Globally – “Bullish For Gold”</a></strong></p> Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions Australia B+ Bank of England Bank of England Business Citibank Dow Jones Islamic Equities Dow Jones Sukuk Economy Fail federal government Finance Gold Gold as an investment India Investment Islamic banking Islamic banking and finance Italy London bullion market Money Newspaper Precious metals RBS REITs Riba Security Stress Test Sukuk World Gold Council World Gold Council Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:46:38 +0000 GoldCore 579721 at Euro, BTPs Hit On Local Reports Italy May Hold Early Elections <p><em><strong>Update</strong></em>: it appears that early elections are indeed coming to Italy, which could be another major calendar event for Italy, and one which would have far more significant consequences for the political make up of the country should M5S win as many expect. From Reuters:</p> <p><strong>ITALY INTERIOR MINISTER, SPEAKING AFTER CONVERSATION WITH RENZI, SEES NEW ELECTIONS LIKELY IN FEBRUARY - CORRIERE DELLA SERA&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>The Euro has been hit this morning, losing some 50 pips following reports in both <a href="">La Repubblica</a> and <a href="">Corriere</a>, that Matteo Renzi may stay in power for several weeks before potential early elections in <em>January-February of 2017</em>. According to La Repubblica, Renzi may ask that early elections are held in near future in return for staying in power until then. As previously reported, the next Italian general election must be held no later than 23rd May 2018.&nbsp; </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="259" /></p> <p>The move has pressured other Italian assets, with BTP futures retreating from highs and the Italian bank index paring gains as investors focus on potential for Italian elections to be held early next year. </p> <p>However, there has been some confusion about the date of the snap elections, because President Mattarella reportedly doesn’t see elections in February technically feasible because changes are needed to the country’s election law known as Italicum.</p> <p>There is another consideration: should snap elections be hald soon, they would likely lead to a victory for Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which as noted on Sunday has already called for immediate elections after the outgoing prime minister Matteo Renzi’s defeat in a constitutional referendum, saying it was prepared to put forward a new government that could immediately assume power.</p> <p>While it appears unlikely that Beppe Grillo, a former comedian and co-founder of the populist party, will get his general election wish, the bold demand showed his Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) now has its sights on an even greater electoral victory: one that would eventually land it in the prime minster’s residence in Palazzo Chigi. </p> <p>As the Guardian reported, many analysts pointed out that M5S still faces considerable obstacles, including probable reforms of electoral law that will make it difficult for the party to get a majority. "But even if such manoeuvres keep it at bay temporarily, one thing is clear: the party is now the second most powerful force in Italy behind Renzi’s diminished Democratic party."</p> <p>Vincenzo Scarpetta, a senior policy analyst at the thinktank Open Europe, said M5S would have a fair chance of winning the next general election under current electoral rules, but those rules are likely to change in coming months under the current Democratic-controlled parliament, which may be the impetus behind delaying elections as much as possible, and why today's report of early snap elections has led to Euro weakness.</p> <p>The decision to call immediate elections ultimately falls with Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="730" height="378" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank Index Beppe Grillo Democratic Party Democratic Party Five Star Movement Government Italian electoral law Italy Italy La Repubblica Matteo Renzi Next Italian general election Politics Politics of Italy Populism Renzi Cabinet Reuters Sergio Mattarella Star Movement Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:24:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 579719 at Italy's Monte Paschi Told To "Prepare For State Bailout" <p style="text-align: justify;">On Sunday night, <a href="">when we commented </a>on the results of the Italian referendum, we said that while the Italian political limbo may or may not be an issue in the near term, a bigger problem for Italy will be the fate of Monte Paschi, whose 3rd bailout was likely doomed to failure after the failed referendum, which could unleash contagion upon the Italian banking sector at a very precarious time for Italy and Europe.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Overnight, we got confirmation of that from not one but two sources, with Italian Il Sole 24 reporting that <strong>the Italian treasury is considering “precautionary” direct state intervention to rescue the bank</strong>, a plan that has already been sketched out by Rome and Brussels. The lender’s executives are meeting with European Central Bank officials today and may ask for a delay to a non-performing loan sale that’s part of the bank’s capital increase plan, the newspaper said.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In an <a href="">interview with Bloomberg TV</a>, Marcello Messori, economics professor at Luiss University said that “the probability of finding a natural market solution is very very low currently, due to the fact that instability implies that international investors have a lot of difficulties to decide in the short term for a very important recapitalization" and added that the ECB may give more time “if there is a solution on the horizon.” </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">There may not be a solution, as both the company's stock price, which fell for the fourth consecutive day, down 2.5% and plunging 85% YTD, <a href="">and as the FT adds</a>. According to the Nikkei's subsidiary, "bankers are running out of private-sector solutions for Monte dei Paschi di Siena and <strong>have told the Italian lender to prepare for a state bailout this weekend </strong>after prime minister Matteo Renzi was felled by a referendum defeat. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p style="text-align: justify;">While financial markets responded relatively calmly to the referendum result, people briefed on the situation said the political upheaval made it “more difficult” to secure a €1bn investment from Qatar on which Monte dei Paschi’s €5bn capital-raising plan hinges. Senior bankers fear that a failure to shore up the bank, which was the worst loser of this summer’s European bank healthcheck, could damage already jittery investor confidence about Italy’s overall banking sector, which is hobbled by €360bn of bad loans and weak profitability.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Ironically, the bad news comes just as there was finally some good news for the bank: on Monday, bondholders agreed to convert almost a quarter of the 4.3 billion euros of debt offered subject to the swap, in line with expectations according to final results released Tuesday. The problem is that this won't be enough.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The swap was “a very good result, but is just one part of the overall bank recap: what’s crucial for the success of the deal is the commitment from anchor investors,” Fabrizio Spagna, managing director at Axia Financial Research in Padua, Italy, said by phone. “I’m skeptical that there are subjects available to subscribe the equity, and the outcome of the referendum may add pressure.”</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">And it is the anchor investors who have gotten cold feet. <a href="">According to the FT</a>, JPMorgan and Mediobanca, advisers to Monte dei Paschi, have been working with Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s finance minister, to persuade the Qatar Investment Authority to pump money into Italy’s third-largest lender. <strong>But hope is fading that they can secure a deal by this week’s deadline</strong>. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Without the cornerstone investment from Qatar, the other parts of the complex plan to fill the bank’s €5bn capital shortfall are likely to collapse. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As a result, the FT cites a senior banker who said that if the private-sector solution proved impossible, <strong>the bank and its supervisors at the European Central Bank were likely to favour a “precautionary recapitalisation” — involving an injection of state funds and the conversion of subordinated debt into equity</strong>. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Which means another taxpayer-funded bailout is imminent. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The rest of the "Plan B" alternative is largely familiar: “Whatever solution is found for Monte dei Paschi, I believe there is a significant risk of contagion to other Italian banks in particular,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p style="text-align: justify;">To avoid the politically unpalatable option of imposing losses on the €2bn of retail bondholders in Monte dei Paschi, a plan is being drawn up to guarantee full repayment of the first €100,000 to every junior bondholder, according to senior bankers. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Senior bonds and deposits would be left unscathed. The bank is also likely to press ahead with plans to hive off €28bn in soured loans to a securitisation vehicle supported by a government guarantee.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Should the worst case scenario play out, the biggest risk is not Monte Paschi, it is what happens at other Italian banks: “If Monte dei Paschi’s plan fails, then that spells bad news for the other Italian banks that need recapitalising,” said Patrick O’Donnell investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. “<strong>If Italy can’t sort out its banks, then they will be in a real mess. Once again Europe finds itself in a position where politics, the ECB and the banks are dangerously entwined.</strong>”</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Finally, it's not just Italian banks who are on the hook. In a letter to <a href="">employees Monday</a>, Deutsche Bank CEO warned that events in Italy are "a harbinger of renewed turbulence that could spill over from the political arena to the economy – with Europe particulary endangered."&nbsp; Not only Europe: Deutsche Bank too. Which is why when push comes to shove, Merkel and Schauble, who have both been vocal opponents of a state bailout will quickly close their eyes and ignore what is going on if the alternative means Italy's banking contagion jumping across the border and slamming Germany's largest bank which this summer saw its own stock price plunge to all time lows.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="276" height="182" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Atlante B+ Bailout Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank Banking in Italy Business Deutsche Bank Economy European Central Bank European Central Bank European Union Eurozone crisis Finance Italy Luiss University Monte Paschi Newspaper Qatar Investment Authority Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:01:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 579718 at Global Stocks Rise As Oil Dips; US Stock Futures And Dollar Flat <p>European and Asian markets rose, while U.S. index futures were little changed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushing for yet another record, as traders digested the Italian referendum news, await the ECB's Thursday announcement and reflect in a notably quieter overnight session.&nbsp; Oil slipped from a 16-month high after 4 straight days of gains, as doubts emerged about how OPEC will implement the first supply curbs in eight years. European bonds gained with stocks.</p> <p>The euro held firm on Tuesday, having seen a wild 3-cent swing in the wake of Italy's referendum, while the region's bond yields dipped in line with U.S. peers as oil saw its first fall for five days. Asian stocks saw their strongest day for 2 weeks overnight after Wall Street's Dow Jones index hit a record high, and Europe's main bourses struggled into positive territory as bumper German data helped settle an early wobble. </p> <p>As concerns about Italy subsided for the time being, Italian bond yields were back below levels seen before Sunday's referendum defeat for the government, while the euro held at $1.0767 having bounced strongly from as low as $1.0505 on Monday, two days ahead of an ECB decision in which Mario Draghi is expected to extend QE by 6 months with little other adjustments.&nbsp; "The referendum result could put the ECB under pressure not to taper the asset purchase program but to extend it for six months beyond March (in its current form)," ING strategist Benjamin Schroeder said.</p> <p>European shares rose on news that German industrial orders soared at the fastest pace for more than two years, stoking hopes that Europe's largest economy is set for an acceleration in the coming months.&nbsp; Factories saw demand climb 4.9 percent on the month despite bulk orders being lower than usual, the German economy ministry said. That was the biggest increase since July 2014 and far above the Reuters consensus forecast for a 0.6 percent rise.&nbsp; "The reading was very strong even without large-scale orders and that suggests it's more than just a flash in the pan," BayernLB economist Stefan Kipar said, noting that some firms might have brought orders forward.</p> <p>The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.3%, adding to its 0.6% advance from Monday. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index gained ground, up 1.3%, helped by gains of more than 3 percent each by UniCredit SpA and Mediobanca SpA. Stoxx 600 energy producers tracked declines in oil prices, which retreated from the highest close in 16 months. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index jumped 0.9 percent.&nbsp; Financial shares in China weakened again, however, after the country's insurance regulator suspended an unlisted firm from selling some products a day after a warning about "barbaric" share acquisitions by asset managers. </p> <p>In emerging markets, Turkey, where the lira has slumped to record lows in recent weeks, saw a warning from the head of the central bank that the weakness could cause the bank to miss its inflation targets early next year. In Asia, gold nudged off a 10-month low. MSCI's broadest index for the region bounced 0.7 percent, its biggest daily rise since Nov. 22, as Korea climbed 1.4 percent and Japan rose 0.4 percent. The Australian dollar led declines among major economies, falling 0.5 percent to 74.38 U.S. cents, after the nation’s central bank central bank kept interest rates unchanged and Governor Philip Lowe said “some slowing in the year-ended growth rate is likely.”</p> <p>In an otherwise quiet session, where E-minis are currently unchanged before Tuesday’s release of factory and durable goods orders, which may confirm the U.S. economy is gaining strength and giving the Federal Reserve more reason to raise interest rates, and after the Dow Average swung back to gains Monday, increasing 0.2 percent to an all-time high, early trader focus was on crude. </p> <p>Ending a 4-day winning streak, oil prices slipped on Tuesday as crude output rose in virtually every major export region despite plans by OPEC and Russia to cut production, triggering fears that a fuel glut that has dogged markets for over two years might last well into 2017. Brent futures were trading at $54.64 per barrel at 0935 GMT, down 30 cents from Monday's close; WTI was at $51.39 a barrel, down 40 cents. Traders and analysts cited by Reuters said the boost from last week's decision by OPEC to cut crude production had faded and the cartel's promise had been undermined by data showing rising production from within its member countries and Russia. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>"Most of the position adjustments that the OPEC decision forced upon traders have now run their course and it leaves the market exposed to profit taking," said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank, citing surveys pointing to record production from OPEC during November. "What's troubling is that the rise is coming from African producers, two of which are exempt from cutting production," he said. "The meeting on Saturday between OPEC and non-OPEC producers will be crucial in order to maintain the bullish sentiment seen since last Wednesday." OPEC's oil output set another record high in November, rising to 34.19 million barrels per day (bpd) from 33.82 million bpd in October, according to a Reuters survey based on shipping data and information from industry sources.</p> <p>“It’s a headache for OPEC in terms of increase in production for Libya and Nigeria, definitely that’s a tricky part,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. “A lot of buying went on following the OPEC decision and now it’s sort of taking it quietly.”</p> <p>In rates, Italy’s 10-year bond yield declined six basis points to 1.93 percent, almost erasing Monday’s increase of eight basis points. Yields on Portugal’s bonds with a similar due date decreased nine basis points to 3.61 percent, while Germany’s rose one basis point to 0.34 percent. Almost all economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the ECB to announce on Thursday that its bond-buying program will be extended after March, and most foresee an extension of about six months at the current 80 billion euros ($85 billion) a month. Treasury 10-year yields were little changed at 2.39%.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p><strong>Bulletin Market Summary From RanSquawk</strong></p> <ul> <li>European indices are mixed this morning with more news filtering through from the Italian banking sector</li> <li>A much calmer FX market today, but we continue to see Cable pushing higher, with a view to challenging the post Brexit lows seen just under 1.2800</li> <li>Looking ahead, highlights include US Factory Orders and API Crude Oil Inventories</li> </ul> <p><strong>Market Snapshot</strong></p> <ul> <li>S&amp;P 500 futures up 0.1% to 2205.5</li> <li>Stoxx 600 up 0.3% to 342</li> <li>FTSE 100 down less than 0.1% to 6742</li> <li>DAX up 0.1% to 10698</li> <li>German 10Yr yield up less than 1bp to 0.34%</li> <li>Italian 10Yr yield down 7bps to 1.92%</li> <li>Spanish 10Yr yield down 6bps to 1.5%</li> <li>S&amp;P GSCI Index down 0.1% to 389.6</li> <li>MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.8% to 136</li> <li>Nikkei 225 up 0.5% to 18361</li> <li>Hang Seng up 0.8% to 22675</li> <li>Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3200</li> <li>S&amp;P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 5429</li> <li>US 10-yr yield down 1bp to 2.38%</li> <li>Dollar Index unchanged at 100.09</li> <li>WTI Crude futures down 0.4% to $51.59</li> <li>Brent Futures down less than 0.1% to $54.91</li> <li>Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,172</li> <li>Silver spot up 0.4% to $16.82</li> </ul> <p><strong>Top Headlines:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Sanofi Said to Mull Counterbid for Actelion Amid J&amp;J Talks: French drugmaker said to work with advisers to weigh options</li> <li>Utilities Entitled to Damages for Germany’s Atomic Exit: German constitutional court issues ruling in landmark case</li> <li>Total, ExxonMobil, Cnooc, Pemex Win Mexico Deep-Water Blocks: Oil majors win blocks in Mexico’s first competitive deep-water oil auction</li> <li>Drugmaker Genfit Said to Explore Options Including a Sale: NASH treatment maker said in talks with other drug companies</li> <li>SoftBank’s Son Said to Plan Meeting With Trump in New York: Japanese tech company had sought to merge Sprint and T- Mobile</li> <li>Fed Officials Eyeing Rate Hike See Path Tied to Fiscal Policies: Fed presidents from New York, Chicago, St. Louis spoke Monday, indicating Fed is close to meeting inflation, job goals</li> <li>South Africa to Allow U.S. GM Corn Imports for First Time: Import clearance comes after worst drought since records began</li> <li>South Korea’s Park Is Willing to Resign in April, Party Says: Opposition lawmakers still pressing for Park’s impeachment</li> <li>United Technologies CEO Says Government Ties Affected Trump Deal: Regulatory, tax reform would benefit company, CEO Hayes says</li> </ul> <p><strong>Lookinag at Asian markets, </strong>stocks carried on the momentum from Wall St where Dow posted fresh record highs amid strength in tech and financials, while contagion fears in Europe had also dissipated. ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher and was led higher by the materials and mining sectors, while Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) was underpinned by financials. Chinese markets were mixed with Hang Seng (+0.8%) outperforming, while Shanghai Comp (+0.2%) lagged <strong>following a weak liquidity operation by the PBoC. </strong>10yr JGBs traded lower amid the heightened risk appetite in the region, with demand also dampened following an enhanced liquidity auction for 20yr, 30yr and 40yr JGBs which drew a lower b/c and wider spreads. <strong>RBA kept the Cash Rate unchanged at 1.50% as unanimously expected </strong>and stated that maintaining policy is consistent with sustainable economic growth and achieving the inflation target over time. RBA commented that the economy is continuing its transition from the mining investment boom and that some slowing in the year-ended growth rate is likely, before it picks up again. </p> <p><em>Top Asian News</em></p> <ul> <li>Singapore and Australia Margin Rules to Start in March 2017: Australia has six-month transition period for variation margin</li> <li>ICAP Showing Yuan Tumbling 8.8% Against Dollar Fuels Jitters: CFETS data show onshore spot rate rose amid weakening dollar</li> <li>Samsung’s Lee in Crosshairs as Tycoons Grilled Over Scandal: Tycoons testify in connection with influence-peddling case</li> <li>China’s Robot Boom Raises Yaskawa’s Prospects and Profile: Yaskawa President says he’s rejected several deal offers</li> <li>RBA Holds Key Rate as Commodity Upswing Outweighs Slowdown: Annual growth figures predicted to slow in 3Q</li> <li>Half-Point India Rate Cut Seen by Economist Amid Cash Chaos: Call by IIFL’s Datar is more aggressive than consensus outlook</li> </ul> <p><strong>In Europe, </strong>indices are slightly higher this morning (EUROSTOXX 50 +0.2%) with more news filtering through from the Italian banking sector, <strong>as sources suggest that Monte Paschi (BMPS IM) (-2.2%) board meeting is said to be delayed until Wednesday Or Thursday. </strong>Elsewhere, financials are bouncing back after losses seen yesterday, but this did coincide with broker upgrades for HSBC and SocGen. Also in equity markets spreadbetters are taking a hit (IG Group -30%) after FCA look to announce new rules for CFD trading accounts including increased margins and amendments to new customer bonus rules.<br />In fixed income markets, Bunds trade largely flat this morning as participants await the ECB meeting. Today we have also seen outperformance in peripheral yields and some narrowing of the German/French spread following reports of more French government stability as Bernard Cazeneuve named is French PM.</p> <p><em>Top European News</em></p> <ul> <li>EU Said to Mull Seeking Post-Brexit Deal Before Transition Talk: Consensus forming on bloc’s Brexit position, EU officials say</li> <li>ABN Amro to Sell $20 Billion of Private Banking Assets to LGT: ABN Amro agreed to sell its private-banking assets in Asia and the Middle East to Liechtenstein-based LGT to focus on its European operations</li> <li>Monte Paschi Recapitalization Hangs in Balance After Debt Swap: Troubled lender releases final results of debt conversion, set to decide in coming days whether to proceed with plan</li> </ul> <p><strong>In currencies</strong>, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, was little changed after falling 0.4 percent Monday. The euro traded at $1.0773 after ending Monday up 0.9 percent, erasing an earlier slide of as much as 1.5 percent in the wake of the Italian vote. The Australian dollar led declines among major economies, falling 0.5 percent to 74.38 U.S. cents, after the nation’s central bank central bank kept interest rates unchanged and Governor Philip Lowe said “some slowing in the year-ended growth rate is likely.”</p> <p><strong>In commodities, </strong>oil prices slipped on Tuesday as crude output rose in virtually every major export region despite plans by OPEC and Russia to cut production, triggering fears that a fuel glut that has dogged markets for over two years might last well into 2017. Brent futures were trading at $54.64 per barrel at 0935 GMT, down 30 cents from Monday's close; WTI was at $51.39 a barrel, down 40 cents. Traders and analysts cited by Reuters said the boost from last week's decision by OPEC to cut crude production had faded and the cartel's promise had been undermined by data showing rising production from within its member countries and Russia. "Most of the position adjustments that the OPEC decision forced upon traders have now run their course and it leaves the market exposed to profit taking," said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank, citing surveys pointing to record production from OPEC during November. "What's troubling is that the rise is coming from African producers, two of which are exempt from cutting production," he said. Aluminum fell 1.2 percent to $1,713 a metric ton, the biggest drop in a week. The metal will probably tumble next month as an “irrational” increase in prices prompts companies to restart plants, while new capacity also ramps up in the world’s largest supplier, according to China’s top metals industry group. Copper lost 1.4 percent and zinc slid 0.7 percent.</p> <p><strong>Looking at the day ahead, </strong>the early data out this morning in Europe came from Germany where the October factory orders data was released, and came in an unexpectedly hot 6.3% Y/Y vs Exp. 1.6%, up from 2.9%. The final revisionsto Q3 GDP in the Euro area also came in and as expected, it remained at +0.3% qoq. In the US we’ll get the October trade balance reading, with the final Q3 nonfarm productivity and unit labour costs data also scheduled for release. Factory orders data for the month of October is also due along with this month’s IBD/TIPP economic optimism index reading. Lastly, final durable and capital goods orders revisions for October will be released.</p> <p><strong>US Event Calendar</strong></p> <ul> <li>8:30am: Trade Balance, Oct., est. -$42.0b (prior -$36.4b)</li> <li>8:30am: Non-farm Productivity, 3Q F, est. 3.3% (prior 3.1%) </li> <li>8:55am: Redbook weekly sales</li> <li>10am: Factory Orders, Oct., est. 2.6% (prior 0.3%) ; Durable Goods Orders, Oct. F, est. 3.4% (prior 4.8%); Capital Goods Orders Non-Defense Ex-Aircraft, Oct F (prior 0.4%)</li> <li>10am: IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism, Dec. (est. 51.4)</li> <li>4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories</li> </ul> <p><strong>DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap</strong></p> <p>Had you known in advance the outcomes of all the three big events of the year (Brexit, US elections and the Italian referendum) would it have helped you make money? It's not obvious that it would, especially if your timing was slightly off. Clearly there are some assets where the impact would have been fairly obvious but the wider markets have been more difficult to second guess. For us the Italy 'no' result was relatively well priced in given the likely immediate ramifications but we still would have expected the jitters for longer than the 2 minutes the European markets took to bottom out yesterday morning. With Italy it's still possible that post the rejection everything stays similar in the government apart from PM Renzi who as we know tendered his resignation yesterday. So the market is giving Italy the benefit of the doubt for now even if there was some underperformance of Italian risk yesterday.</p> <p>Indeed the FTSE MIB initially dropped -2.20% at the open but that fall proved short lived with the index then rebounding and peaking a shade above +1.50% a short time later. Thereafter, the index swung in and out of positive and negative territory before finishing the day down a modest -0.21%. That was in the context of a +0.56% gain for the Stoxx 600 and an impressive +1.63% jump for the DAX. Unsurprisingly much of the focus was on how banks would fare. While the Stoxx 600 banks index closed up a fairly resilient +0.76% there were notable heavy falls for the likes of Banco Popolare di Milano (-7.91%), Banco Popolare (-7.44%), Mediobanca (-4.24%) and Unicredit (-3.36%) as the market questioned the likelihood of some of the ongoing bank recapitalisation plans going ahead.<br />It was a similar story in credit markets although the underperformance of financials generally was more obvious. The iTraxx Main index ended the day little changed but did wipe out an early 3bp move wider, while the iTraxx Crossover index finished 5bps tighter. Senior financials did end 3bps wider however while subordinated financials were over 6bps wider by the end of play. Of the four Italian banks within the latter index, Mediobanca spreads were 3bps wider while spreads for Intesa Sanpaolo, Generali and Unicredit were 8bps to 10bps wider. So some underperformance but as we mentioned at the top perhaps some signs that the market is giving Italy the benefit of the doubt for now.</p> <p>Over in sovereign bond markets 10y BTP yields finished the day 8.3bps higher at 1.981% which compares to a 5.0bp move higher for similar maturity Bund yields. The remainder of the periphery was actually little changed. Elsewhere the Euro traded in a near 3% range. After tumbling as much as -1.50% early in the Asia session it then rallied as Europe kicked into gear and actually closed up +0.94% on the day. The US session was for the most part a reflection of the reasonably positive sentiment. The S&amp;P 500 closed up +0.58% and 10y Treasury yields ended a modest 1bp higher at a shade below 2.400%.<br />While we expect the political situation to move fairly swiftly it’s still worth considering the medium-term consequences for Italy in the wake of the result. In his note following the result yesterday, DB’s Marco Stringa made the important reminder that the referendum was a catalyst rather than the cause of Italy’s complex situation. The complexity is due to disappointing growth, concerns about the banking system and the rise of populist and euro-sceptic parties. At least initially, Marco does not expect to revise down GDP projections as the "No" outcome was his central case scenario. The likelihood of a systemic solution for the NPL issue will influence the medium-term evolution of the Italian banking sector and banks' ability to support investment growth. Marco expects no pro-active systemic solution for the banking sector before the next election. He also expects a new electoral law for both Houses of the Parliament. In his opinion, it is important that a compromise on a new electoral law does not lead to a system that encourages the formation of governments supported by overly heterogeneous coalitions. </p> <p>Politics was the overwhelmingly dominating theme throughout yesterday. Along with digesting the Italian referendum outcome, there was also some focus on a Sunday Times article confirming the UK Government’s plans to potentially pay into the EU budget for access to the single market, something which PM May is calling a ‘grey Brexit’, i.e. in between the black and white demands of leave and remain hardliners. So further evidence that the UK government is becoming increasingly pragmatic from the early hard line stance. As a reminder the Supreme Court hearing continues today.</p> <p>Elsewhere, news also tricked in late in the day that Eurozone finance ministers had agreed to provide short term debt relief measures for Greece prepared by the European Stability Mechanism, although they seemingly failed to form a consensus on a broader accord for various reform targets and measures. Significantly, the participation of the IMF in the bailout program appears to still be up in the air with talks breaking up last night over splits in the various reform targets. According to the FT, Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, confirmed that getting the IMF on board by the end of the year is unlikely and that instead talks will continue into the New Year. Meanwhile over in France, the latest update there is that Prime Minister Manuel Valls has declared that he will run for presidency as had been somewhat expected following the news that Hollande had ruled himself out of contention.</p> <p>Refreshing our screens this morning it’s been a broadly positive session in Asia this morning. Markets have largely followed the lead from the moves in Europe and on Wall Street last night with the Nikkei (+0.53%), Hang Seng (+0.86%), Shanghai Comp (+0.08%), Kospi (+1.32%) and ASX (+0.81%) all edging higher. EM currencies are also generally a touch stronger, while the Aussie Dollar has weakened modestly (about -0.17% as type) after the RBA left rates on hold as expected.</p> <p>Moving on. As far as the economic data was concerned yesterday, it was on the whole relatively positive. The primary focus in the US was on the November ISM non-manufacturing print which was reported as rising 2.4pts to 57.2 and well exceeding expectations for a rise to 55.5. That is in fact the best reading since October 2015 and whilst the details revealed a modest decline in new orders (by 0.7pts to 57.0) there were gains across components of business activity, employment and new export orders. It was noted that the employment component in particular, which came in at 58.2, is the 5th largest print since the start of the series in 1997. Meanwhile, the final services PMI reading for November was revised down a modest 0.1pts to 54.6 which puts the composite at 54.9 and unchanged versus October. Lastly the labour market conditions index for November was reported as rising by 1.5pts in November which is the best monthly gain since July.</p> <p>In Europe the data was focused on the final November PMI readings. There was a bit of disappointment in the final services revision for the Euro area which was revised down from 54.1 to 53.8 largely as a result of a 1pt downward revision in France to 51.6. Putting it in context however that reading for the Euro area is still the highest this year while the composite level of 53.9 is also the highest in 2016. The most interesting takeaway was the data for the non-core and specifically Italy where the services reading printed at a bumper 53.3 (vs. 51.6 expected), up 2.3pts from October and the highest level since February. Our European economists highlighted that, should the data for the Euro area remain unchanged in December, then the composite PMI would point to GDP growth of +0.4% qoq in Q4 and so represents some upside to their current estimate.</p> <p>Before we look at today’s calendar, yesterday also marked the last day for Fedspeak prior the blackout period kicking in, although again there was little new that could move the dial. NY Fed President William Dudley opined that ‘it is important that fiscal and monetary policy are well aligned going forward’ and that ‘there appears to be few imbalances in the economy that could lead to the current expansion ending’. Perhaps more interestingly, Dudley acknowledged the recent tightening in financial conditions but also suggested that that he does not see this as prompting great concern and instead said that it seems broadly consistent given that it’s being driven by a greater likelihood of stronger near-term aggregate demand and less downside risk to the growth outlook. Meanwhile Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said that the Fed needs to be patient to ‘see what fiscal program emerges’ but that he see’s every reason to think that the economy is to ‘stay strong for the next few years given Trump administration’s planned policies’.</p> <p>Looking at the day ahead, the early data out this morning in Europe comes from Germany where the October factory orders data will be released. Later this morning we’ll get the final revisions to Q3 GDP in the Euro area along with the growth components. No change from the +0.3% qoq flash print is expected. This afternoon in the US we’ll firstly get the October trade balance reading, with the final Q3 nonfarm productivity and unit labour costs data also scheduled for release. Factory orders data for the month of October is also due along with this month’s IBD/TIPP economic optimism index reading. Lastly, final durable and capital goods orders revisions for October will be released.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="780" height="506" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> API ASX 200 Aussie Australia Australian Dollar B+ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Bond Business Business Cartels Chicago Fed China Commodity markets Copper Crude Crude Oil DAX 30 Dow 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average Economy Eni Equity Markets Euro Stoxx 50 European Central Bank European Union EUROSTOXX 50 Eurozone federal government Federal Reserve fixed flash France French government FTSE 100 FTSE MIB Germany Greece headlines India International Monetary Fund Italy Japan Jim Reid Market Conditions Mexico Middle East Middle East Monetary Policy Monte Paschi MSCI Emerging Markets Nikkei Nikkei 225 NY Fed OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries People's Bank of China Petroleum Petroleum industry Price of oil Reserve Bank of Australia Reuters S&P 500 S&P GSCI Saxo Bank SocGen STOXX Stoxx 600 Stoxx 600 Banks Stoxx 600 energy Supreme Court Trade Balance Trump Administration Turkey UK Government US Federal Reserve William Dudley Yuan Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:36:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 579716 at 'Footloose' Comes To Brussels - Europe Unleashes "Dance Tax" <p>&quot;Everybody cut loose&quot;.. but be prepared to pay for it in Europe. As <a href="">Martin Armstrong notes,</a> <strong>if you dance in a bar in Brussels, you must pay a tax!</strong></p> <p><strong>The patrons of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Bonnefooi</a>, a cafe in the center of Brussels,</strong> last week received a visit from a City inspector.</p> <p><img height="300" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The inspector asked them to pay the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;tax dance.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;</strong></span>Yes you read correctly.&nbsp;Brussels has a &ldquo;dancing tax&rdquo; written in the 50&acute;s and <strong>as the government needs money, they have &ldquo;revitalized&rdquo; this tax since 2014</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>For every customer who dances in a bar&nbsp;the owner has to pay &euro;0.40 per night.</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;They sent incognito&nbsp;civil servants to uphold this law.</p> <p><strong>There is an endless supply of old laws still on the books that have not been enforced, yet could be to raise money.</strong> In Florida, you are not allowed to have construction workers around on weekends. In some states, old laws required you to pull your car off the road if it frightened a horse. If the horse was still terrified, you were required to dissemble your car until the horse was calm.</p> <p>They tried outlawing condoms back in the 1950s. That went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965&nbsp;under&nbsp;Griswold v.&nbsp;Connecticut&nbsp;(1965), where the Supreme Court ruled that a state&rsquo;s ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. The case concerned a&nbsp;Connecticut&nbsp;law that criminalized the encouragement or use of birth control. Since the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare as a tax, anything goes. They can put a special tax on condoms and get away with that one and rake in billions.</p> <p>Welcome to the world of collapsing socialism. <strong>This is where government get&#39;s to rip us all off to survive.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="613" height="306" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Birth control in the United States Florida Griswold v. Connecticut Law Law Martin Armstrong Obamacare Taxation in the United States U.S. Supreme Court Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 579663 at WikiLeaks Documents Reveal Sinister Relations Between Erdogan And ISIS <p>Back in November 2015, when the world (or at least parts of it) was trying to answer one simple question: <em><strong>where does ISIS get its money</strong></em>, we first provided the answer in "<a href="">Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President</a>." Subsequent articles such as "<a href="">ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers", Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection</a>" only shed more light on the illegal cash-for-oil transfer taking place between Turkey's ruling family and the Islamic State. Ultimately, the highly illegal bilateral trade (which the west had quietly averted its attention away from) faded and eventually stopped entirely following the expansion of the Russian bombing campaign which cut off the main trade routes between Turkey and Islamic State oil producers, which in some ways was good news for Turkey, as it avoided being shamed internationally for its role in supporting the terrorist organization.</p> <p>That, however, changed today following today's <a href="">article by the Press Project </a>which has found WikiLeaks evidence highlighting "<a href="">sinister relations between Erdogan and ISIS</a>" and transformed yet another conspiracy theory into non-conspiratorial fact.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 560px; height: 299px;" /></a></p> <p>As author <a href="">Thanos Kamilialis writes</a>, the connection of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoga?s family with the oil smuggling of the “Islamic State” is revealed after Wikileaks? revealing of emails from the Turkish energy minister, and Erdogan?s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak. Albayrak?s emails seem to confirm the not-so-recent accusations, since the energy minister is appealing to be the “unofficial” owner of the oil company Powertrance which is importing oil from the Isis land in Northern Irak to Turkey.</p> <p><em>This is the full story of the relationship between Turkey and the Islamic State:</em></p> <p><strong>WikiLeaks documents highlight sinister relations between Erdogan and ISIS</strong></p> <p>At the end of September 2015 a Turkish Marxist hacking organization, Red Hack, claimed that it has access to almost 20 gigabyte of data from&nbsp; Albayrak's personal email accounts. Information and articles regarding the email's content began to go online, however the Turkish justice&nbsp; system decided against the publication and reproduction of the emails, thus implying their authenticity. <strong>The newest accusations that the Turkish government - and, specifically,&nbsp; members of Erdogan's family- has an active role in the oil smuggling from areas that are controlled by the “Islamic State”, were between the most important subjects that were temporarily released.</strong> The leaking of all the emails from the Turkish energy minister by Wikileaks seem to confirm these allegations.</p> <p>The accusations against the Turkish government -and most specifically, Albayrak- became even more intense after the shooting down of the Russian aircraft by the Turkish forces on the 24th of November 2015. As well as imposing sanctions to Turkey, Russia also<a href="" target="_blank"> accused</a> Erdogan and his family of involvement in the oil smuggling. In order to support those accusations, Russia delivered satellite images which reveal the routes of the oil from the ISIS grounds to Turkey.&nbsp; A similar <a href="" target="_blank">research</a> was conducted by the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and came to the conclusion that the oil transported from the “Islamic State's” territories to Turkey is sold in low price. Meanwhile, the American government has <a href="" target="_blank">also mentioned</a> the ISIS' oil ends up, through a process, in Turkey. The Turkish president <a href="" target="_blank">vowed to resign</a> if these allegations correspond to reality.</p> <p>Albayrak's emails do indeed prove the Russian accusations, and so do the various <a href="" target="_blank">international media features </a>which connected him to the oil smuggling. Albayrak appears to act as the unofficial consultant of the oil company Powertrans, which by law is the only oil company allowed to import and export oil to and from Turkey. In about 32 subjected Powertrans emails which he has received, he is asked for his opinion regarding the future actions of the company and his approval in matters such as the organization chart, and the <a target="_blank">hiring </a>and <a href="" target="_blank">wages of new executives</a>.</p> <p><strong>Powertrans' oil monopoly</strong></p> <p>The ownership of Powertrans is not clear. As <a href="" target="_blank">World Policy analyzes</a>, the equities of the company have weirdly “travelled” from Istanbul to Singapore&nbsp; and from there to the Virgin Islands. The published&nbsp; information suggests that the real owner of Powertrans is now Calik Holding, behind which stands Albayrak.</p> <p>In spite of this fact though, the Turkish government has offered Powertrans the monopoly in oil importing and exporting, in a case which often reminds the “photographic” laws and amendments that are often met in Greece. In November 2011, the Turkish government voted for a law that bans every kind of oil transport in and outside of the country. In the same law, there was a provision of an exception if the oil transportation would serve the interests of the country. A few months later, Erdogan's government decided to give the exclusive privilege of oil commerce to Powertrans, which he expanded by law, in 2014, by giving the company the monopoly as well.</p> <p>In the leaked emails published by The Press Project's official partner, Wikileaks, the connection between the turkish Energy minister , and Erdogan's son-in-law, with Calik Holding and Powertrans seems rather clear. There are about 30 emails which Albayrak exchanges with Betül Y?lmaz&nbsp; -officially the human resources manager of Calik Holding. In almost every conversation between them, the subject is clearly Powertrans, while&nbsp; Yilmaz is constantly asking for his approval in any company's staff change, mentioning -for example- the <a href="" target="_blank">planning of the organization chart</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">future hirings </a>and <a href="" target="_blank">wages</a>. The email exchange between Albayrak and Yilmaz lasts for three years, from 2012 until 2015. In <a href="" target="_blank">another email</a>, dated August 9th 2015, Albayrak talks with Ekrem Kele? who used to work for Calik Holding and is now a member of the staff of Powertrans, The two men discussed the marketing strategy of the company in Northern Iraq.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 560px; height: 271px;" /></a></p> <p>Perhaps the most strange result, regarding Albayrak's relation to Powertrans, in the emails is found in a conversation of the Turkish Energy minister and his lawyer, Mustafa Dogan Inal. The two men <a href="" target="_blank">talk</a> ahead of a rebuttal statement regarding the relations between Albayrak and Powertrans.&nbsp; Dogan Inal had written that “my client has no longer any ties to the company” and Albayrak corrects him by writing “what is that supposed to mean? I never had any ties to the company!”. The rebuttal statement was going to be published in the end of 2015, while Albayrak <a href="" target="_blank">denied his connection</a> to the company again in October 2016, after the Redhack attack. There are of course tens of emails which mention the company and prove the opposite. However, given that&nbsp; any mentioning of Powertrans stop after the conversation with his lawyer about the rebuttal, there is a chance that Albayrak either pulled out of the company, or kept a distance from its management, under the pressure of the allegations.</p> <p><strong>Oil: Isis' treasure</strong></p> <p>Although in the past weeks the reporting of international media mention that, due to its retreat, ISIS has -partially or totally- the control of important oil wells, for more than two years oils smuggling was the basic financing of this terrorist group. In 2014, The Guardian presented a graphic with the oil transporting routes, from the ISIS to Turkey, Iran and Jordan. </p> <p>In October 2015, the <a href="" target="_blank">Financial Times revealed</a> that the average production of the ISIS' oil was 34.000-40.000 barrels per day, which they sold for 20-45 dollars each. This meant that they had <a href="" target="_blank">1.5 million dollars daily income </a>from oil, which was used to fund their fighters in military and terrorist operations.&nbsp; In July 2016, the Washington Post presented <a href="" target="_blank">satellite photos</a> and claimed that the “Islamic State's” income from oil have decreased by almost 50% but remain high, at about 20 million dollars per month.</p> <p>The route of oil from the ISIS-controlled oil wells to Turkey was revealed by satellite photos which were published by Russia in December 2015. According to Russia, the oil is <a href="" target="_blank">transported by third routes</a>.</p> <ul> <li>The west route, which starts at the “capital” of the ISIS, Rakka, and goes through the camp of Azaz in the Turkish border. From there, the oil is transported -according to the Russian Defense ministry- to Reyhanli and then parts of it are channeled to the Turkish market while the rest reaches the Mediterranean via the ports of&nbsp; Iskenderun and&nbsp;Dortyol.</li> <li>Another central route starts from Deir Ez-zour&nbsp;in Syria, goes through the Al-Qamishli area and from there to the Turkish town of Batman.</li> <li>The third route, according to the Russian ministry, runs from Eastern Syria and West Iraq to the Southeastern corner of Turkey.</li> </ul> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The photos and documents presented by Russia and the international Media show that ISIS' oil ends up in various areas of Turkey and the only company that -based on the Turkish legislation- can realize this transportation is Powertrans. Until today, Albayrak and Erdogan refuse any relation to this company. The emails of the Turkish minister of Energy, prove the opposite.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="900" height="480" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Albayrak American government Berat Albayrak Bilal Erdo?an Crude Eastern Syria Erdogan's government Government Greece Iran Iraq Isis Israel Mediterranean northern Iraq Norway Oil production and smuggling in ISIL Politics Politics of Turkey Reality Recep Tayyip Erdo?an Russian Defense Ministry Turkey Turkish government Turkish people West Iraq WikiLeaks Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:57:51 +0000 Tyler Durden 579695 at Goldman Sachs US Equity Strategy: "Hope" <p style="text-align: justify;">Now that we've entered the final month of trading for 2016, it's time for Goldman economist David Kostin to opine on what will happen in 2017 (mind you we still don't know for certain if the Fed will hike or not this month, although it does appear fairly certain they will.) Following a tough 2016 that has <a href="">beaten analysts down to the point of losing their minds</a>, Kostin believes 2017 will see the S&amp;P 500 reaching 2400 in Q1 before fading out to 2300. He <a href="">still believes</a> Op EPS growth will be 10%. The breakdown of his outlook comes in two parts, Hope and Fear. His "Hope" is geared toward "positive EPS revisions from lower corporate taxes, repatriation of overseas cash, less regulation, and fiscal stimulus." On the other side, Kostins fears the restrictive nature budget deficits can have on tax reforms, along with rising inflation forcing the Fed to "tighten promptly", and a continued rise in bond yields. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Kostin "fundamentals" breakdown is as follows:</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Economy</strong>: In 2017, US GDP will grow by 2.2%; PCE inflation will climb to 1.8%, and GS economics forecasts 1.4% fed funds by year-end.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Earnings</strong>: Operating EPS will rise by 10% to $116 while adjusted EPS rises 5% to $123. Repatriated cash will help buybacks jump by 30%.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Valuation</strong>: <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>S&amp;P 500 index trades at an elevated valuation (85th percentile) on most metrics</strong></span></em>. Median stock trades at the 98th percentile.</li> <li style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Money </strong>Flow: Potential upside risk as investors shift assets away from bonds as rates rise and into domestic stocks as USD appreciates.</li> </ul> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="374" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">And his "strategies" breakdown:</p> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li><strong>High US sales</strong>: Constituents have 100% US sales (vs. 73% for S&amp;P 500) and are insulated from FX headwinds and trade policy risks.</li> <li><strong>High tax rates</strong>: Constituents have the highest effective tax rates for past decade (38%) and will benefit from tax reform.</li> <li><strong>Low labor costs</strong>: Stocks with low labor costs as % of sales (3%) should be insulated from a rising wage inflation environment.</li> <li><strong>Strong balance sheets</strong>: Stocks with strong balance sheets (high Altman Zscores) will benefit in a rising rate regime.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify;">Furthermore, Kostin sees the spread between operating EPS and adjusted EPS tightening further $12 to $7 and remaining at $7 for the next couple years. He also believes that 2.1% US GDP growth (which is much lower than what the <a href="">Atlanta Fed's GDPNow forecast was lowered to just last week</a>) will contribute $5 to the S&amp;P 500 pperating EPS estimate which he sees being $116/share in 2017.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="316" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">At the end of the day however, it's strickly demand that moves prices, not the fundamentals as we have learned, and Kostin is most bullish after witnessing an unprecedented in-flow of capital into equities which resulted in a massive ramp to Goldman's proprietary Rotation Index indicator:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="575" height="254" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Surprisingly enough, after nearly a decade of this Fed driven rally, the strong balance names are the laggards, so should we be expecting all this investor demand for stocks to be contained to only the weak balance sheet firms? </p> <p><img src="" width="575" height="240" /></p> <p>As more and more people pile into stocks, remember, we'll all get out in time once the market realizes it is upside down and backwards in it's anlaysis. </p> <p><img src="" width="409" height="289" /></p> Atlanta Fed Bond Business Economy Finance Fundamental analysis goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Gross domestic product Inflation S&P 500 Tax US Federal Reserve Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:56:16 +0000 CalibratedConfidence 579709 at Make No Mistake: Russia Remains The Only Target Country Of NATO's Nuclear Weapons <p><em><a href="">Submitted by Brian Cloughley via,</a></em></p> <p><strong>Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the world&rsquo;s five &laquo;nuclear weapons states&raquo;,</strong> a description officially recognised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">lays down</a>&nbsp;that &laquo;each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices&hellip;&raquo;</p> <p>It is apparent that the word &lsquo;transfer&rsquo; involves ownership and not location, because <strong>the United States has transferred many nuclear weapons to countries which, although members of the US-NATO military alliance, are not nuclear weapons states</strong>. An&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">analysis</a>&nbsp;by the&nbsp;Nuclear Threat Initiative&nbsp;indicates that the US has positioned 160-200 B-61 nuclear warheads &laquo;at six bases in five NATO countries: Belgium (10-20), Germany (10-20), Italy (60-70), Netherlands (10-20), and Turkey (60-70)&raquo;.</p> <p>According to a NATO&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>&nbsp;of December 2015, &laquo;<em><strong>A number of NATO member countries contribute a dual-capable aircraft (DCA) capability to the Alliance.</strong></em> These aircraft are available for nuclear roles at various levels of readiness &ndash; the highest level of readiness is measured in weeks. In their nuclear role, the aircraft are equipped to carry nuclear bombs and personnel are trained accordingly&raquo;.</p> <p><strong>The claim that the readiness level is measured in weeks is intriguing, because, as indicated in the US-NATO&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Readiness Action Plan</a>&nbsp;of October 2015, the entire alliance is gearing up for war against Russia </strong>and, among other blatantly provocative initiatives, is &laquo;Raising the readiness and capabilities of the Multinational Corps Northeast Headquarters in Szczecin, Poland and enhancing its role as a hub for regional cooperation&raquo;.</p> <p><strong>NATO&rsquo;s policy of confrontation with Russia is causing some disquiet in western Europe,</strong> whose citizens are kept in the dark about the depth and demands of the military alliance to which their countries are committed, such as their aircraft being &laquo;equipped to carry nuclear bombs&raquo;. It is policy that the US B-61 nuclear weapons stored in Europe are delivered to targets by aircraft of the Belgian, Dutch, German and Italian air forces.</p> <p><strong>NATO&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">declares</a>&nbsp;that &laquo;Nuclear weapons are a core component of the Alliance&rsquo;s overall capabilities for deterrence and defence alongside conventional and missile defence forces&raquo;. </strong>This strategy was approved at its 2012 Summit in Chicago, but had been evident for many years and had been continued in spite of the ending of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, a quarter of a century ago. Since then NATO has maintained a firm nuclear posture, but the question that was never asked in the post-Cold War years of NATO&rsquo;s expansion towards Russia&rsquo;s borders was &laquo;against whom are your nuclear weapons directed?&raquo;</p> <p><strong>There could be only one target country</strong>. What nation other than Russia could possibly interest the US-NATO military alliance? It is unlikely that the Brussels headquarters of NATO, the regional office of the Pentagon, is considering using nuclear weapons against any other country in the world. Even in the course of its catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Libya it couldn&rsquo;t have possibly considered a nuclear option.</p> <p>Large numbers of US nuclear weapons systems were withdrawn from Europe at the end of the Cold War, but many remain, in the embrace of NATO, which <strong>Brussels uncompromisingly&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">states</a>&nbsp;will &laquo;remain a nuclear alliance&raquo; for &laquo;as long as nuclear weapons exist&raquo;.</strong></p> <p>At the manifestly anti-Russian NATO Summit in Warsaw in July it was&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">noted</a>&nbsp;by&nbsp;Arms Control&nbsp;that &laquo;<strong>Leaders of the 28 member countries of NATO strongly criticized Russian nuclear behaviour and reaffirmed the security role played by US nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.</strong> The sections of the alliance statement, or communiqué, devoted to nuclear weapons are nearly three times as long as those issued at the 2014 summit in the United Kingdom&raquo;. It is not surprising that Russia was criticised &mdash; but it is NATO that has been performing nuclear antics.</p> <p>For many years before the 2016 Warsaw summit, NATO had been deploying aircraft all round Europe that were capable of delivering nuclear weapons against Russia.<strong> The only difference in recent times is that NATO, as&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">recorded</a>&nbsp;by&nbsp;Arms Control&nbsp;in June 2016, &laquo;is beefing up its nuclear posture.</strong> Polish F-16s participated for the first time on the sidelines of a NATO nuclear strike exercise at the end of 2014. As a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, four B-52 bombers flew a nuclear strike mission over the North Pole and the North Sea in a bomber exercise in April 2015. Although these planes did not have nuclear weapons on board, they were equipped to carry 80 nuclear air-launched cruise missiles&raquo;.</p> <p>It goes further than that, because NATO&rsquo;s most recent nuclear-associated deployments to the Baltic have involved aircraft from Belgium&rsquo;s 10th&nbsp;Tactical Wing which is based at Kleine Brogel Air Base and flies US-supplied F-16 nuclear-capable strike aircraft. NATO&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">reported</a>&nbsp;that four of them are currently conducting missions from Ämari Air Base in Estonia, in order &laquo;to guard the Baltic skies against unauthorised overflights&raquo; and that their duties included &laquo;intercepting Russian aircraft flying in international airspace at the Baltic borders&raquo;.</p> <p>According to NATO, the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Mission</a>&nbsp;of the 10th&nbsp;Tactical Wing is &laquo;<em><strong>to generate air power effects in the full operational spectrum by putting into action the best combat ready people and equipment to execute or support both conventional and nuclear operations in a joint,</strong></em> national or multinational environment, anytime and anywhere, in the most proficient, safe and efficient manner&raquo;. So it sends four of 10 Wing&rsquo;s nuclear-capable F-16s, flown by nuclear-delivery trained pilots to Estonia to guard the Baltic skies.</p> <p><strong>In Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia the Alliance has&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">established</a>&nbsp;&laquo;NATO Force Integration Units&raquo;</strong> which are advanced military headquarters whose Mission is &laquo;to improve cooperation and coordination between NATO and national forces, and prepare and support exercises and any deployments needed&raquo;. The relentless expansion of US-NATO forces right up to Russia&rsquo;s borders continues apace, with formation of a &laquo;new standing Joint Logistic Support Group Headquarters, to support deployed forces&raquo;.</p> <p><strong>NATO is on a war footing</strong>, and has made it clear that &laquo;nuclear weapons are a core component of the Alliance&rsquo;s overall capabilities&raquo;. The Belgian F-16 deployments, deliberately and provocatively in a most sensitive area on Russia&rsquo;s borders, together with creation of advanced military control organisations in eight countries, have been <strong>authorised and greeted with approval by western governments whose citizens have little understanding that the west&rsquo;s policy of confrontation is increasing tension day by day.</strong></p> <p>Russia has no intention of invading any of the Baltic nations, or, indeed, any other country. It has no interest whatever in becoming engaged in conflict that could result only in vast expenditure, no territorial gain of any value, and destruction of much-valued trade and other commercial arrangements.</p> <p><strong>Yet NATO&rsquo;s nuclear capabilities are to be&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">boosted</a>&nbsp;by an $8 billion upgrade to the B-61 nuclear bombs held in the US and five other NATO nations. </strong>This escalation in nuclear capabilities is consistent with NATO&rsquo;s deployment of nuclear-capable aircraft to countries on Russia&rsquo;s borders, and it can be hoped only that next year Washington will call a halt to the escalating confrontation caused by a military organisation that the President-elect perceptively called &laquo;obsolete&raquo;.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="247" height="150" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Belgium Bulgaria China Estonia Foreign relations France Germany Hungary International relations Italy Latvia Law Lithuania NATO NATO–Russia relations Netherlands North Atlantic Treaty Organization Nuclear proliferation Nuclear sharing Nuclear strategies Nuclear warfare Nuclear weapon Pentagon Poland Politics Romania Slovakia State Party Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Turkey United Kingdom Vladimir Putin War western Europe Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 579699 at How U.S. Colleges Sell Enrollment to the Highest Bidders <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p>This past Friday, <em>Reuters</em> published one of the most important articles I&rsquo;ve read in a while relative to the attention being paid to the issue. It details a streamlined practice through&nbsp;which <strong>Chinese &ldquo;education&rdquo; companies essentially bribe college admissions officers at top U.S. universities to accept tuition paying Chinese students</strong>. It&rsquo;d be bad enough if these students were actually qualified, but in many cases these companies complete&nbsp;the entirety of the applications for the students, including writing their essays. It&rsquo;s not uncommon for these student-clients to never see their own applications.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="671" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>Naturally, these companies couldn&rsquo;t pull off their sleazy&nbsp;scam without willing American partners.</strong> Enter&nbsp;Thomas Benson and&nbsp;Stephen Gessner, two eager-beaver members of our nation&rsquo;s celebrated &mdash; earn as much money as possible however possible without regard to the negative consequences to your fellow Americans &mdash; class.&nbsp;The entire story will make you sick, and it&rsquo;s just further proof of how cronyism, bribery and a complete lack of ethics has fully&nbsp;penetrated&nbsp;into virtually every single facet of American life. <strong>It&rsquo;s symptomatic&nbsp;of the debased, crooked Banana Republic economy&nbsp;we have become.</strong></p> <p>Without further ado, here are some excerpts from the must read article,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">How Top U.S. Colleges Hooked Up With Controversial Chinese Companies</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>SHANGHAI/SHELTER ISLAND, New York&nbsp;&ndash; Thomas Benson once ran a small liberal arts college in Vermont. Stephen Gessner served as president of the school board for New York&rsquo;s Shelter Island.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>More recently, they&rsquo;ve been opening doors for Chinese education companies seeking a competitive edge: getting their students direct access to admissions officers at top U.S. universities.&nbsp; </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Over&nbsp;the past seven years, Benson and Gessner have worked as consultants for three major Chinese companies. They recruited dozens of U.S. admissions officers to fly to China and meet in person with the companies&rsquo; student clients, with the companies picking up most of the travel expenses. Among the schools that participated: Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Two companies Benson and Gessner have represented &ndash; New Oriental Education &amp; Technology Group Inc&nbsp;and Dipont Education Management Group &ndash; offer services to students that go far beyond meet-and-greets with admissions officers.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Eight&nbsp;former and current New Oriental employees and 17 former Dipont employees told Reuters the firms have engaged in college application fraud, including writing application essays and teacher recommendations, and falsifying high school transcripts.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>The&nbsp;New Oriental employees&nbsp;said most clients lacked the language skills to write their own essays or personal statements, so counselors wrote them; only the top students did original work. New Oriental&nbsp;and Dipont&nbsp;deny condoning or wittingly engaging in application fraud.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Building on a model they pioneered for Dipont, Benson and Gessner helped&nbsp;New Oriental introduce its clients to U.S. admissions officers, linchpin players in the fast-growing business of supplying Chinese students a prestigious American education.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Beijing-based New Oriental is a behemoth. Founded in 1993, the company is China&rsquo;s largest provider of private education services, serving more than two million Chinese students a year.&nbsp;Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange.</strong> The company generates about $1.5 billion in annual net revenue from programs that include test preparation and English language classes. This&nbsp;year, about 10,000 of its clients were enrolled in American colleges and graduate schools.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>A New Oriental student contract&nbsp;reviewed by Reuters states that its services include &ldquo;writing or polishing&rdquo; parts of college applications. The contract says New Oriental will set up an email account on behalf of the client&nbsp;for communicating with colleges, keeping sole control of the password. Several former employees said some students never even saw their applications: The company controlled the entire process, including submitting the application to colleges.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The new insight into the business practices of Chinese education companies comes at a time when American colleges are relying more heavily on Chinese undergraduates, who tend to pay full tuition. <strong>Their numbers grew 9&nbsp;percent to 135,629 students in the 2015-2016 school year, representing nearly a third of all international undergraduates, according to the Institute of International Education.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Helping Chinese kids get into U.S. schools has become a significant industry, with hundreds of companies having sprung up in China to cash in.</strong> <strong>These businesses often charge large sums for services that sometimes include helping students cheat on standardized tests and falsifying their college applications.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Ghost-writing applications for students is so common in China that some who do it speak openly about the practice.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;I wrote essays and recommendation letters for students when I worked at New Oriental, which I still do right now for my own consultancy,&rdquo; former New Oriental employee David Shi told Reuters. &ldquo;I know there is an ethical dilemma but it&rsquo;s the nature of the industry.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Beginning in 2009, Gessner and Benson launched tours and summer camps for U.S. admissions officers to meet Dipont students in China and advise them on applying to colleges. Benson said he and Gessner recruited the universities through contacts in secondary and higher education.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>To establish credibility with the colleges, they said, they set up a New York-based non-profit called the Council for American Culture and Education Inc, or CACE. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;It was a more respectable way to work as consultants. It helped us to recruit colleges,&rdquo; said Gessner.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The strategy worked. The early participants included admissions officers from such prestigious institutions as Cornell, Stanford, Swarthmore College, Emory University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a class="c15" href="">Reuters reported in October</a>&nbsp;that the New York Attorney General&rsquo;s office planned to review the charity, which had failed to disclose its ties to Dipont in U.S. and New York State tax filings. The review could lead to a formal investigation if authorities find evidence that CACE violated New York law.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Reuters also reported&nbsp;that eight former Dipont employees had described how the company had engaged in application fraud, including writing essays for students and altering recommendation letters. Since the story, Reuters has interviewed nine additional former Dipont employees who gave similar accounts.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>To get the colleges to participate in the New Oriental trips, Benson and Gessner used the playbook they perfected at Dipont. Both Chinese companies paid airfare, hotel and other travel expenses for each of the admissions officers whom Benson and Gessner brought to China between 2009 and last year.&nbsp;&ldquo;They wouldn&rsquo;t go otherwise,&rdquo; Benson said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>The ethics code for college admissions officers doesn&rsquo;t address the propriety of such arrangements. Cigus Vanni, a retired high school counselor from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, said it was &ldquo;absolutely&rdquo; unethical for colleges to accept the money. He likened it to a &ldquo;pay-for-play&rdquo; scheme in which prospective Chinese students get special treatment. Many American applicants to elite U.S. colleges &ndash; which can receive five to 20&nbsp;applications for each available slot &ndash; don&rsquo;t get to directly interact with admissions officers. </em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re giving these people direct access to college admissions officers that no one else has,&rdquo; said Vanni, who serves on the admissions practices committee of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. &ldquo;And there&rsquo;s something expected in return for that.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Corrupt, crony, parasitic economic practices have now infected every single aspect of American life.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>New Oriental touts the benefits of this access to prospective clients. In promotional material on its website, the company described how, during the 2014 tour, it arranged for one of its students &ldquo;to have opportunities to have close contact with a Carleton admissions officer.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The testimonial ends with the young woman&nbsp;receiving an acceptance letter from Carleton College.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Olivia Qiu said she used New Oriental to apply to eight U.S. colleges in 2010. After completing a questionnaire, the counselors took over. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t write anything. They wrote everything for me,&rdquo; she said.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Qiu ultimately didn&rsquo;t attend any of those eight colleges. Before&nbsp;university, she took a job at New Oriental in Tianjin and said she wrote essays for students. Other employees, she said, wrote personal statements, supplemental essays and recommendation letters. &ldquo;Sometimes, the student didn&rsquo;t even see (the application) before they submitted it&rdquo; to colleges, she said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>She said she quit over ethical concerns. &ldquo;I just thought that&rsquo;s not right, that&rsquo;s not how you help students,&rdquo; she said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>A current New Oriental employee said he once falsified an entire high school transcript for a student.&nbsp;A&nbsp;former employee who worked in 2014 and 2015 compared New Oriental&rsquo;s college application process to an assembly line: One person was in charge of signing a service&nbsp;contract with parents, another compiling a college list, a third completing the application, and a fourth submitting it to universities.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>By early this year, Benson and Gessner had stopped working for New Oriental&nbsp;and were focusing on new markets, including India, Sri Lanka and Africa.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>But the duo hasn&rsquo;t abandoned China. In June, CICE&nbsp;organized a tour for admissions officers from seven U.S. colleges on behalf of another Chinese company, EIC Group.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Class act these guys.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>EIC Group paid CICE&nbsp;$35,000, according to Benson, and promoted the tour with an advertisement on its website. &ldquo;By &lsquo;schmoozing and exchanging ideas&rsquo; with admissions officers, you are halfway to a successful application to a famous school,&rdquo;&nbsp;said the Chinese-language ad. The ad disappeared after Reuters questioned the company about it.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Let&rsquo;s put the obvious ethical grotesqueness of it all aside for a moment and think about some of the real-world impacts of this pay-to-play pupil pipeline. With an ever growing supply of full tuition paying Chinese students waiting in the wings, what incentives do U.S. colleges have to keep tuition increases under control? Who cares if impoverished American debt slaves can afford an education or not? Like everything else in this sick society, it&rsquo;s all about the money.</p> <p><em>The Wall Street Journal</em>&nbsp;published a related article earlier this year titled:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Students Sows Discord on U.S. Campuses</a>, where we&nbsp;learned that the education english speaking students receive often suffers due to the need to accommodate the surge in poorly prepared Chinese students. For example:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Students such as Mr. Shao are finding themselves separated from their American peers, sometimes through choice. Many are having a tough time fitting in and keeping up with classes. <strong>School administrators and teachers bluntly say a significant portion of international students are ill prepared for an American college education, and resent having to amend their lectures as a result.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Rebecca Karl, a professor of Chinese history at New York University, puts it more starkly: <strong>She says Chinese students can pose a &ldquo;burden&rdquo; on her lectures, which she needs to modify for their benefit.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Practices like these are able to sustain themselves&nbsp;due to public ignorance. It is imperative that we become far more informed as citizens, and far more outraged. Educate your friends and family by sharing this article. </strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="570" height="300" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Application essay Carleton College China College admissions in the United States College application Cornell University Council for American Culture Cronyism Education Education Education in the United States Emory University Higher education in the United States India International student Michigan National Association for College Admission Counseling New Oriental New York State New York Stock Exchange New York University Reuters school board Stanford University Swarthmore College the University of Chicago the University of Michigan University and college admissions University of California University of California, Berkeley University Of Michigan Wall Street Journal Tue, 06 Dec 2016 04:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 579686 at