July 24/Gold and silver steady today/GLD loses another 9.62 tonnes and yet gold remains constant/EU sounds alarm bell if the USA passes more sanctions against Russia/Iran and USA exchange heated words/FBI seizes crushed hard drives of the AWAN brothers and also raid former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz/

GOLD: $1254.50  DOWN $0.25

Silver: $16.45  DOWN 4  cent(s)

Closing access prices:

Gold $1255.50

silver: $16.50









Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$8.71


LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX:  5:30 am est  $1255.85




For comex gold:



TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 151 FOR 15100 OZ    (.4696 TONNES)

For silver:



85,000  OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 3027 for 15,135,000 oz



Let us have a look at the data for today



 In ounces, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e.  1.037 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 148% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).



we had 2 notice(s) filed upon for 200 oz of gold.


With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:


Today a huge  change in gold inventory/ a massive withdrawal of 9.62 tonnes

Inventory rests tonight: 809.62 tonnes

for 7 consecutive days, gold either rises appreciably (for the first six days) or remains flat (today) and yet gold inventory drops at the GLD

(In the last 7 trading days gold rises $36.20 and yet GLD inventory collapses by 25.88 tonnes????)








First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:


(report Harvey)


2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report



2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY:  Bloomberg


i)Late SUNDAY night/MONDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 12.67 POINTS OR 0.39%   / /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 140,74 POINTS OR 0.53% The Nikkei closed DOWN 124.08 POINTS OR .53%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.39%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP at 6.7492/Oil UP to 46.17 dollars per barrel for WTI and 48.45 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED IN THE RED,, Offshore yuan trades  6.7431 yuan to the dollar vs 6.7492 for onshore yuan. NOW THE OFFSHORE IS STRONGER  TO THE ONSHORE YUAN/ ONSHORE YUAN  STRONGER (TO THE DOLLAR)  AND THE OFFSHORE YUAN IS MUCH  STRONGER TO THE DOLLAR AND THIS IS COUPLED WITH THE STRONGER DOLLAR. CHINA IS VERY HAPPY TODAY 





Very important;  China’s crackdown on the 4 big conglomerates has sent a shock wave across all markets:

The 4:  FOSUN, Dalian Anbang Insurance and Wanda

( zero hedge)




Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban explains that Soros with his huge funding apparatus seeking to take Muslims from war torn areas in Africa into Europe. He claims that he seeks the Muslimizaton of Europe:

( zero hedge)


The EU sound the alarm bell, if the USA passes new sanctions on Russia.  Germany threatens retaliation;

( zero hedge)

iii)Trump must make a decision:  let the Russian election fiasco continue and risk retaliatory measures by the EU or let this drop once and for all
( zero hedge)

iv)Where have we heard this line before:  the EU regulators are in bed with the German Auto Industry regarding the scandal in the faulty emissions. It looks like the regulators will give the cheaters time to solve their emissions problem but it sure seems that diesel is on its way out

( Mish Shedlock/Mishtalk)

v)Deutsche bank to move 300 billion euros of assets from London to Frankfurt due to BREXIT

( zero hedge)


 i) IRAN vs USA

Trump warns Iran: Iran rejects Trumps’ warnings.  Trump calls for the release of 3 prisoners: Levinson and the father/son Namazis. There has been another development where a Princeton University graduate  Wang has just been sentenced to 10 years for “spying”.

Ever since the goofball Obama gave the Iranians billions in cash for hostages, Iran has been on the rampage to receive money for the “spies”

( zero hedge)


What is this world coming to:  Palestinian President Abbas cuts off diplomatic ties with Israel (they really had none to begin with) because Israel set up metal detectors at the holy site of the Temple Mount (for Jews)0 and the Santuary (for Muslims) after a Palestinian attack killed 2 Israel soldiers on Friday night.

( zero hedge)



i)Horseman Global Capital’s  chairman, Russell Clark is an extremely smart individual.  He explains why they are going short on USA shale…

a must read..


( Russell Clark/zero hedge/Horseman Capital)

ii)This does not look good:  Yemeni forces strike a Saudi refinery with a long range ballistic missile

( Randi Nord/Geopliticsalert.com)


Venezuela is now heading towards default.  One of the big problems for the USA is Russia’s collateral of 49.9% of USA based Citgo (Rosneft). Having Russia own considerable downstream oil assets on USA soil is not particularly exciting for USA authorities

( zero hedge)


i)Panning for gold in Northern California returns


( Robertson/San Francisco Chronicle)

ii)A joke:  charges are dropped in the JPMorgan “whale” case after Bruno Iksil (the whale) accused Jamie Dimon of making him the fall guy

( McKenna/GATA))
iii)Koos Jansen has reservations in that the Dutch will not give him a gold bar list.
He explains his reservations!
( Koos Jansen/GATA)

10. USA Stories

early Saturday Trumps issues mega tweets on just about all topics:

( zero hedge)

ii)Mueller is trying to force Manafort to testify against Trump

(courtesy zero hedge)

iii)Kushner releases an 11 page statement whereby he denies collusion and confirms 4 meetins with Russian officials:

( zero hedge)

iiib)Get your popcorn ready!! The FBI has just seized the crushed hard drives from the Awan brothers as well as   the former head of the DNC: Wasserman Schultz

( zero hedge)

iv)Auto stocks were crushed on Friday after Autoliv slashes 2017 growth forecast by a huge 50%

( zero hedge)

v)A joke!! Soft data PMI manufacturing supposedly rebounds.  Yet European PMI’s hit 6 month lows


( zero hedge)


vi)Existing home sales go nowhere:  the slump in June is the weakest summer selling season since 2011

( zero hedge)

( David Stockman)

Let us head over to the comex:


We are now in the contract month of JULY and it is one of the POORER delivery months  of the year. .

The non active July contract GAINED 6 contract(s) to stand at 22 contracts. We had only 0 notices filed YESTERDAY morning, so we GAINED 6 contracts or an additional 600 oz will stand in this non active month of July.  Thus 0 EFP notice(s) were given for July which gives the long holder a fiat bonus plus a futures contract for delivery and most likely these are London based forwards.  The contracts are private so we do not get to see all the particulars. The next big active month is August and here the OI LOST 31,036 contracts DOWN to 149,651, as this month winds down prior to first day notice, Monday July 31.  The next non active contract month is September and here they GAINED another 0 contract to stand at 900. The next active delivery month is October and here we gained 1236 contracts up to 26,132.  October is the poorest of the active gold delivery months as most players move right to December.

We had 2 notice(s) filed upon today for 200 oz

For those keeping score: in the upcoming front delivery month of August:

On July 24.2017:  open interest for the front month: 149,651 contracts compared to July 25.2016:   180,687.



We are now in the next big active month will be July and here the OI LOST 37 contracts FALLING TO 134. We had 54 notices served  yesterday so we gained 17 notices or an additional  85,000 oz will stand at the comex, and 0 EFP contracts were issued which entitles them to receive a fiat bonus and a future delivery contract (which no doubt is a London based forward).

The month of August, a non active month GAINED 26 contracts to stand at 468.  The next big active delivery month for silver will be September and here the OI LOST ANOTHER 1061 contracts DOWN to 151,061.

The line in the sand is $18.50 for silver and again it has been defended by the criminal bankers.  Once this level is pierced, the monstrous billion oz of silver shorts will blow up. The bankers are defending the Alamo with their last stand at the $18.50 mark. THE NEW RECORD HIGH IN OPEN INTEREST WAS SET FRIDAY APRIL 21/2017 AT:  234,787.

As for the July contracts:

Initial amount that stood for silver for the July 2016 contract:  14.785 million  oz

Final standing JULY 2016:  12.370 million with the difference being EFP’s taking delivery in London.  Thus we have an increasing amount of silver standing in comparison to what happened a year ago

amt standing tonight: 15.630 million oz.

We had 17 notice(s) filed for 85,000 oz for the June 2017 contract

VOLUMES: for the gold comex

Today the estimated volume was 144,938 contracts which is fair/

Yesterday’s confirmed volume was 301,263 contracts  which is excellent

volumes on gold are STILL HIGHER THAN NORMAL!

Initial standings for JULY

 July 24/2017.

Gold Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory in oz   nil
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory in oz  
806.057 oz
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory in oz NIL  oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory, in oz 
107,761.622 oz
No of oz served (contracts) today
2 notice(s)
200 OZ
No of oz to be served (notices)
20 contracts
2000 oz
Total monthly oz gold served (contracts) so far this month
151 notices
15100 oz
.4696 tonnes
Total accumulative withdrawals  of gold from the Dealers inventory this month   NIL oz
Total accumulative withdrawal of gold from the Customer inventory this month   137,167.5 oz
Today we HAD  0 kilobar transaction(s)/ 
We had 0 deposit into the dealer:
total dealer deposits: nil oz
We had nil dealer withdrawals:
total dealer withdrawals:  0 oz
we had no dealer deposits:
total dealer deposits:  nil oz
we had 1  customer deposit(s):
 i) Into HSBC: 107,761.622
total customer deposits; 107,761.622  oz
this is the first time in quite some time that a huge amount of gold enters the comex gold
We had 3 customer withdrawal(s)
i) Out of Brinks: 104.02 oz
ii) Out of HSBC: 302.04 oz
iii) Out of Scotia; 399.997 iz
total customer withdrawals; 806.057 oz
 we had 0 adjustment(s)

Today, 0 notice(s) were issued from JPMorgan dealer account and 0 notices were issued from their client or customer account. The total of all issuance by all participants equates to 2  contract(s)  of which 0 notices were stopped (received) by j.P. Morgan dealer and 0 notice(s) was (were) stopped/ Received) by j.P.Morgan customer account.

To calculate the initial total number of gold ounces standing for the JULY. contract month, we take the total number of notices filed so far for the month (151) x 100 oz or 14,900 oz, to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of JUNE (22 contracts) minus the number of notices served upon today (2) x 100 oz per contract equals 17,100  oz, the number of ounces standing in this NON active month of JULY.
Thus the INITIAL standings for gold for the JULY contract month:
No of notices served so far (151) x 100 oz  or ounces + {(22)OI for the front month  minus the number of  notices served upon today (2) x 100 oz which equals 17,100 oz standing in this  active delivery month of JULY  (0.5318 tonnes)
We GAINED 6 contracts or AN ADDITIONAL 600 oz will stand and 0 EFP contract(s) was issued as described as above. However 15,000 +EFP’s were issued for the August contract month
Total dealer inventory 695,420.097 or 21.63 tonnes  (dealer gold continues to disappear)
Total gold inventory (dealer and customer) = 8,521,417.7 or 265.05 tonnes 
Over a year ago the comex had 303 tonnes of total gold. Today the total inventory rests at 265.05 tonnes for a  loss of 38  tonnes over that period.  Since August 8/2016 we have lost 89 tonnes leaving the comex. However I am including kilobar transactions and they are very suspect at best.
I have a sneaky feeling that these withdrawals of gold in kilobars are being used in the hypothecating process  and are being used in the raiding of gold!

The gold comex is an absolute fraud.  The use of kilobars and exact weights makes the data totally absurd and fraudulent! To me, the only thing that makes sense is the fact that “kilobars: are entries of hypothecated gold sent to other jurisdictions so that they will not be short with their underwritten derivatives in that jurisdiction.  This would be similar to the rehypothecated gold used by Jon Corzine at MF Global.
And now for silver
JULY INITIAL standings
 July 24 2017
Silver Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory  nil
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory
155,009.74 oz
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory
nil  oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory 
600,114.359 oz
No of oz served today (contracts)
(85,000 OZ)
No of oz to be served (notices)
117 contracts
( 585,000 oz)
Total monthly oz silver served (contracts) 3027 contracts (15,135,000 oz)
Total accumulative withdrawal of silver from the Dealers inventory this month  NIL oz
Total accumulative withdrawal  of silver from the Customer inventory this month 1,660,710.5 oz
today, we had  0 deposit(s) into the dealer account:
total dealer deposit: nil   oz
we had 0 dealer withdrawals:
total dealer withdrawals: NIL oz
we had 1 customer withdrawal(s):
i) out of CNT: 155,009.740 oz
We had 1 Customer deposit(s):
i) Into CNT: 600,114,359 oz
***deposits into JPMorgan have now stops again
In the month of March and February, JPMorgan stopped (received) almost all of the comex silver contracts.
why is JPMorgan bringing in so much silver??? why is this not criminal in that they are also the massive short in silver
total customer deposits: 600,114.359 oz
 we had 0 adjustment(s)
The total number of notices filed today for the JULY. contract month is represented by 17 contract(s) for 85,000 oz. To calculate the number of silver ounces that will stand for delivery in JULY., we take the total number of notices filed for the month so far at 3027 x 5,000 oz  = 15,135,000 oz to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of JULY (134) and the number of notices served upon today (17) x 5000 oz equals the number of ounces standing


Thus the INITIAL standings for silver for the JULY contract month:  3027 (notices served so far)x 5000 oz  + OI for front month of JULY.(134 ) -number of notices served upon today (17)x 5000 oz  equals  15,725,000 oz  of silver standing for the JULY contract month.
Volumes: for silver comex
Today the estimated volume was 32,671 which is fair
YESTERDAY’s  confirmed volume was 64,927 contracts which is EXCELLENT
Total dealer silver:  38.433 million (close to record low inventory  
Total number of dealer and customer silver:   213.892 million oz
The record level of silver open interest is 234,787 contracts set on April 21./2017  with the price at that day at  $18.42
The previous record was 224,540 contracts with the price at that time of $20.44

NPV for Sprott and Central Fund of Canada

1. Central Fund of Canada: traded at Negative 7.2 percent to NAV usa funds and Negative 7.1% to NAV for Cdn funds!!!! 
Percentage of fund in gold 62.7%
Percentage of fund in silver:37.2%
cash .+0.1%( July 24/2017) 
2. Sprott silver fund (PSLV): STOCK   NAV FALLS TO -0.03% (July 24/2017) 
3. Sprott gold fund (PHYS): premium to NAV FALLS TO -0.71% to NAV  (July 24/2017 )
Note: Sprott silver trust back  into NEGATIVE territory at -0.03/Sprott physical gold trust is back into NEGATIVE/ territory at -0.68%/Central fund of Canada’s is still in jail  but being rescued by Sprott.

Sprott’s hostile 3.1 billion bid to take over Central Fund of Canada

(courtesy Sprott/GATA)

Sprott makes hostile $3.1 billion bid for Central Fund of Canada

 Section: Daily Dispatches

From the Canadian Press
via Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News, Toronto
Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Toronto-based Sprott Inc. said Wednesday it’s making an all-share hostile takeover bid worth $3.1 billion US for rival bullion holder Central Fund of Canada Ltd.

The money-management firm has filed an application with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta seeking to allow shareholders of Calgary-based Central Fund to swap their shares for ones in a newly-formed trust that would be substantially similar to Sprott’s existing precious metal holding entities.

The company is going through the courts after its efforts to strike a friendly deal were rebuffed by the Spicer family that controls Central Fund, said Sprott spokesman Glen Williams.

“They weren’t interested in having those discussions,” Williams said.

 Sprott is using the courts to try to give holders of the 252 million non-voting class A shares a say in takeover bids, which Central Fund explicitly states they have no right to participate in. That voting right is reserved for the 40,000 common shares outstanding, which the family of J.C. Stefan Spicer, chairman and CEO of Central Fund, control.

If successful through the courts, Sprott would then need the support of two-thirds of shareholder votes to close the takeover deal, but there’s no guarantee they will make it that far.

“It is unusual to go this route,” said Williams. “There’s no specific precedent where this has worked.”

Sprott did have success last year in taking over Central GoldTrust, a similar fund that was controlled by the Spicer family, after securing support from more than 96 percent of shareholder votes cast.

The firm says Central Fund’s shares are trading at a discount to net asset value and a takeover by Sprott could unlock US$304 million in shareholder value.

Central Fund did not have any immediate comment on the unsolicited offer. Williams said Sprott had not yet heard from Central Fund on the proposal but that some shareholders had already contacted them to voice their support.

Sprott’s existing precious metal holding companies are designed to allow investors to own gold and other metals without having to worry about taking care of the physical bullion.


And now the Gold inventory at the GLD

July 24/A massive 9.62 tonnes withdrawal and yet the price remains constant (down only 25 cents)..inventory drops to 809.62 tonnes

July 21/with gold up $8.75 again, we had no changes in gold inventory at the GLD/inventory rests at 816.13 tonnes




July 17/strange again! with gold up $4.20 we had another huge withdrawal of 1.77 tonnes/inventory rests at 827.07 tonnes

July 14/strange@!!with gold up $12.00 today, we had a huge withdrawal of 3.55 tonnes/inventory rests at 828.84 tonnes

July 13/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/inventory rests at 832.39 tonnes

JULY 12/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/inventory rests at 832.39 tonnes

July 11/strange!@! we had a big withdrawal of 2.96 tonnes despite gold’s advance today/inventory rests tonight at 832.39 tonnes

July 10/no changes in gold inventory at the GLD/inventory rests at 835.35 tonnes

July 7/a massive withdrawal of 5.32 tonnes of paper gold were removed and this was used in the attack today/inventory rests at 835.35 tonnes

July 6/no changes in tonnage at the GLD/Inventory rests at 840.67 tonnes



June 30/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.66 tonnes

June 29/no change in inventory at the GLD/inventory rests at 853.66 tonnes

June 28/no change in inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.66 tonnes

June 27.2017/a deposit of 2.64 tonnes into the GLD/inventory rests at 853.66 tonnes

June 26/a withdrawal of 2.66 tonnes from the GLD and this gold no doubt was part of the raid/Inventory rests at 851.02

June 23/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes

June 22/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes

June 21/no change in gold inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes

June 20/no  change in gold inventory at the GLD//Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes


June 16/no changes in gold inventory at the GLD/Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes

June 15/ a monstrous “paper” withdrawal of 13.32 tonnes/Inventory rests at 853.68 tonnes

July 24 /2017/ Inventory rests tonight at 809.62 tonnes


Now the SLV Inventory

July 24/no change in silver inventory despite its 4 cent drop/inventory remains at 347.121 million oz




July 18/a huge 946,000 oz withdrawal from the SLV despite silver’s 16 cent gain!

Inventory rests at 348.066 million oz

July 17/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 349.012 million oz

July 14/no change in silver inventory/inventory rests at 349.012 million oz/

July 13/no change in silver inventory/inventory at the SLV rests at 349.012 million oz/

JULY 12/another massive 1.986 million oz of silver added into the SLV/inventory rests at 349.012 million oz/the last 3 days saw 7.281 million oz added into the SV

July 11/ANOTHER MASSIVE INCREASE OF 2.364 MILLION OZ into the SLV inventory/inventory rests at 347.026 million oz


July 7/Strange: no change in inventory (compare that with gold) Inventory rests at 341.731 million oz



July 3/strange! with the huge whacking of silver we got an increase of 379,000 oz into inventory.

June 30/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.226 million oz

June 29/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.226 million oz/

June 28/ a small withdrawal of 662,000 oz form the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.226 million oz/

June 27/no change in the silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.888 million oz/

June 26/no change in the silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.888 million oz/

June 23/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.888 million oz

June 22/ a big change; a huge deposit of 2.175 million oz into the SLV/Inventory rests at 339.888 million oz

June 21/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/inventory rests at 337.713 million oz

June 20/a deposit of 1.513 million oz/inventory rests at 337.713 million oz/.


June 16/no changes in inventory at the SLV/inventory rests at 336.200 million oz

June 15/ a massive “paper withdrawal” of 3.405 million oz of silver/Inventory rests at 336.200 million oz/

July 21.2017:
 Inventory 347.121  million oz
  • 6 Month MM GOFO

    Indicative gold forward offer rate for a 6 month duration

    + 1.19%
  • 12 Month MM GOFO
    + 1.45%
  • 30 day trend



Here is a review of the 3 latest comex waterfall (whacks) on gold and silver not including the current one we are undergoing.  I have taken the nadir of the gold price before it started to rise again and compared it to OI in both gold and silver with the OPEN INTEREST.  The OI readings are the following day but we are always one day behind so this compares exactly to the nadir price.
First waterfall ended Oct 6 2016/ Nadir price of gold at that date Oct 6 2016 : $1254.70 / OI for gold Oct 7/2016: 511,340//OI for silver/Oct 7.2016: 194,811
Second waterfall ended Dec 15.2016:Nadir Price of gold Dec 15.2016:      $1128.20              //OI for gold Dec 16/2016 401,798// OI for silver: Dec 16/16 161,570
Third waterfall ended May 10/2017: Nadir Price of gold May 10 2016:   $1220.95              //  OI for gold May 11: 425,252//  OI for silver May 11/17: 199,826
and for comparison while we are undergoing another waterfall these past several weeks
 Today’s price of gold $1255.00                                                                                                    OI for gold today: 463,798//Oi for silver  206,498
The first waterfall corresponds to a silver price of $17.30 on Oct 6
The second waterfall corresponds to a silver price of $15.90 on Dec 15
The third waterfall corresponds to a silver price of $17.37 on May 10
and today:  silver price of $16.48
Since the bottom of the second waterfall the price of gold at its nadir is about the same ($1220 and $1226), but the OI for gold is much higher along with silver OI also much higher. (425,252 and 463,798 OI for gold) accompanying  199,826 and 206,498 for silver)
It seems the data suggests power manipulation to control the price through paper!





Major gold/silver trading/commentaries for MONDAY



Commercial Property Market In Dublin Is Inflated and May Burst Again

Commercial Property Market Is Inflated and May Burst Again

by David McWilliams

Dublin property investors had better hope that Brexit happens soon.

They should also hope that it’s not just a ‘hard’ Brexit, but a granite Brexit — a Brexit that’s as hard as possible. They should be betting on the buffoonery of Boris Johnson, down on both knees praying for a massive barney between Davis and Barnier.

A granite Brexit might prompt the migration of hundreds of corporate refugees from isolated London to the freewheeling safe haven of Dublin. If Brexit doesn’t drive a massive uptake in demand for prime property, we are in for a massive wobble in our inflated commercial property market.

Before we remind ourselves how this property story goes, let’s have a look at the facts: the glossy brochures are back, stockbrokers are packaging all sorts of property-related products to “investors”, the price of ad space in the property porn sections of the press is surging and of course the skyline is full of cranes and Armagh flags.

CBRE – a property-flogging outfit – tells us there are currently 31 office schemes under construction in Dublin, which is more than 380,000sqm in the pipeline. They tell us that more than 30% of this stock is already let. It also gushes that 44% of the office stock due for completion before the end of this year has already been pre-let. Meanwhile, agents tell us that prime office rents in the Dublin market stand at approximately €673 sqm.

It looks like things couldn’t be healthier.

Office take-up in Dublin surged 101,000sqm in the past three months, bringing total take-up in the first half of this year to more than 150,000 sqm. That’s a lot of space. 81 individual large office lettings were signed in Dublin since March (45 to Irish companies; 18 to US firms and 11 to the Brits). This is more than double the figure for the period from January to March.

The market is tight, hence all the building. The vacancy rate in the city centre is only 4.5% and yields for investors are stable at 4.6%. This is only because rents have been surging to keep up with the soaring prices.

Before we get carried away, remember rents are a cost and Ireland is competing with other European countries, so let’s compare our prices, not with some of Europe’s poorest countries, but why not with its richest, Germany? This will give a bit of perspective.

Comparing our prices with similar rents in Germany, we see that Dublin is already massively more expensive. Prime rents in Frankfurt are €474 sqm per annum. Remember Dublin is charging €673 sqm. The difference — €199 per annum — means that Dublin is 42% more expensive than Germany’s most expensive city. Once you start comparing other German cities, the extent of Ireland’s commercial property rip-off becomes more evident. Take Munich, capital city of Germany’s richest province Bavaria. Prime rents in Munich are €420 sqm per annum. In Hamburg, Germany’s sophisticated northern powerhouse, prime rents are €312 sqm per annum, while in Dusseldorf, the cross-road of Europe, prime real estate will set you back €318 sqm per annum – less than half of what it costs you in Dublin.

In all German markets, vacancy rates are higher so that means there’s much more choice.

When the price of something as basic as office space is profoundly more expensive in a country that has a much lower economic footprint, much smaller population and less rich capital base, you should worry.

The rebound in the Dublin commercial property market has been significant… (see chart above)

Meanwhile the foreign investors have got out with their profit and the Irish are left thinking they can get rich by selling Ireland to each other.

Wait, haven’t we seen this before? Maybe Brexit will ensure a happy ending this time?

Dublin’s Commercial Market Praying for a Granite-Brexit – Read in full here

News and Commentary

Gold hits 4-week high on weaker equities, U.S. dollar (Reuters.com)

IMF cuts U.S. growth forecast for 2017, 2018 (MarketWatch.com)

Stocks to Edge Lower Before Earnings Flurry, Fed (Bloomberg.com)

Stocks brace for volatility in earnings deluge; Fed meeting looms (MarketWtch.com)

Charges dropped after ‘London Whale’ accused Jamie Dimon of making him a fall guy (MarketWatch.com)

Source: US Funds

“Mother of All Bubbles” Keeps Gold in Focus (AdvisorPerspectives.com)

Can You Guess the World’s Largest Gold Jewelry Market? (Fool.com)

The Student Loan Bubble and Economic Collapse (AntoniusAquinas.com)

Former ‘Plunge Protection Team’ Member Warns “Blockchain Is Freaking Governments Out” (ZeroHedge.com)

Deeply flawed Western economic models undermining worst global recovery in history (CNBC.com)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

24 Jul: USD 1,255.85, GBP 962.99 & EUR 1,077.64 per ounce
21 Jul: USD 1,247.25, GBP 958.89 & EUR 1,071.39 per ounce
20 Jul: USD 1,236.55, GBP 953.63 & EUR 1,075.06 per ounce
19 Jul: USD 1,239.85, GBP 950.84 & EUR 1,074.83 per ounce
18 Jul: USD 1,237.10, GBP 949.47 & EUR 1,071.82 per ounce
17 Jul: USD 1,229.85, GBP 940.71 & EUR 1,074.03 per ounce
14 Jul: USD 1,218.95, GBP 940.54 & EUR 1,067.92 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

24 Jul: USD 16.50, GBP 12.66 & EUR 14.17 per ounce
21 Jul: USD 16.43, GBP 12.63 & EUR 14.11 per ounce
20 Jul: USD 16.18, GBP 12.50 & EUR 14.07 per ounce
19 Jul: USD 16.23, GBP 12.44 & EUR 14.08 per ounce
18 Jul: USD 16.17, GBP 12.41 & EUR 13.99 per ounce
17 Jul: USD 16.07, GBP 12.30 & EUR 14.02 per ounce
14 Jul: USD 15.71, GBP 12.11 & EUR 13.76 per ounce

Recent Market Updates

– Gold Hedges Against Currency Devaluation and Cost Of Fuel, Food, Beer and Housing
– Millennials Can Punt On Bitcoin, Own Gold and Silver For Long Term
– “Time To Position In Gold Is Right Now” says Jim Rickards
– Bloomberg Silver Price Survey – Median 12 Month Forecast Of $20
– “Bigger Systemic Risk” Now Than 2008 – Bank of England
– “Financial Crisis” Coming By End Of 2018 – Prepare Urgently
– Video – “Gold Should Probably Be $5000” – CME Chairman
– India Gold Imports Surge To 5 Year High – 220 Tons In May Alone
– “Silver’s Plunge Is Nearing Completion”
– China, Russia Alliance Deepens Against American Overstretch
– Silver Prices Bounce Higher After Futures Manipulated 7% Lower In Minute
– Precious Metals Are “Best Defence” Against Bail-ins In Economic Crisis
– Buy Gold Near $1,200 “As Insurance” – UBS Wealth


Panning for gold in Northern California returns


(courtesy Robertson/San Francisco Chronicle)

A mini gold rush has descended on Northern California


By Michelle Robertson
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, July 21, 2017

When asking seasoned miners about this year’s so-called gold rush in Northern California, it can be a challenge to obtain trustworthy information.

“People who are smart don’t advertise what they’ve found,” said Bob Van Camp, better known as “Digger Bob.” “If you’re finding nuggets in an area, you don’t tell anyone about it. I’ve made that mistake before.”

After all, if you’re a professional miner looking to make your fortune, it’s the nuggets you’re after. Flakes and dust are milquetoast — and altogether worthless — compared to heavy chunks of the shiny yellow stuff.

Northern California was pelted with record rainfall this winter, and miners predicted that once all the water washed away, gold would be left in its wake. It appears that their predictions are panning out. …

… For the remainder of the report:


A joke:  charges are dropped in the JPMorgan “whale” case after Bruno Iksil (the whale) accused Jamie Dimon of making him the fall guy
(courtesy McKenna)

Charges dropped after ‘Whale’ accused JPM’s Dimon of making him a fall guy


By Francine McKenna
MarketWatch.com, New York
Friday, July 21, 2017

The case against two traders in the infamous “London Whale” case appears to have fallen apart after the Whale himself, considered a key witness, accused J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon of setting him up as a fall guy.

The U.S. Department of Justice revealed today that it is seeking permission from a judge to dismiss the charges against two former J.P. Morgan derivatives traders, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout. According to the announcement, a key reason for dropping the case is because prosecutors no longer believed Bruno Iksil’s testimony could be relied upon to prosecute “based on a review of recent statements and writings made by Iksil.”

Iksil, the trader nicknamed “the London Whale” and a former colleague of the two defendants at J.P. Morgan, recently accused Dimon and other J.P. Morgan senior executives of using him as “a screen” in the effort. According to a statement from the Justice Department, the prosecutors had also failed to win approval for the extradition of Martin-Artajo and Grout from Spain and France. …

… For the remainder of the report:


Koos Jansen has reservations in that the Dutch will not give him a gold bar list.
He explains his reservations!
(courtesy Koos Jansen/GATA)

Koos Jansen: Did the Dutch central bank lie about its gold bar list?


11a ET Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Gold researcher Koos Jansen reports today that the Netherlands central bank is probably lying when it denies that it has a list with details identifying the gold bars in the national gold reserves — and that other central banks continue striving to prevent such information from becoming public, lest the double-counting and leasing of national gold reserves be exposed. Jansen’s analysis is headlined “Did the Dutch Central Bank Lie about Its Gold Bar List?” and it’s posted at Bullion Star here:


CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.


Zero times anything is still ZERO

 I had to chuckle after getting caught up in the ZeroHedge click bait headline A Mystery Investor Just Made A $262 Million Bet That The Stock Market Will Crash By October . First we should look at the article itself and then analyze the stupidity prevailing even among large and supposedly “wise” money managers.
  As for the article, it was penned by Michael Snyder who has done some very good work in the past as he did with the leg work for this one.  The problem(s) I see are that first, the mystery investor did not make a $262 million bet.  This is the maximum amount he might be able to make between now and October.  The original “investment” is far less than this and would normally be considered the amount of the “bet” if this was the amount they could possibly lose.
  But herein lies the problem, the “bet” has literally an unlimited loss potential because in a complete blowout market, this trader is essentially short 262,000 VIX Oct. 25 call contracts.  Never mind all the other bells and whistles in this trade, should the market crash and fear run unbridled, the net/net is this uncovered short call position of 262,000 contracts.  So, the title is misleading in the first place because the original bet was only a small fraction of $262 million but the potential loss could certainly be in the multiple $billions … not like any lottery ticket I have ever seen or would even touch!
  Taking this the extra yard, let’s talk about “what” this or any trader will “win” should they be that fortunate.  First, you will notice I wrote “should they be that fortunate”… which means someone else (or collective someone elses) will be unfortunate enough to be standing atop an equal sized loss.  The obvious question is whether they will have the ability to payout on the “lotto ticket”?  From a systemic standpoint, I absolutely 100% guarantee in a free market not backstopped by central banks, another 2008 experience cannot be settled.  2008 could not be settled upon and thus the reason the Fed secretly lent out $16 trillion across the globe, settlement HAD TO OCCUR or the jig was up.  The number this time around will have to be far larger and probably many multiples.
  Now, carrying the question all the way through, traders, investors, money managers etc. who believe they are “hedged” or have safe strategies in place are sadly mistaken.  How can I say this with such a broad brush and what makes me so smart?  Don’t worry, I have not turned arrogant by any stretch, I can say this by looking at the problem with logic that long ago left our casino markets.  You see, the problem is these players for the most part are playing for dollars, euros, yen etc.  Even IF they believe they are playing for gold, I assure you they are not because out of the millions of ounces represented to create the current pricing, only a very small fraction and less than one percent of real metal exists and underlies the trades. 
  Getting to the heart of what I wanted to convey, the bottom line is even if the winners all do get paid (a mathematical certainty they cannot because of defaults), they will be collecting fiat paper chits that will not perform in a credit meltdown.  This is not rocket science or voodoo economics, all fiat currencies are “credit based” in the first place so their “value” only functions while credit markets are standing with good faith and confidence.  When confidence in central banks and sovereign treasuries does break, so will all fiat currencies.  This will appear to be a hyperinflation when in reality it will be the MOTHER OF ALL DEFLATIONS in terms of gold!
  To finish, we live in a world where the casinos themselves are broke but still functioning while they can still obtain credit.  It will not matter whether you won or lost if you have not left the casino when the lights go out.  The only way to truly win is to cash your chips in and fully exit the casino with real money in hand… BEFORE it is widely understood that no matter how many casino chips you have …you still have nothing!  The mathematical explanation of this is “zero times anything is still zero”!  Please think this article through thoroughly, the games are being played for the wrong winnings…
Standing watch,
Bill Holter
Holter-Sinclair collaboration
Comments welcome  bholter@hotmail.com


Your early MONDAY morning currency, Asian stock market results,  important USA/Asian currency crosses, gold/silver pricing overnight along with the price of oil Major stories overnight


1 Chinese yuan vs USA dollar/yuan  STRONGER 6.7492(REVALUATION NORTHBOUND   /OFFSHORE YUAN MOVES STRONGER TO ONSHORE AT   6.7431/ Shanghai bourse CLOSED UP 12,67 POINTS OR 0.39%  / HANG SANG CLOSED UP 140.74 POINTS OR 0.53% 

2. Nikkei closed DOWN 124.08 POINTS OR .62%    /USA: YEN FALLS TO 110.75

3. Europe stocks OPENED IN THE RED        ( /USA dollar index RISES TO  93.94/Euro DOWN to 1.1650


3c Nikkei now JUST BELOW 17,000

3d USA/Yen rate now well below the important 120 barrier this morning

3e WTI::  46.17 and Brent: 48.45

3f Gold UP/Yen UP

3g Japan is to buy the equivalent of 108 billion uSA dollars worth of bond per month or $1.3 trillion. Japan’s GDP equals 5 trillion usa./“HELICOPTER MONEY” OFF THE TABLE FOR NOW /REVERSE OPERATION TWIST ON THE BONDS: PURCHASE OF LONG BONDS  AND SELLING THE SHORT END

Japan to buy 100% of all new Japanese debt and by 2018 they will have 25% of all Japanese debt. Fifty percent of Japanese budget financed with debt.

3h Oil DOWN for WTI and DOWN  for Brent this morning

3i European bond buying continues to push yields lower on all fronts in the EMU. German 10yr bund FALLS TO  +.495%/Italian 10 yr bond yield DOWN  to 2.043%    

3j Greek 10 year bond yield RISES to  : 5.281???  

3k Gold at $1255.80  silver at:16.54 (8:15 am est)   SILVER BELOW  RESISTANCE AT $18.50 

3l USA vs Russian rouble; (Russian rouble DOWN 53/100 in  roubles/dollar) 59.89-

3m oil into the 46 dollar handle for WTI and 48 handle for Brent/

3n Higher foreign deposits out of China sees huge risk of outflows and a currency depreciation  (already upon us). This can spell financial disaster for the rest of the world/China forced to do QE!! as it lowers its yuan value to the dollar/GOT A GOOD SIZED REVALUATION NORTHBOUND 


30 SNB (Swiss National Bank) still intervening again in the markets driving down the SF. It is not working: USA/SF this morning  0.9445 as the Swiss Franc is still rising against most currencies. Euro vs SF is 1.1023 well above the floor set by the Swiss Finance Minister. Thomas Jordan, chief of the Swiss National Bank continues to purchase euros trying to lower value of the Swiss Franc.


3r the 10 Year German bund now POSITIVE territory with the 10 year FALLING to  +0.495%

The bank withdrawals were causing massive hardship to the Greek bank. the Greek referendum voted overwhelming “NO”.  Next step for Greece will be the recapitalization of the banks and that will be difficult.

4. USA 10 year treasury bond at 2.2357% early this morning. Thirty year rate  at 2.8117% /POLICY ERROR)GETTING DANGEROUSLY HIGH

5. Details Ransquawk, Bloomberg, Deutsche bank/Jim Reid.

(courtesy Jim Reid/Bloomberg/Deutsche bank/zero hedge)

European Stocks Fall To 3 Month Lows On “Carmaker Cartel” Fears, Sliding PMIs; US Futures Lower


In a mixed session, which has seen Asian stocks ex-Japan broadly higher, the European Stoxx 600 index dropped as much as 0.6% after data Markit PMI data signalled euro-area economy grew in July at its slowest pace in six months while carmakers extended declines on continued concern about antitrust collusion in the industry.  Germany’s DAX Index was hardest-hit euro-area benchmark, down as much as 0.8%. Autos continued to be the worst-performing sector on the Stoxx Europe 600 after EU and German regulators said they are studying possible collusion among German automakers. Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday that BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen may have cooperated for decades on technology. 

Concerns have risen that with the Euro trading near its strongest level in 2 years and appreciating 11% against the USD YTD, it may weigh on exporters’ earnings; 1.20 on the EURUSD is being seen a key barrier beyond which European earnings will suffer.  As a result, the euro headed for its first decline in three days as data showed the region’s economy cooling at the start of a week packed with earnings results and a Federal Reserve rate decision. Stocks were dragged down for a second day by carmakers amid a collusion probe.

The common currency halted the advance that saw it hit a two-year high after a composite Purchasing Managers’ Index fell in July to a six-month low. Automakers extended a slump as European Union and German authorities said they are studying possible collusion among German producers. Crude fluctuated as an OPEC committee gathers to discuss the progress of supply cuts. Bonds were mixed.

Europe’s PMI was closely scrutinized after both German and Eurozone manufacturing missed expectations:

  • Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index at 55.8 (56.3 in June), below the 56.2 expected and 6-month low.
  • Flash Eurozone Services PMI Activity Index at 55.4 (55.4 in June), below the 55.6 expected. Growth unchanged.
  • Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI Output Index at 56.9 (58.7 in June). 6-month low.
  • Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI(3) at 56.8 (57.4 in June). 3-month low.

Meanwhile, in a week heavy on political and monetary events, with several key Trump-related hearings later in the week, as well as the Fed’s July decision on deck, earnings from industry bellwethers from Amazon.com Inc. to GlaxoSmithKline Plc are set to provide the latest tests for a bull market that’s propelled the value of global equities to $78 trillion. According to Bloomberg, euro-area manufacturing figures indicate that gross domestic product is expanding at a 0.6 percent quarterly pace, compared with 0.7 percent in the second three months of the year, adding further doubts about the sustainability of the stock rally at a time when the strong euro is weighing on exporters.

In Asia, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index edged higher after rallying over the past two weeks to the highest level in more than 10 years. Japan’s Topix index slid 0.5 percent, after dropping as much as 1 percent earlier in the day. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.6 percent.  The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.5 percent higher. India’s Sensex climbed 0.6 percent to a record. The Australian dollar rose 0.6 percent, trading above 79 U.S. cents ahead of a speech by Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe on Wednesday.

The Dollar slumped to a five-week low against the yen on concern a widening probe into possible ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign may derail his growth agenda. Lower U.S. Treasury yields and oil prices spur leveraged selling in the greenback ahead of Jared Kushner’s closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, according to an Asia-based foreign-exchange trader quoted by Bloomberg. As noted over the weekend, hedge funds and other large speculators were the most bearish on the dollar in more than four years as the Federal Reserve meets this week

As noted earlier, the Polish zloty jumped the most against the euro since May after Poland’s President Andrzey Duda said he’d veto part of an overhaul of the judiciary that’s brought tens of thousands of protesters into the streets across the eastern European nation

In rates, the German government bond yields edged lower after euro zone PMI data also came in below forecasts. The 10-year yield – the benchmark for euro zone borrowing costs – fell to 0.49 percent, down 0.4 basis points and its lowest in more than a week. Yields fell on Friday as the strong euro led investors to question the timing of when the ECB would begin to withdraw its stimulus.

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk

  • European equities trade lower amid disappointing PMI readings and downside in auto names
  • Quiet start to the week for FX markets with participants eyeing this week’s FOMC meeting
  • Looking ahead, highlights include Eurozone and US PMIs, US Existing Home Sales

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 2,466.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 379.14
  • MXAP up 0.03% to 159.58
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 526.46
  • Nikkei down 0.6% to 19,975.67
  • Topix down 0.5% to 1,621.57
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 26,846.83
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,250.60
  • Sensex up 0.7% to 32,251.51
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 5,688.07
  • Kospi up 0.06% to 2,451.53
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.9 bps to 0.497%
  • Euro down 0.2% to 1.1644 per US$
  • Brent Futures up 0.3% to $48.19/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 4.1 bps to 1.78%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to 1.457%
  • Brent Futures up 0.3% to $48.19/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,256.03
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 93.93

Top Overnight News

  • The Fed will unveil the timing of its balance sheet unwind in September and wait until December to raise interest rates again, according to a Bloomberg survey of 41 economists
  • U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox will meet his U.S. counterpart in Washington on Monday as Britain seeks a trans-Atlantic trade deal as soon as possible after leaving the EU
  • The world is leaning less on its biggest economy to sustain the global recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund. Beneath the global growth figures, the drivers of the recovery are shifting, with the world relying less than expected on the U.S. and U.K. and more on China, Japan, the euro zone and Canada, according to the Washington- based fund
  • The Polish zloty jumped the most against the euro since May after Poland’s President Andrzey Duda said he’d veto part of an overhaul of the judiciary that’s brought tens of thousands of protesters into the streets across the eastern European nation
  • U.K.’s Fox in U.S. to Argue for Quick Post- Brexit Trade Deal
  • White House Team Differs on Trump Support for Russia Sanctions
  • Euro Area Economy Grows at Slowest Pace in Six Months
  • OPEC Signals No Big Changes to Supply Deal at Meeting in Russia
  • Fed Seen Making September Balance-Sheet Announcement: Survey
  • America First No More as IMF Sees U.S. Fading as Growth Engine
  • BMW Denies Diesel Cheating as EU, Germany Probe Auto Cartel
  • Asda Is Said to Hold No Takeover Interest for B&M: Telegraph
  • J&J Picks HIV Vaccine Candidate for Further Testing This Year
  • Glaxo’s ViiV, J&J HIV Injection Shown as Effective as Oral Dose
  • Blackstone Buys Clarion Events; No Terms
  • Ireland to Hire Custodian to Manage Cash From Apple Tax Case
  • Monsanto Cites Illegal Off-Label Products in Dicamba Findings
  • Diebold Nixdorf Dragged Down by Peer’s Disappointing 3Q Forecast
  • HCA in Pact to Buy Hospital From Community Health; No Terms
  • Polish President Duda to Veto Part of Judiciary Legislation
  • Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Agree to Settle Yen-Libor Lawsuits

Asian stocks traded mixed after quiet weekend news flow and with participants awaiting the upcoming FOMC meeting on Wednesday. ASX 200 (-0.7%) traded negative as energy and financial sectors weighed on the index, whilst Nikkei 225 (-0.6%) also suffered in the red amid a strong JPY. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) and Hang Seng (+0.4%) were higher following the PBoes firm liquidity injection of CNY 350b1n, in addition to some Hong Kong banks reducing deposit rates to less than 4% after declines in the CNH HIBOR. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat with brief pressure seen after the BoJ Rinban announcement, in which it reduced buying of 5yr-10yr JGBs to JPY 470bn from JPY 500bn. PBoC injected CNY 200b1n via 7-day reverse repos and CNY 150bln in 28-day reverse repos. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.7410, Prev. 6.7415.

Top Asian News

  • China Banks That Funded HNA’s Growth Are Said to Halt New Loans
  • Mystery Bond Trader Nets $10 Million on Treasury Strangle Gamble
  • Singapore Startup Takes Bitcoin Into Real World With Visa
  • India Starts Antidumping Investigation on Imported Solar Cells
  • No Relief for Lanka Rupee Sliding at Fastest Pace Since 2006
  • Exporters Lead Japanese Stock Decline as Yen Holds Gains

Broadly a negative start for European equities with weakness stemming from Automakers and Airliners. Germany automakers, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen softer this morning following reports that the European Union confirmed a probe into alleged price-fixing, while airliners have been dragged lower by Ryanair following the release of their financial results. Elsewhere, lower crude prices, coupled with weaker than expected Eurozone PMI readings has also added to the risk off tone. Credit markets have been supported by safe-haven flow, while peripheral bonds are slightly tighter to bunds this morning. Spanish debt supported from Fitch revising its outlook on Spain to positive, while month-end extensions are aiding OATs, Bonos and BTPs.

Top European News

  • Saudi Energy Minister: Build-Up in Global Inventories Reversing
  • Polish Zloty Jumps Most Since May as President Scraps Court Bill
  • Telecom Italia Shares Rise as Board Meets to Approve CEO Exit
  • Czech Top Judges Say Polish Judicial Reforms Undermine Democracy
  • IMF Cuts U.K. Forecast After Disappointing First- Quarter Growth

In currenices, it has been a very quiet start to the week with the greenback a fraction firmer, however the bias remains to the downside amid the ongoing US political uncertainty. DXY saw a break below 94.00, hitting a low of 93.82 in Asia, slight attention will be placed on the FOMC decision, as participants look for clarity on the timeline of balance sheet normalisation. Antipodeans (AUD, NZD) were the notable mover overnight with much of the price action seen through the cross as AUD/NZD moved within a whisker of 1.07. RBA speak last week failed to temper the AUD rise with the currency consolidating above 0.7950 and hovering around 2Y highs. Focus will be on RBA. Governor Lowe on Wednesday who may also look to curb the recent surge. EUR sagging this morning having touched lasts week post ECB peak at 1.1684, while softer PMI releases from France and Germany have also added to the EUR easing. EUR slightly south of 1.1650 with bids noted just ahead of Friday’s low at 1.1619.

In commodities, crude prices were softer this morning with both WTI and Brent down initially, amid the OPEC/Non-OPEC monitoring committee meeting the Saudi Energy Minister has stated that there has been no discussion over deeper cuts, however there has been talks over Nigeria and Libya production caps, given their recent increase in output. Gold rangebound after prices briefly touched a 4-week high on the back of a politically. Subsequently the energy complex rebounded however, after the Saudi energy minister made some solemn promises, in which he saw Saudis capping exports at 6.6mmb/d, saying that Nigeria would cut if it reaches output of 1.8mmb/d, and sees a deep cut in Saudi August production.

Looking at today’s busy session, we get the July manufacturing, services and composite flash PMIs for Germany, Eurozone (both of which declined and missed expectations) and the US later this morning. Existing home sales data in the US will also be released.

US Event Calendar

  • 9:45am: Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 52.2, prior 52; Services PMI, est. 54, prior 54.2; Composite PMI, prior 53
  • 10am: Existing Home Sales, est. 5.57m, prior 5.62m; Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -0.89%, prior 1.1%

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

After a long hot first half to the summer, Saturday was cold in Surrey with torrential downpours that lasted most of the day. Probably the one person in the UK doing cartwheels of celebration at this turn in the weather was my wife who has just about had it with being doubly pregnant in summer. The cartwheels are figurative of course as she is struggling with everything physical at the moment. Help is at hand though and today marks the start of what I’ve resigned myself to be the start of a 25 year (minimum) financial noose around my neck. We have hired a nanny who starts today. Just as her job is done, three sets of school fees will then filter through, followed by University fees, help with deposits on their first homes and then finally their weddings where at that point I’ll pass them on to be someone else’s financial responsibility. If I succeed I’ll tell you about it in the EMR sometime in 2042 via telepathic hologram or whatever medium this gets published via at that point. I’ll be interested to hear from the elder readers at what age their offspring became financially independent!

Moving on and forgetting the fact that I’ve now committed to a path with no return, the highlight this week are today’s flash PMI numbers and the FOMC meeting this Wednesday, although the latter will likely be a relatively mundane affair with the action perhaps being saved for a September balance sheet announcement. Nevertheless we’ll preview our expectations just before the week ahead at the end. One also has to keep an eye on all things Washington related following Friday’s announcement of Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s resignation. Mr Trump now has new people at the helm of both his legal and communications teams after resignations towards the end of last week. Late on Friday Congressional negotiators agreed to advance a bill punishing Russia for its involvement in the 2016 election and also restricting Presidential powers to remove sanctions on Russia. It will now go to a vote and if it passes Mr Trump could be in a difficult situation as he has publicly stated he wants improved relations with Russia but clearly if Congress has voted for the bill he’d be seen as siding with Mr Putin if he didn’t respond positively when it reached his desk. These matters are obviously important for many reasons not least as Mr Trump does need Congress on his side if he has hopes of rescuing his legislative agenda.

Elsewhere, today sees senior White House advisor Jared Kushner interviewed by the Senate Intelligence committee, with Donald Trump Jnr. and ex-Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort before Senate committees on Wednesday. As the week starts in Asia, the Nikkei (-0.9%) and the Kospi (-0.1%) have softened, but the Hang Seng is up 0.4% to be at the highest level since July 2015. The three key Chinese bourses ranged from -0.1% to +0.2%. Overnight the IMF have released their latest vow on the global economy and their chief economist is increasingly confident that “the recovery in global growth is on a firmer footing….there is now no question mark over the world economy’s gain in momentum,”. Headline global growth of 3.5% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018 is the same as April, but the projections now capture downward revision to US and UK, offset with improvements in China, Europe and Japan. Compositionally, US has been cut by 0.2% and 0.4% respectively, to 2.1% growth in both 17 and 18. UK has been cut to 1.7% (-0.3%) for 17, while Europe is expected to grow by 1.9% in 17 and 1.7% in 18.

Despite a general lack of data on Friday, Global markets saw a broader risk off move. US and European equities were down with the DAX, STOXX 600 and S&P 500 falling -1.66%, -1.32% and -0.04% respectively. In Europe we saw losses across all sectors with Automobiles (-2.7%) being the worst hit while banks were also down -1.1%. In fact the DAX is now at 3 month lows, probably not helped by the 2-year high in the Euro. Indeed the dollar index fell by -0.5% on Friday to end the week down -1.4%, while the Euro continued to strengthen as it gained +0.3% on Friday (vs the Dollar) to end the week up +1.7% as a whole (+2.5% vs  Sterling). The S&P 500 did rally into the close after hitting its lows (around -0.4% for the day) around the time Europe went home. Energy (-0.88%) was the big laggard in the US after Oil fell -2.45% partly on news that OPEC supply this month is expected to be at its highest levels since December. This more than offset earlier week gains closing -1.7% on the week. Tech stocks were just in the red and ended a 10-day positive run. Precious metals also benefited from the risk off moves with Gold and Silver both ticking up by just over +0.5% respectively.

Credit Markets somewhat mirrored the risk off moves in equities. In Europe iTraxx Main was about -1bp tighter on the day but Crossover widened around +1bps. Risk off moves were more visible in the US where CDX IG was flat on the day but CDX HY widened by +3bps. Staying with credit, this morning we have published a Credit Bite where we highlight the resilience of the EUR HY market to the moves in government bond yields following Draghi’s Sintra speech. We do note however that there has been some weakness in the technicals that are worth keeping an eye on. If you haven’t received the report please contact Nick Burns.

Talking of yields, bonds continued their recovery on Friday as we saw yields on  US Treasuries (2Y -1bp; 10Y -2bps) and German Bunds (2Y: unch; 10Y -2bps) fall across most maturity points. Yields on Gilts (10Y -3bps), OATs (10Y -2bps) and BTPs (10Y -4bps) also dropped on the day. After a week where the ECB and Draghi were seen as relatively dovish on the pace of tightening (if not deviating from the message that tightening was coming), Bunds fell 9bps but Italian and Spanish bonds fell 22bps and 20bps respectively.

Taking a look back at Friday’s calendar, it was an uneventful end to the week in terms of macro data. In Europe the only data of note was UK public sector net borrowing data for June where the deficit overshot expectations at 6.3bn (vs. 4.2bn expected; 6.0bn previous). Across the pond there was no data of note in the US, but Canada saw June inflation come in just marginally below expectations (+1.0% YoY vs. +1.1% expected; +1.3% previous).

Before we detail the full week ahead, let’s preview the FOMC this Wednesday. Our US economics team published a note on Friday updating their view on the Fed and detailing their expectations for the July FOMC statement. They note that the Fed is unlikely to take any action in a policy firming direction at the meeting this week, partly because inflation has continued to surprise to the downside as of late. They do expect the FOMC statement to particularly focus on how the Fed will handle the dichotomy between a resumption of moderate growth and continuing improvement in the labor market on one hand and ongoing softness in inflation on the other. Given this dichotomy they modestly update their Fed view – they see the Fed pausing in Q1 2018 after another hike in December and then resuming at a pace of one hike per quarter thereafter, thus moving their Fed call in line with the median FOMC expectation of three rate hikes during 2018. On the topic of the timing of the initial taper of balance sheet reinvestment the team  believes that a July announcement and August tapering (while possible in principle) has a low probability given a) the recent softness in inflation; b) because Yellen did not take the opportunity at her Congressional testimony to more strongly signal a July announcement; and c) because market expectations are generally centred on a September announcement and October commencement. They note that these relatively strongly held market expectations should also allow the Committee to get by without giving any more specific guidance on timing even within this week’s statement.

To the rest of the week ahead now. Monday starts with the July manufacturing, services and composite flash PMIs for Germany, Eurozone and the US. Existing home sales data in the US will also be released. Onto Tuesday, Germany will have the IFO July index for business climate and expectations, while France will report confidence indicators for July. In the US on Tuesday data includes consumer confidence, FHFA house price index, S&P/Case-Shiller house price index and Richmond Fed manufacturing index. Turning to Wednesday, in the UK Q2 GDP is due, while the focus in the US will be the July FOMC rate decision. New home sales data will also be due. For Thursday, the morning session looks quiet with only Euro area M3 money supply data due. Across the pond the US will update its durable and capital goods orders for June as well as the initial jobless claims, advance goods trade balance, wholesale inventories and Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index. Finally, on Friday, the early data is out of Japan where June CPI data is due, while in Europe we have Germany and France providing an update on CPI. Euro area confidence indicators are also due. It’s a bumper end to the week in the US with the advance Q2 GDP report, core PCE and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading.

Onto other events. On Monday, the UK begins preliminary post-Brexit trade talks with the US, ECB’s Frank Smet’s will speak at Munich and OPEC and non- OPEC meet in Russia to discuss progress with production cuts. On Tuesday, the US secretary of Commerce will address the economic club of Washington. Onto Wednesday the Fed of Minneapolis President will be the first speaker post the FOMC decision. Finally, notable US companies due to report include: Alphabet, Amazon, AMD, AT&T, Twitter, Facebook, McDonalds, GM, Caterpillar, Ford, Boeing, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Merck and AbbVie. Closer to home, we also have CS, BNP Paribas and UBS due to report



i)Late SUNDAY night/MONDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 12.67 POINTS OR 0.39%   / /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 140,74 POINTS OR 0.53% The Nikkei closed DOWN 124.08 POINTS OR .53%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.39%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP at 6.7492/Oil UP to 46.17 dollars per barrel for WTI and 48.45 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED IN THE RED,, Offshore yuan trades  6.7431 yuan to the dollar vs 6.7492 for onshore yuan. NOW THE OFFSHORE IS STRONGER  TO THE ONSHORE YUAN/ ONSHORE YUAN  STRONGER (TO THE DOLLAR)  AND THE OFFSHORE YUAN IS MUCH  STRONGER TO THE DOLLAR AND THIS IS COUPLED WITH THE STRONGER DOLLAR. CHINA IS VERY HAPPY TODAY 






Very important;  China’s crackdown on the 4 big conglomerates has sent a shock wave across all markets:

The 4:  FOSUN, Dalian Anbang Insurance and Wanda

(courtesy zero hedge)

“It Feels Like An Avalanche”: China’s Crackdown On Conglomerates Has Sent A “Shock Wave” Across Markets

The first to suffer Beijing’s crackdown against China’s private merger-crazy conglomerates, wave was the acquisitive “insurance” behemoth, Anbang, whose CEO Wu Xiaohui briefly disappeared as the Politburo made it clear that the “old way” of money laundering – via offshore deals – is no longer tolerated. Then, several weeks later and shortly after the stocks of the “famous four” Chinese conglomerates plunged after China officially launched a crackdown on foreign acquirers amid concerns of “systemic risk“, it was HNA’s turn, which as we described last week, risks becoming a “reverse rollup from hell“, as HNA’s stock tumbled, sending the LTV of billions in loans collateralized by the company’s shares soaring and in danger of unleashing an catastrophic margin call among the company’s lenders.

Then Beijing’s attention shifted to the biggest conglomerate of them all: billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group, which as the WSJ and Bloomberg reported was being “punished” by Beijing, and would see its funding cutoff after China “concluded the conglomerate breached restrictions for overseas investments.”

The scrutiny could rein in Wang’s ambitious attempt to create a global entertainment empire, including Hollywood production companies and a giant cinema chain he’s built up through acquisitions from the U.S. to the U.K. Six investments, such as the purchases of Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB and Carmike Cinemas Inc., were found to have violations, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. The retaliatory measures will include banning banks from providing Wanda with financial support linked to these projects and barring the company from selling those assets to any local companies, the people said.


The move is an unprecedented setback for the country’s second-richest man, who has announced more than $20 billion of deals since the beginning of 2016. By targeting one of the nation’s top businessmen, the government is escalating its broader crackdown on capital outflows and further chilling the prospects of overseas acquisitions during a politically sensitive year in China.

Summarizing the abrupt shift in sentiment in China was Castor Pang, head of research at Core-Pacific Yamaichi, who said that “to investors, political risk is now the biggest concern when investing in Chinese companies. Not only Wanda, every Chinese company won’t find it easy anymore to acquire assets overseas. Stabilizing the yuan is the top priority for Beijing now.”

While it is not exactly clear just why Beijing so quickly soured on foreign transactions – as we explained back in 2015, it was abundantly clear back then these were nothing more than a less than sophisticated way to launder money offshore – unless of course the capital flight out of China is far worse than what Beijing would disclose, what has become quite clear is that Wanda was among the conglomerates including Fosun International, HNA Group and Anbang Insurance whose loans are under government scrutiny after China’s banking regulator asked some lenders to provide information on overseas loans to the companies.

In other words, the foreign merger party is over. In fact, for some of the above listed 4 conglomerates, the party may be over, period.

And now as the WSJ reported over the weekend, it has become clear that China’s government reined in one of its brashest conglomerates with the explicit approval of President Xi Jinping, “according to people with knowledge of the action—a mark that the broader government clampdown on large private companies comes right from the top of China’s leadership.”

The measures, with President Xi’s previously unreported approval last month, bar state-owned banks from making new loans to property giant Dalian Wanda Group to help fuel its foreign expansion.

The cutoff in bank financing for the company’s foreign investments highlights Beijing’s changing view of a series of Wanda’s recent overseas acquisitions as irrational and overpriced. In short, and as noted above, Yuan stability above all.

For the local market, the shift in Beijing’s strategy is nothing short of a seismic shift:

“It feels like an avalanche,” said Jingzhou Tao, a lawyer at Dechert LLP in Beijing, who does mergers and acquisitions work. “This is sending a shock wave through the business community.”

* * *

Regular readers are aware of what, until recently, was China’s unquenchable thirst for foreign money laundering transactions, something we first pointed out at the start of 2016, and which had – until recently – grown exponentially. Since 2015, the four companies completed a combined $55 billion in overseas acquisitions, 18% of Chinese companies’ total. In recent days, however, as reported here 2 weeks ago, Wanda’s billionaire founder Wang Jianlin has been shrinking his empire by selling off assets and paying back the company’s bank loans.

What is surprising about the sudden shift, is that Beijing had for years been encouraged Chinese companies to scour the globe for deals. Now, in a dramatic U-turn, it is reining in some of its highest-profile private entrepreneurs in what officials say is growing unease with their high leverage and growing influence. As the WSJ notes, “the measures serve as a stern warning for other big companies that loaded up on debt to buy overseas assets, officials and analysts say.”

How does the president fit into all of this? According to the WSJ, “Xi acted after China’s cabinet set the government machinery in gear by directing financial regulators, the economic planning agency and other bureaucracies to take a hard look at foreign acquisitions, once seen as a means for China to showcase its economic might.”

And, as previously reported, the crackdown started at Anbang and HNA, when Chinese banking regulators first ordered banks to scrutinize loans to Anbang in June, and other highfliers including airlines-and-hotels conglomerate HNA Group, which has pulled back on overseas investments. HNA said in a statement it continues to take a “disciplined approach” to identifying “strategic acquisitions across our core areas of focus.”

Discussing the government’s crackdown on conglomerates, officials at Fosun said the firm has “overseas funds and other stable financing channels,” including a fund of around U.S. $1 billion to invest, but emphasized it “fully respects the government regulations both in China and overseas markets.” Fosun has a listed unit in Hong Kong, and its strategy to invest in health care and technology “adheres to China’s global investment strategy,” said a spokesman, Chen Bo.

In any case, the most likely outcome is that in the future China’s private companies will have trouble getting capital, which would help shift financial clout further in favor of big state-owned enterprises, which may also explain President Xi’s change in opinion. Beijing’s sterner line comes as big private businesses and others have been amassing capital and influence that challenge the authoritarian Chinese leadership’s firm hold on the economy.

Its grip has been tested over a bumpy few years. After a 2015 stock market meltdown and a botched government rescue, a gush of money flowed out of the country looking for better returns. That in turn put pressure on China’s tightly controlled yuan and foreign-exchange reserves, both seen by Beijing as barometers of confidence in the economy. It has also led to a chilling effect on Chinese outbound investment which has crashed as shown in the chart below.

Putting the foreign merger spree in context, Chinese firms completed $187 billion in outbound deals last year, according to Dealogic, as private companies snapped up trophy properties, soccer clubs and hotels, while Chinese with means bought homes and pushed up real-estate prices from Texas to Sydney.

The private sector’s share of overseas spending shot up from barely above zero about a decade ago to nearly half of China’s total overseas investments in 2016, before slipping back to 36.9% in the first half of 2017, according to Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

But the most important factor, and among the main reasons for the current crackdown, is that amid the rush of investments, Beijing burned through nearly a trillion dollars in foreign-exchange reserves trying to steady the yuan. That ultimately led government regulators to clamp controls on money exiting the country and to scrutinize all proposed major offshore investments.

Just as we predicted over a year ago would happen, once the government finally realized that all that M&A is nothing more than capital flight.

As the WSJ puts it, “the latest scrutiny is a watershed moment in the Communist government’s relations with a private sector it has never been comfortable with. Though some senior leaders, particularly Premier Li Keqiang, are urging a new culture of startups and small businesses, Mr. Xi has promoted plans to make already-large state enterprises larger and strengthen their sway over the economy.”

There are other reasons for the crackdown too: one is the still fresh memory of what happened in Japan when it did the exact same thing. China is acutely aware that as Japan rose to economic prominence in the 1980s, its companies splurged on American real estate and other trophy assets, resulting in losses that cascaded through Japan’s banking sector.

But mostly, it is about power and control:

Mr. Tao, the Beijing lawyer, says the government’s new aggressive posture is driven in large measure by a need for control. “State-owned assets, whether in China or abroad, are still state assets,” he said. “But when private entrepreneurs take their money out, it’s gone. It’s no longer something that China can benefit from or the Chinese government can get a handle on.”

And since in any power struggle between Chinese companies and Beijing in general, and Xi Jinping in particular, the latter will always win, the market’s reaction was to violently selloff any big Chinese conglomerate stocks. An early sign of government discomfort with overseas spending was Anbang’s unsuccessful $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in 2016. Authorities expressed displeasure with the bold move, believing that Anbang had offered too much, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Anbang, which had appeared unstoppable in 2014 when it struck a $2 billion deal to buy the U.S. Waldorf Astoria hotel, fell deeper in trouble. This past June, special government investigators looking into economic crimes detained Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, who hasn’t appeared in public since.

Separately, in the case of Wanda, regulators acted in the belief the company overpaid in efforts to expand beyond shopping centers and hotels and into entertainment, according to the people with knowledge of the action.

Its largest such acquisition was of Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood producer and financier behind films including “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight.” Wanda spent $3.5 billion to buy Legendary in 2016; In Hollywood, industry insiders widely believed the company paid too much. Legendary said this week that it is well-capitalized, operating normally and able to fund its film and television productions.

As for HNA, recall that it was the stealthy buyer of Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital, another deal which will soon fall under tremendous scrutiny, and which could be unwound in the coming weeks if concerns about conflicts of interest emerge again, only this time not between the US and Russia – especially once the “Russia collusion” story is finally over – but the White House and Beijing.




Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban explains that Soros with his huge funding apparatus seeking to take Muslims from war torn areas in Africa into Europe. He claims that he seeks the Muslimizaton of Europe:

(courtesy zero hedge)

Hungary’s Orban: EU And “Soros Mafia Network” Are Seeking To “Muslimize Europe”

The war of words between Hungary’s outspoken prime minister Viktor Orban and liberal billionaire George Soros escalated to previously unseen levels on Saturday, when the Hungarian PM said that European Union leaders and Soros are seeking a “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe,” however during a visit to Romania, Orban said that Hungary’s border fences, supported by other Central European countries, will block the EU-Soros effort to increase Muslim migration into Europe.

Slamming the Hungarian-born billionaire who has been accused by the Hungarian government of using his vast wealth to fund pro-mass migration organizations to create a “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe”, Orban said Brussels was in an “alliance against the people’s will” with the financier.

In further defiance to Brussles, Orban said that while Hungary opposed taking in migrants “who could change the country’s cultural identity,” Hungary would remain a place where “Western European Christians will always be able to find security“, AP quoted the prime minister.

Laying out his vision for a future Europe without the influence of Soros,Orban said: “In order for Europe to be able to live, it has to win back its sovereignty from the Soros Empire… Once this is done, migrants must be taken back outside the EU. It sounds strict, but those who came illegally, must be transported back,” Prime Minister Orbán said. “We have to admit that the European continent cannot remain unprotected.”

Discussing immigration to Hungary in a speech that came just days after his government announced the total requests submitted for Hungarian citizenships had hit one million, Orban also said he would continue to oppose migrants “who could change the country’s cultural identity”.

As long as I remain the prime minister, the fence will stay in place. We will protect Hungary and Europe. We can never be in solidarity with ideals, peoples and ethnic groups who set out with the goal to change European culture… because the end result is collapse.


Will Europe be inhabited by Europeans? Will Hungary be inhabited by Hungarians, Germany by Germans, France by the French, Italy by Italians? Who will live in Europe?

Orban also discussed the upcoming political campaign: the Hungarian, who will seek a fourth term in April 2018, said his nation’s opposition parties were no match for his government. “In the upcoming campaign, first of all we have to confront external powers,” Orban said at a cultural festival in Baile Tusnad, Romania. “We have to stand our ground against the Soros mafia network and the Brussels bureaucrats. And, during the next nine months, we will have to fight against the media they operate.”

As reported here over the past 6 months, George Soros has become a key target of Orban and his government (and most recently, Israel too). Recent Hungarian legislation seeks to close or expel Soros’ Budapest-based Central European University, founded by the billionaire in 1991.

There are also new rules about non-governmental organizations funded at least partly from abroad – which critics say stigmatize the NGOs, many of which are backed by Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Orban repeated his recurring accusation that Soros-funded NGOs want to weaken Hungary’s security with their advocacy for asylum-seekers and said Hungary had managed to stop the “migrant invasion” with razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia. It’s not just Hungary: last week, Gefira exposed what it believes is a major Soros-sponsored Immigration network in Italy.

But back to Hunary, where in Orban’s speech broadcast by Hungarian state media, the PM also repeated his claim that the EU leadership was encroaching on member states’ rights and trying to apply policies, such as increased immigration, which he said were opposed by most Europeans.

Orban also said that Poland, which is under pressure from the EU because of attempts to put its Supreme Court under political control, had replaced Hungary as the target of the EU’s “chief inquisitor,” whom he identified as European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “The main target of the inquisition, the example of national governance to be weakened, destroyed and broken is Poland,” Orban said, vowing to defend the Polish government. “Hungary will use every legal possibility in the European Union to be in solidarity with the Poles.”

Separately, when asked about choosing between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, “Orban answered with a joke about a Pole being asked in the communist era to choose between Hitler and Stalin.”

“He answered that he chooses Marlene Dietrich,” Orban said with a laugh. “What I want to say with this is that you can’t give a good answer to a bad question.”


Orban first expressed his support for Trump a year ago, while Putin has visited Hungary twice in two years. Hungary is expanding its energy ties with Moscow, including Russia’s construction of new reactors at Hungary’s only nuclear power plant.

Orban eventually said that “Hungarian interests” would be the “guiding star” of his country’s foreign policy, not “Trump, Putin or Merkel.”

Finally, touching on an argument used by proponents of “replacement migration“, Orban said Hungary’s low birth rate made the country an “endangered species,” and that the government was using taxes on multinational companies to fund social policies that would spur families to have more children. Alas, if Japan is any indication of how “successful” such policies are, Orban may want to reassess





The EU sound the alarm bell, if the USA passes new sanctions on Russia.  Germany threatens retaliation;

(courtesy zero hedge)

EU “Sounds Alarm” Over New US Sanctions On Russia; Germany Threatens Retaliation

Late on Friday, Congressional negotiators reached a deal to advance a bill that would punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election and restrict the president’s power to remove sanctions on Moscow, according to the WSJ. The measure, if signed into law, will also give Congress veto powers to block any easing of Russian sanctions by the president. And while it remained unclear if President Donald Trump would sign the bill if it reaches his desk, which is now likely, the loudest complaint about the bill to date has emerged noe from the Oval Office, but from Brussels, after the EU once again urged (and warned, and threatened) US lawmakers to coordinate their anti-Russia actions with European partners, or else.

As Reuters reports, the European Union “sounded an alarm on Saturday” about moves in the U.S. Congress to step up U.S. sanctions on Russia, urging Washington to keep coordinating with its G7 partners.  In a statement by a spokeswoman after Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress reached a deal that could see new legislation pass, the European Commission warned of possibly “wide and indiscriminate” “unintended consequences”, especially on the EU’s efforts to diversify energy sources away from Russia, adding that “unilateral measures” by the US could undermine transatlantic unity.

“We highly value the unity that is prevailing among international partners in our approach towards Russia’s action in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions. This unity is the guarantee of the efficiency and credibility of our measures,” the Commission said in its statement.


“We understand that the Russia/Iran sanctions bill is driven primarily by domestic considerations,” it went on, referring to a bill passed in the U.S. Senate last month and to which lawmakers said on Saturday they had unblocked further obstacles.


“As we have said repeatedly, it is important that any possible new measures are coordinated between international partners to maintain unity among partners on the sanctions that has been underpinning the efforts for full implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” the Commission said, referring to an accord struck with Moscow to try to end the conflicts in Ukraine.


“We are concerned the measures discussed in the U.S. Congress could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests. This impact could be potentially wide and indiscriminate, including when it comes to energy sources diversification efforts.


“Sanctions are at their most effective when they are coordinated. Currently our sanctions regimes are coordinated. As a result their impact on the ground is increased and through coordination we are able to avoid surprises, manage potential impact on our own economic operators and address collectively efforts to circumvent such measures. Unilateral measures would undermine this,” the Commission said.


“We therefore call on the U.S. Congress/authorities to engage with the partners, including the EU, to ensure coordination and to avoid any unintended consequences of the measures discussed.”

Furthermore, Germany has already warned of “possible retaliation” if the United States moves to sanction German firms involved with building a new Baltic pipeline for Russian gas. EU diplomats are concerned that a German-U.S. row over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom could complicate efforts in Brussels to forge an EU consensus on negotiating with Russia over the project.

The proposed restrictions against Moscow are part of the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, aimed not only at Tehran, but also North Korea. Passed by the Senate last month, the measures seek to impose new economic measures on sectors of Russia’s economy. Among the new anti-Russia proposals, the legislation aims to introduce individual sanctions for investing in Russian pipeline project. It also outlines steps to hamper construction of Russia’s Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and is the reason why America’s European allies are on edge, worried they may be penalized for continuing a project in which they have already invested hundreds of millions.

The House is set to vote on the proposed legislation Tuesday, Brussels has already registered its unease even before the bill hits Donald Trump’s desk, urging Washington to consider European interests, especially in the energy sector. Noting that “the Russia/Iran sanctions bill is driven primarily by domestic considerations,” the European Commission has asked its American partners to coordinate measures against Russia with Europe and the rest of the G7.

One month ago, we reported that Austria and Germany accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. They also warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.”  At the time, the foreign minister of Austria and Germany, Kern and Gabriel, urged the United States to back off from linking the situation in Ukraine to the question of who can sell gas to Europe. “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America,” Kern and Gabriel said. The reason why Europe is angry Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don’t pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.

Fast forward to today, when Reuters quoted the European Commission saying that “as we have said repeatedly, it is important that any possible new measures are coordinated between international partners to maintain unity among partners on the sanctions.” It added that “we are concerned the measures discussed in the US Congress could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests.”

“This impact could be potentially wide and indiscriminate,” the Commission warned. “We therefore call on the US Congress/authorities to engage with the partners, including the EU, to ensure coordination and to avoid any unintended consequences of the measures discussed.

Addressing the proposed bill, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow takes an “extremely negative” view of the new developments. President Vladimir Putin earlier cautioned that any new sanctions against Russia will only make US-Russian relations worse.

But it wasn’t just Russia and Europe eager to warn the US that any ongoing attempts to trap Trump into perpetuating the Deep State’s Russian policies would backfire: ahead of Congress clearing all potential hurdles for the bill, a number of American multinationals – including ExxonMobil, General Electric and Boeing, as well as MasterCard and Visa – raised concerns that the punitive measures will ultimately harm their interests, rather than that of the Kremlin.

Deutsche bank to move 300 billion euros of assets from London to Frankfurt due to BREXIT
(courtesy zero hedge)

“Worse Than People Can Imagine” – Deutsche Bank To Shift $350 Billion Of Assets From London To Frankfurt

In a project dubbed ‘Bowline’, Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Bank may shift about 300 billion euros ($350 billion) from the balance sheet of its U.K. entity to Frankfurt as client trading and assets migrate to the continent following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. While not the first bank to threaten to move post-Brexit, the scale of asset movement is the largest yet.

Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet listed 1.59 trillion euros in total assets at the end of last yea and much of its trading in Europe is traditionally booked in London. But, as Bloomberg reports, the Brexit-contingency project calls for Frankfurt trading to go live in September 2018 and for the balance sheet migration to be completed by March 2019, said the person, who asked for anonymity in discussing internal matters.

Chief Executive Officer John Cryan told employees in a recent videotaped message that he’s girding for a hard Brexit, with the “vast majority” of trades currently booked in London probably moving to Frankfurt, but the bank hasn’t officially detailed its plan.


People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the lender intends to move chunks of trading and investment-banking assets from London to Frankfurt, with the jobs of several hundred traders and as many as 20,000 client accounts likely to be shifted.


“There’s an awful lot of detail to be ironed out and agreed,” Cryan said in the video. “But inevitably roles will need to be either moved, or at least added, in Frankfurt.”

Deutsche Bank’s plan notes that trade and balance sheet migration will begin in September 2018, with six months required for the move of the balance sheet, the person said. The bank plans to start informing clients from September 2017 that their contracts will be switched to Frankfurt. It wants to have built front-to-back technology and processes by June 2018, according to the person.

This report comes just days after Cryanb warned his staff that the bank “will assume a reasonable worst outcome” from the UK’s talks with the European Union, according to a Bloomberg News report.

“The worst is always likely to be worse than people can imagine,” Cryan said.

Britain is expected to lose financial passporting rights, which allow banks with a base in the UK to sell products and services to customers and financial markets across the EU.

Frankfurt is emerging as a popular destination for many international firms choosing a post-Brexit base. Three Japanese lenders, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Nomura, have all confirmed in recent weeks that they will set up new post-Brexit bases in Frankfurt.

Trump must make a decision:  let the Russian election fiasco continue and risk retaliatory measures by the EU or let this drop once and for all
(courtesy zero hedge)

EU To Retaliate “Within Days” If US Imposes New Sanctions On Russia

In what appears set to be major diplomatic showdown between Washington D.C. and Brussels, on Sunday the White House said that President Trump was open to signing legislation toughening sanctions on Russia after Senate and House leaders reached agreement on a bill late last week.

“We support where the legislation is now and will continue working with the House and Senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia until the situation in Ukraine is fully resolved and it certainly isn’t right now,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” program.

As noted yesterday, congressional Democrats said on Saturday they had agreed with Republicans on a deal allowing new sanctions targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea in a bill that would limit any potential effort by Trump to try to lift sanctions against Moscow. A White House official quoted by Reuters later said the administration’s view of the legislation evolved after changes were made, including the addition of sanctions on North Korea. The official said the administration “supports the direction the bill is headed, but won’t weigh in conclusively until there is a final piece of legislation and no more changes are being made.”

Restrictions against Russia come as part of the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, targeting not only Tehran, but also North Korea. Initially passed by the Senate last month, the measures seek to impose new economic measures on major sectors of the Russian economy. The draft legislation would also introduce individual sanctions for investing in Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, outlining steps to hamper construction of the pipeline and imposing sanctions on European companies which contribute to the project.

Other energy projects, such as the Caspian Sea oil and gas pipelines, the Ukraine gas transit, and the Zohr field off the Egyptian coast, may also be affected due to the participation of Russian companies.

Yet while Russia’s adverse reaction is to be expected, and will likely lead to immediate countersanctions, perhaps coupled with the expuslion of the aforementioned 35 diplomats as well as confiscation of US properties in Russia, it is the EU’s response that will be closely watched. 

According to an internal memo leaked to the press, Brussles said it should act “within days” if new sanctions the US plans to impose on Russia prove to be damaging to Europe’s trade ties with Moscow. Retaliatory measures may include limiting US jurisdiction over EU companies. The memo, seen by the Financial Times and Politico, has emerged amid mounting opposition to a US bill seeking to hit Russia with a new round of sanctions. The bill, if signed into law by the U.S. President, will also give US lawmakers the power to veto any attempt by the president to lift the sanctions.

The document reportedly said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was particularly concerned the sanctions would neglect the interests of European companies. Juncker said Brussels “should stand ready to act within days” if sanctions on Russia are “adopted without EU concerns being taken into account,” according to the Financial Times.

Morning London, while you were sleeping this was our most read story http://on.ft.com/2tsZBtu 

Photo published for EU ready to retaliate against US sanctions on Russia

EU ready to retaliate against US sanctions on Russia

Brussels fears effort to punish Moscow’s election meddling will hurt energy companies


The EU memo also warns that “the measures could impact a potentially large number of European companies doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others.”

The freshly leaked memo suggests that the EU is seeking “a public declaration” from the Trump administration that it will not apply the new sanctions in a way that targets European interests, as cited by Politico.  Other options on the table include triggering the ‘Blocking Statute,’ an EU regulation that limits the enforcement of extraterritorial US laws in Europe. A number of “WTO-compliant retaliatory measures” are also being considered, according to the memo.

Earlier on Sunday, we reported that the bloc expressed its unease over the sanctions bill, when the European Commission said in a statement that “the Russia/Iran sanctions bill is driven primarily by domestic considerations,” adding that it “could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests.”

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “we heard of some corrections to the administration’s stance on sanctions and will wait patiently until it is clearly articulated.” He reiterated that Russia believes the restrictions are “counterproductive” and are harming both US and Russian interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned that any new sanctions on Russia will only result in the deterioration of US-Russia relations.

Germany, Russia’s main European trading partner, called the bill “a peculiar move,” also promising a swift response to it. Some American corporations, including BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Boeing, Citigroup, MasterCard, and Visa, have reportedly lobbied against the move.The corporations, according to a CNN report, want changes to the bill, while lobbyists and trade associations have been visiting Capitol Hill in recent days meeting with members of Congress.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the controversial sanctions bill on Tuesday. Previously, adoption of the draft was put on hold as the House was reluctant to pass it, citing “procedural issues.”

With the vote assured passage it will be up to Trump to determine if the feud with Russia dumped on his lap now escalates, and involves European nations who are far closer to Russia in socio-economic terms than they would like to admit.




Where have we heard this line before:  the EU regulators are in bed with the German Auto Industry regarding the scandal in the faulty emissions. It looks like the regulators will give the cheaters time to solve their emissions problem but it sure seems that diesel is on its way out

(courtesy Mish Shedlock/Mishtalk)

Protecting The Cheaters: EU Regulators In Bed With German Auto Industry Regarding Diesel

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

On June 14, Reuters reported Munich, Home to BMW, Considers Diesel Ban to Tackle Pollution.

Today, with strong overtones of regulators hopping in bed with industries they are supposed to regulate,EU’s Car Regulator Warns Against Diesel Ban in Cities.

Munich, home to carmaker BMW, has become the latest German city to consider banning some diesel vehicles amid “shocking” nitrogen oxide emissions in the Bavarian capital.


“As much as I would welcome avoiding such bans, I think it is just as unlikely that we can continue to do without bans in the future,” Munich mayor Dieter Reiter was quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.


Asked about the latest nitrogen oxide readings, which the paper said violated European air quality standards well beyond busy trunk roads, the mayor said: “The results are shocking, nobody expected this.”


The scandal over rigged diesel emission tests at Volkswagen has already thrown the future of diesel engines into doubt, and has highlighted carmakers’ struggle to comply with ever stricter rules on the nitrogen oxides emissions.

Regulators in Bed With Industry?

Flash forward to today.

Banning diesel cars in European cities could hamper automakers’ ability to invest in zero-emission vehicles, the European Union’s commissioner for industry has warned the bloc’s transport ministers.


In a letter seen by Reuters, Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said there would be no benefit in a collapse of the market for diesel cars and that the short-term focus should be on forcing carmakers to bring dangerous nitrogen oxide emissions into line with EU regulations.


In the letter, Bienkowska told ministers she was concerned that the latest emissions violations at Audi and Porsche were discovered by prosecutors and not Germany’s vehicle and transport authorities.


Bienkowska’s letter also called for all cars with excessively high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions to be taken of European roads, but said carmakers should act on a voluntary basis.


Experts who have seen the letter to ministers say the commissioner appeared to be bowing to carmakers’ demands.


“Her letter contained some important statements that we believe show the industry’s lobbyists have scored a big win,” Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said in a report.

Diesel Job Math

The Center for Economic Studies (CESifo) produced a report on the German diesel industry for its stated client, the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

Let’s dive into the report on the Consequences of a Potential Ban on New Cars and Light Trucks with Combustion Engines.

Based on the structure of production in 2015, at least 457,000 employees are involved in producing types of products which would be directly affected by the ban (e.g., diesel engines). This is equivalent to 7.5% of overall manufacturing employment in Germany. The largest share of these employees (426,000) works in the automotive industry itself. If one includes product groups that would be indirectly affected (e.g., transmission systems, which are more complex in vehicles with combustion engines), the number of potentially affected jobs rises by 163,000 or an additional 3% of overall manufacturing employment. These jobs are mainly clustered in the metal industry: 102,000 employees in metal processing produce parts destined for vehicles with combustion engines. Taking the direct and indirect channel together, a total of at least 620,000 employees would be affected by the ban, which represents over 10% of total German manufacturing employment.


Among the 457,000 directly affected jobs, 31,000 jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises would be highly at risk. These firms can be expected to face larger difficulties than large companies in developing new alternative fields of business against the background of a major shift in propulsion technology. This share is substantially larger among indirectly affected jobs: Here 101,000 out of 163,000 jobs are situated in small and medium-sized enterprises and highly concentrated among automotive suppliers in the metal industry.


If value-added is considered instead of employment, these effects become even more pronounced. This is due to the exceptionally high average labour productivity in the automotive industry. If direct and indirect effects are combined, around 13% of German overall manufacturing value added would be affected by the ban. Based on the 2015 figures, this would represent a volume of 48 billion euros. In interpreting these figures, one has to bear in mind that not the entire workforce and value-added “at risk” would necessarily vanish. Some parts, for example, are also used in heavier trucks and buses, which would probably not be subject to the ban. In addition, new jobs in the areas of alternative propulsion technologies in Germany would help to limit employment reduction, at least in the aggregate.

Germany’s Over-Dependence On Diesel Technology

Eurointelligence discussed diesel in a recent article.

As we have noted time and again it is very hard for people to separate their expectations of the future from their fundamental beliefs. One of the unshakable beliefs in Germany is the virtue of the diesel car. It gives the German motor industry a competitive advantage that cannot be reversed.

Except, of course, through new technologies and shifting social trends.


We noted this tendency to wishful thinking again when we read a story in FAZ this week on the future of the diesel car in Germany, and the importance of the technology for the German economy. One of the statistics quoted is that one tenth of the jobs in German industry directly depends on the production of car engines. And so, the car-obsessed media reporters and German economists have a tendency to downplay technological, social, and political trends by insisting that diesel still has a future.


The Ifo institute has done the math on the impact of a diesel bans on the industry. It shows that 620,000 jobs in Germany directly and indirectly depend on the production of fuel engines for cars – about 1.5 percentage point of the labour force. This is about 10% of all jobs in German industry. These numbers would include suppliers, but presumably, do not take account of any multiplier effects one would observe if those jobs were to disappear.


The Ifo Institute made another important observation, according to FAZ. If fuel-driven engines were made illegal from 2030, Germany could reduce its carbon dioxide emission by one-third. But the study does not advocate such a strategy. Indeed the headline says that banning combustion engines is the wrong path to take. The Ifo institute favors free-market solutions to the problem. Ifo chief Clemens Fuest, who presented the study, argued that it would be a mistake to over regulate the industry because this would waste resources, which in turn would be bad for the goal of climate protection.


We also note confirmation bias among diesel advocates in that they only ever focus on carbon dioxide emissions, rather than the high levels of nitrogen oxides and other substances that are believed to be responsible for tens of thousands of death each year in Europe. This is the main reason why cities are now considering diesel bans.


The study also tried to correct the impression that German car makers are inactive when it comes to alternative technologies. According to the Ifo study, Germany registers around one-third of all global patents in the area of alternative engines – hybrid and electrical. We do not doubt that the German car giants are actively researching alternatives. But the point is that the competitive advantage of German motor manufacturing is predominantly based on its fuel-based engine technologies – an advantage that is bound to decline over time. They are not ahead of the game in the fields of hybrid and electric engines. There is an illusion in Germany that appears to equate the number of registered patents with future commercial success.


In the meantime, expect to see an increase in costs to maintain the diesel technology, and a fall in revenues. Diesel registrations in Germany are falling at a dramatic pace. And car companies are now paying for expensive recall operations, like Mercedes did this week, to upgrade existing cars with the latest software to optimize engines to reduce fuel emissions.

Protecting the Cheaters

My take is the focus on carbon dioxide is wrong. A focus on carcinogens and other pollutants would make more sense.

We can debate at length what pollution standards should be. What’s not debatable is German auto corporations lied and cheated their way to good results and now they are caught with their pants down, at least twice.

Either way, diesel is on the way out. And with that pending change, Germany’s vaunted lead in auto technology has turned into ashes.

Meanwhile, EU regulators are prepared to look the other way in an attempt to give German manufacturers time to catch up.

One can argue that letting the cheaters off the hook makes economic sense, but let’s be honest about what’s happening.



Trump warns Iran: Iran rejects Trumps’ warnings.  Trump calls for the release of 3 prisoners: Levinson and the father/son Namazis. There has been another development where a Princeton University graduate  Wang has just been sentenced to 10 years for “spying”.

Ever since the goofball Obama gave the Iranians billions in cash for hostages, Iran has been on the rampage to receive money for the “spies”

(courtesy zero hedge)

Iran Rejects Trump’s Warning; Foreign Minister Slams “Saudis Involvement In 94% Of Terrorist Attacks In The World”

The US president warned that Iran would face ‘new and serious consequences’ if the detained Americans were not released.

But now, as MiddleEastEye reportsIran demanded on Saturday that the United States release Iranians detained therea day after US President Donald Trump called on the Islamic Republic to release three US citizens.


“America should quickly release Iranian prisoners in the country,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

On Friday, Trump urged Tehran to return Robert Levinson, an American former law enforcement officer who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago, and to release businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer, both jailed on espionage charges.

Trump warned that Iran would face “new and serious consequences” if the three men were not released.

Trump warns Iran over detained Americans: White House http://reut.rs/2vtr0Nk 

Photo published for Trump warns of 'serious consequences' unless Iran releases detained Americans: White House

Trump warns of ‘serious consequences’ unless Iran releases detained Americans: White House

U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face “new and serious consequences” unless all unjustly detained American citizens are released and returned, the White House said in a statement on…




“The judiciary, courts and judges in Iran are completely independent, as in any other country,” Ghasemi said in a statement.


“Any interventionist and threatening statement by American officials and institutions has no effect on the will and determination of the country’s judicial system to try and punish criminals and violators of the country’s laws and national security.”

The statement capped a week of US rhetoric against Tehran, which announced last Sunday that another US citizen, Xiyue Wang, a graduate student from Princeton University, had been sentenced to 10 years in jail on spying charges.

On Tuesday, Washington slapped new economic sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Last October, an Iranian court sentenced 46-year-old Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, 80, to 10 years in prison on charges of spying and cooperating with the US.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained Siamak in October 2015 while he was visiting his family in Tehran, and Baquer, a former Iranian provincial governor and ex-UNICEF official, in February last year, family members said.

Levinson, a former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and for the Drug Enforcement Administration, disappeared in Iran in 2007. The US government has a $5m reward for information leading to his safe return.

Levinson left Iran years ago and the Islamic Republic has no information about his whereabouts, Ghasemi said on Saturday.

“The statements of the White House, as usual, are an example of interference in Iran’s internal affairs and the demands are unacceptable and rejected,” Ghasemi said, according to ISNA.

And then, as The American Herald Tribune reports, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told The National Interest.

“We don’t see the situation in our region as a winning or losing battle. It’s a situation where the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq has led everybody to lose.


Because we believe that the situation in today’s world is so interconnected that we cannot have winners and losers; we either win together or lose together,.”


Zarif also said that Shias, Sunnis and Kurds are all important segment of Iraqi society with whom Iran needs to have relations.

“Iran has rushed to the aid of the Iraqis, not just the Shias, but everybody. For us, the Shias, the Sunnis, the Kurds—all of them are an important segment of Iraqi society with whom we need to have relations.”

Citing an example of Iran’s help to Iraqis when Daesh invaded Iraq in 2014, the foreign minister said, “We went to the support of the Kurds: when they had been invaded by ISIS, we were the first to go to Erbil to secure it and to rescue it, basically, from a Daesh occupation.”

He added there are certain countries in the Middle East who have been “consistently” supporting terrorism.

“You have countries in the region who have consistently supported extremists…



Some countries consistently supported the wrong groups – these are the same countries from whose nationals, almost 94 percent of those engaged in acts of terror, came – so we are talking about a consistent record on their side and a consistent record on the Iranian side.” 

He added that Iran does not seek to exclude Saudi Arabia from the security calculus of the Middle East region.

“We believe that Saudi Arabia is an important part of that security, as we believe that other countries in the region should be an important part of that security understanding.”



What is this world coming to:  Palestinian President Abbas cuts off diplomatic ties with Israel (they really had none to begin with) because Israel set up metal detectors at the holy site of the Temple Mount (for Jews)0 and the Santuary (for Muslims) after a Palestinian attack killed 2 Israel soldiers on Friday night.

(courtesy zero hedge)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Cuts Off Diplomatic Ties With Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel until it removes metal detectors that were installed recently at the Temple Mount, one of Islam’s holiest sites, after three people died and 200 more were injured during deadly clashes at the site Friday afternoon, according to Reuters.

“I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at Al-Aqsa mosque and preserves the status quo,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech after meeting his aides, referring to a mosque forming part of the holy site.

Abbas said in a speech that the freeze would stay in place until Israel lifted its stringent measures at Al-Aqsa mosque , which Jews call the Temple Mount, according to the Daily Sabah. On the advice of local police and the IDF, Israel’s cabinet decided to tighten security around the site after a series of violent terrorist attacks, including one that occurred a week ago, when three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site, according to Breitbart.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians have been battling with Israeli Defense Forces outside the Temple for days to protest the new security measures – including metal detectors that have been installed at the Temple’s entrances. On Friday, three young men were killed when fighting broke out.

Israeli police told the government that “extremist elements” where planning to “to cause violent disruptions to the public order, and thereby to threaten the public peace, including the [safety] of those coming to pray at the holy sites and other residents of the area,” according to Breitbart

As a result, Israeli security forces erected checkpoints at main entrances to Jerusalem and blocked several roads leading to the Temple Mount area. Some 3,000 police forces were deployed to Jerusalem’s Old City in addition to five Israel Defense Forces battalions that have been put on standby.

According to Palestinian medical sources, Mohammad Mahmoud Sharef, 17, was shot in the neck in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud. Sharef reportedly died of his wounds shortly afterwards. The Palestinian reports claimed that the gunfire came from a nearby east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood called Maala Hazeitim. The other casualty was Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghanem, 19. Later, Palestinian media reported a third Palestinian, 17-year-old Mohammad Laffi, was killed in Abu Dis, a town near the border with Israel.

Clashes have erupted across the West Bank. Here’s the Jerusalem Postwith more:

“Israel’s Channel 10 reported that a child of eight had died from tear gas inhalation, but that could not be confirmed.


Israeli police also reported disturbances in Ras Al-Amoud, A-Tur, and Wadi Joz, including stone throwing and Molotov cocktails, which resulted in the injury of four police officers.


According to the army, the West Bank checkpoint of Qalandiya as well as Hebron saw the largest riots, with an estimated 600 Palestinians throwing stones at troops at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem and hundreds more in Hebron. Troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades in both cases.


At least 200 Palestinians threw stones at security forces at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, while more demonstrated in the West Bank town of Jericho. A reported 100 others threw stones at Israeli vehicles near the settlement of Tekoa and some 200 others clashed with troops in Qaddum, west of Nablus, and Na’alin, west of Ramallah. Another 100 Palestinians clashes with troops in Beit Ummar, northwest of Hebron.


The Palestinian Maan agency reported that the bodies of both Palestinians were quickly buried on Friday afternoon, out of concern that Israeli authorities would seize them. Maan also reported that Israeli forces raided Makassed Hospital, although the purpose of the raid has not yet been established.”

According to Breitbart, the battles erupted after Palestinian protest leaders, a group that includes top Palestinian government officials, told their followers that the metal detectors were part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship at the Mount. The site is one of the holiest landmarks in Judaism and Islam.

The protest leaders – not to mention Abbas – apparently ignored the fact that the metal detectors help keep all visitors to the site safe, regardless of their religion.




Horseman Global Capital’s  chairman, Russell Clark is an extremely smart individual.  He explains why they are going short on USA shale…

a must read..


(courtesy Russell Clark/zero hedge/Horseman Capital)

BREAKING: Yemeni Forces Strike Saudi Oil Refinery With Long-Range Ballistic Missile

Sana’a (GPA) – In retaliation for the Saudi’s ongoing aggression against Yemen, Yemeni forces have targeted an Aramco Saudi oil refinery in Yanbu province with a long-range ballistic missile.

The Saudi-led coalition tend to order anywhere from 20 to 70 airstrikes against various Yemeni provinces on any given day. Any province under control of Yemen’s Popular Forces is fair game. Hot spots currently include Taiz, Marib, the vital Hodeidah port town, and the densely populated capital city of Sana’a. So in retaliation, Yemeni forces have struck a Saudi oil refinery.

Just yesterday, Saudi airstrikes attacked a fishing boat killing 8 workers on board and wounding at least one more. Other targets frequently include civilian homes, crowded markets, funerals, schools, and all other civilian infrastructure. Despite this terrorism, arms from the west– especially the United States and United Kingdom– continue flowing.

RELATED: Here’s Exactly What 800+ Days of US-Saudi Aggression Has Destroyed in Yemen…

Yemen’s Popular Forces have long been working on developing their own long-range ballistic missiles called the Borakn 2 aka “Volcano H-2” which has a range of nearly 900 miles. Yemen’s resistance has launched other long-range missiles at military targets deep inside Saudi Arabia before. In May, a Yemeni missile targeted Riyadh as a “welcome gift” for Donald Trump’s visit that same day. Yemeni forces have also successfully struck coalition fighter jets en route to drop bombs and several coalition warships. 

As long as the Saudi-led aggression continues to massacre innocent Yemenis, Yemen’s Popular Forces will likely continue to retaliate. While Saudi Arabia targets civilians, Yemeni forces only target military gatherings or high-value economic targets. This particular attack on the Saudi oil refinery was carried out at night as to avoid any civilian casualties.

In the past 850 days, Saudi Arabia has completely destroyed nearly all civilian infrastructure, massacred thousands of civilians, and triggered a cholera epidemic the likes of which the world has never seen.

RELATED: Saudi ‘Double Tap’ Attack on Yemen Market Kills Dozens, Prevents Rescue

Photos credit Yemeni Military Media.



Venezuela is now heading towards default.  One of the big problems for the USA is Russia’s collateral of 49.9% of USA based Citgo (Rosneft). Having Russia own considerable downstream oil assets on USA soil is not particularly exciting for USA authorities

(courtesy zero hedge)

Venezuela Will Be The First Sovereign Oil Producer To See An “All-Out Collapse”

Venezuela’s anti-government protests are growing increasingly violent, with the death toll from clashes between protesters and government forces that began in May topping 100. Despite the country’s increasing political instability, and US President Donald Trump’s half-serious threats of an invasion, President Nicolas Maduro has decided to press ahead with his vote to create a rubberstamp constituent assembly that will allow him to amend the country’s constitution.

With the country’s finances looking ever more precarious, Bloombergwarns that that this decision could bring about the first collapse of a sovereign oil producerVenezuela has the largest natural oil reserves of any country on Earth, yet the decline in oil prices that began in 2014, coupled with years of economic mismanagement, have been enough to bring the country’s economy to its knees.

“We may be about to see the first sovereign producer to unequivocally fail. The oil producer in question is Venezuela, and that assessment comes courtesy of Helima Croft, who is global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets and formerly worked with both the Council on Foreign Relations and the CIA. In a global oil market mired in excess inventory and low expectations, Venezuela is the most tangible of wildcards. Its tragic and volatile mix of a failing, oil-dependent economy, political gridlock and simmering unrest is well known at this point.But things are building to a head, partly due to the relentless logic of the bond market and partly due to the more proprietary logic of U.S. foreign policy.”

While many oil dependent nations are working to diversify or ride out low oil prices in other ways, it seems unlikely that the crisis in Venezuela will be reversed anytime soon. Here’s the full fiscal breakeven needed by OPEC producers, including Venezuela, to help normalize things:

The country’s fate, as Bloomberg explains, is largely tied up in the bond market, where yields on Venezuelan bonds recently soared to 36% as Maduro renewed his calls to rewrite the Constitution. With the US threatening sanctions, investors are worried that the situation could reach a crisis point by Christmas.

“Venezuelan bonds, which haven’t looked rock-solid for a few years, crashed this week as embattled President Nicola Maduro renewed calls to rewrite the country’s constitution, which would effectively disenfranchise the millions of Venezuelans who oppose him and entrench his regime. The U.S. has warned it may impose much tougher sanctions if Maduro goes ahead with his plan.


Whether Maduro will, and what those sanctions might be, are the big unknowns here. But there’s an awful confluence of factors that could quite easily push this toward a debacle by the end of the year.”

Regardless of what happens to the Maduro regime, the country’s citizens are already living in hyperinflationary hell. As we recently reported, Venezuelans are paying 1000x more for dollars than they were in 2010. The collapse in social services like police has created lawlessness reminiscent of the Mad Max film series, where members of the public routinely lynch suspected thieves, and gangs of bikers waylay merchants carrying commodities to market.

The country’s economy is in free-fall: By the end of this year, it will have shrunk by 32 percent compared to where it was at the end of 2013, according to International Monetary Fund forecasts. Also by the end of this year, the government is on the hook to pay back more than $5 billion in debt – including bonds owed by the state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., or PdVSA – plus billions more in interest. As of this week, Venezuela’s international reserves stood at less than $10 billion.

Meanwhile, mismanagement, a lack of investment and re-nationalization of foreign oil companies have caused Venezuela’s oil production to slump from around 3.3 million barrels a day a decade ago to about 2 million nowEven allowing for the fact that domestic consumption has dwindled along with GDP, Venezuela’s surplus of oil available for earning export dollars has shrunk considerably.

Compounding this is the fact that the country must devote a lot of its output to paying off loans from China and Russia, further reducing the actual amount it can use to generate cash. Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, estimates that could be as little as 800,000 barrels a day.

While the US and Venezuela have for years traded hostilities as part of the leadership’s rhetoric, the two countries have enjoyed a lucrative business relationship, with the US buying hundreds of thousands of barrels of Venezuelan oil a day. Even under the late socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, who never missed an opportunity to antagonize the US, business was steady.

But by pursuing sanctions against Venezuela, the US risks pushing it closer toward Russia’s sphere of influence.

Further isolation of Venezuela, or a sovereign default, could easily push the country further toward the embrace of Moscow. Rosneft Oil Co. PJSC, Russia’s national oil company, loaned money to PdVSA last year collateralized with a 49.9 percent stake in Citgo Petroleum Corp., the U.S. refining and marketing business owned by the Venezuelan oil company. Rosneft is now said to be negotiating swapping that collateral for stakes in Venezuelan reserves and a fuel-supply agreement instead, according to a report from Reuters on Thursday. Swapping valuable downstream assets on U.S. soil for reserves under Venezuelan soil wouldn’t look terribly rational from a purely economic point of view. So if this were to happen, the rationales could range from an expectation on Rosneft’s part that U.S. sanctions against Russia, and national security considerations, might stymie any chance of actually taking possession of a Citgo stake to a desire to further cement Russian influence in Venezuela on the ground.

According to Bloomberg, allowing Moscow set up camp in Caracas would appear to violate the Monroe Doctrine. Moreover, blocking Venezuela’s relatively heavy inflow of oil would squeeze the margins of US refiners set up to process it, and likely lead to higher gasoline prices. Two unattractive options for any president.

Your early morning currency/gold and silver pricing/Asian and European bourse movements/ and interest rate settings MONDAY morning 7:00 am



GBP/USA 1.3038 UP .0047 (Brexit  March 29/ 2017/ARTICLE 50 SIGNED



Early THIS MONDAY morning in Europe, the Euro FELL by 9 basis points, trading now ABOVE the important 1.08 level  FALLING to 1.1650; Europe is still reacting to Gr Britain HARD BREXIT,deflation, announcements of massive stimulation (QE), a proxy middle east war, and the ramifications of a default at the Austrian Hypo bank, an imminent default of Greece, Glencore, Nysmark and the Ukraine, along with rising peripheral bond yield further stimulation as the EU is moving more into NIRP, and now the Italian referendum defeat AND NOW THE ECB TAPERING OF ITS PURCHASES/ THE USA’S NON tightening by FAILING TO RAISE THEIR INTEREST RATE AND NOW THE HUGE PROBLEMS FACING TOO BIG TO FAIL DEUTSCHE BANK + THE ELECTION OF TRUMP IN THE USA+ TRUMP HEALTH CARE BILL DEFEAT AND MONTE DEI PASCHI NATIONALIZATION / Last night the Shanghai composite CLOSED  UP 12.67 POINTS OR 0.39%     / Hang Sang  CLOSED UP 140.74 POINTS OR 0.53% /AUSTRALIA  CLOSED DOWN 0.39% / EUROPEAN BOURSES OPENED  IN THE RED 

We are seeing that the 3 major global carry trades are being unwound. The BIGGY is the first one;

1. the total dollar global short is 9 trillion USA and as such we are now witnessing a sea of red blood on the streets as derivatives blow up with the massive rise in the rise in the dollar against all paper currencies and especially with the fall of the yuan carry trade. The emerging market which house close to 50% of the 9 trillion dollar short is feeling the massive pain as their debt is quite unmanageable.

2, the Nikkei average vs gold carry trade ( NIKKEI blowing up and the yen carry trade HAS BLOWN up/and now NIRP)

3. Short Swiss franc/long assets blew up ( Eastern European housing/Nikkei etc.

These massive carry trades are terribly offside as they are being unwound. It is causing global deflation ( we are at debt saturation already) as the world reacts to lack of demand and a scarcity of debt collateral. Bourses around the globe are reacting in kind to these events as well as the potential for a GREXIT>

The NIKKEI: this MONDAY morning CLOSED DOWN 124.08 POINTS OR .62%

Trading from Europe and Asia:
1. Europe stocks  OPENED ALL IN THE RED 

2/ CHINESE BOURSES / : Hang Sang CLOSED UP 140.74 POINTS OR 0.53%  / SHANGHAI CLOSED UP 12.67 POINTS OR 0.39%   /Australia BOURSE CLOSED DOWN 0.39% /Nikkei (Japan)CLOSED DOWN 44.84  POINTS OR .22%    / INDIA’S SENSEX IN THE RED

Gold very early morning trading: 1256.70


Early MONDAY morning USA 10 year bond yield: 2.2357% !!!  UP 0 IN POINTS from FRIDAY night in basis points and it is trading JUST BELOW resistance at 2.27-2.32%.

 The 30 yr bond yield  2.8117, UP 1  IN BASIS POINTS  from FRIDAY night.

USA dollar index early MONDAY morning: 93.94 UP 8  CENT(S) from FRIDAY’s close.

This ends early morning numbers  MONDAY MORNING


And now your closing MONDAY NUMBERS

Portuguese 10 year bond yield: 2.904%  DOWN 0 in basis point(s) yield from FRIDAY 

JAPANESE BOND YIELD: +.072%  UP 1/2   in   basis point yield from FRIDAY/JAPAN losing control of its yield curve

SPANISH 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.4851% UP 3   IN basis point yield from FRIDAY 

ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: 2.055 DOWN 2 POINTS  in basis point yield from FRIDAY 

the Italian 10 yr bond yield is trading 57 points HIGHER than Spain.





Closing currency crosses for MONDAY night/USA DOLLAR INDEX/USA 10 YR BOND YIELD/1:00 PM 

Euro/USA 1.1635 DOWN .0024 (Euro DOWN 24 Basis points/ represents to DRAGHI A COMPLETE POLICY FAILURE/

USA/Japan: 111.20 UP  0.092(Yen DOWN 9 basis points/ 

Great Britain/USA 1.3023 UP  0.0033( POUND UP 33

basis points) 

USA/Canada 1.25152 DOWN .0020 (Canadian dollar UP 20 basis points AS OIL ROSE TO $46.32


This afternoon, the Euro was DOWN  by 24 basis points to trade at 1.1635


The POUND ROSE BY 33  basis points, trading at 1.3023/ 

The Canadian dollar ROSE by 20 basis points to 1.25152,  WITH WTI OIL RISING TO :  $46.32

The USA/Yuan closed at 6.7512/
the 10 yr Japanese bond yield closed at +.072%  UP  1/2  IN  BASIS POINTS / yield/ 

Your closing 10 yr USA bond yield UP 2 IN basis points from FRIDAY at 2.2517% //trading well ABOVE the resistance level of 2.27-2.32%) very problematic  USA 30 yr bond yield: 2.8299  UP 3 in basis points on the day /

Your closing USA dollar index, 94.02  UP 22 CENT(S)  ON THE DAY/1.00 PM 

Your closing bourses for Europe and the Dow along with the USA dollar index closing and interest rates for MONDAY: 1:00 PM EST

London:  CLOSED DOWN 75.18 POINTS OR 1.01%
German Dax :CLOSED DOWN 31.11 POINTS OR 0.25%
Paris Cac  CLOSED UP 10.04 POINTS OR 0.20% 
Spain IBEX CLOSED UP 19.90 POINTS OR 0.19%

Italian MIB: CLOSED  UP 124.42 POINTS/OR 0.59%

The Dow closed DOWN 66.90 OR 0.31%

NASDAQ WAS closed up 23.06  POINTS OR 0.36%  4.00 PM EST
WTI Oil price;  46.32 at 1:00 pm; 

Brent Oil: 48.51 1:00 EST




This ends the stock indices, oil price, currency crosses and interest rate closes for today

Closing Price for Oil, 5 pm/and 10 year USA interest rate:


BRENT: $48.65


USA 30 YR BOND YIELD: 2.8333%


USA/JAPANESE YEN:111.08  DOWN  0.190

USA DOLLAR INDEX: 94.00  UP 8  cent(s) 

The British pound at 5 pm: Great Britain Pound/USA: 1.3027 : UP 38 POINTS FROM LAST NIGHT  

Canadian dollar: 1.2507 up 28 BASIS pts 

German 10 yr bond yield at 5 pm: +0.508%


And now your more important USA stories which will influence the price of gold/silver


Nasdaq Rebounds To Record Highs As T-Bill Turmoil Continues


Another day, another record high in tech stocks…


A very ugly 3mo T-Bill auction today (highest yield since Lehman and inverting the yield curve) sent yields soaring once again as debt-ceiling concerns are spooking cash markets (but not stocks)…

But as Bloomberg notes, markets focused once again on the White House as news about Russian ties continued to hold sway. Jared Kushner told reporters after his Senate testimony he did nothing wrong. “Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said. The benign news calmed risk anxiety.


Trannies are down for the 6th day in a row (to lowest close in a month) as Nasdaq rallies to new record highs (up 11 of the last 12 days) – a dramatically divergent day…


VIX crashed to a new record closing low, managing to get S&P green but then it snapped


Retail was notably weak today (for the 2nd day in a row) as Financials outperformed…


FANG Stocks continued to rise today – 12th day in a row – ahead of GOOGL’s earnings…FANG are up 15% in the last 12 days…


We note GOOGL was suddenly sold into the close…back below $1000


Interestingly this afternoon’s quiet linear meltup in stocks was not driven by a short-squeeze…


Stocks and Bonds ahve recoupled from Draghi’s break…


Bond yields rose modestly from the moment Europe opened…


Crude gained on the heels of Saudi promises to make deeper cuts to exports in August…Still the move was very modest considering the headlines...


And that helped lift the Loonie to 14-month highs against the dollar….


The Dollar Index ended the day unch hovering at Aug 2016 swing lows…


Gold also went nowhere today, trading in a very narrow range…


Bitcoin was also very quite today…



early Saturday Trumps issues mega tweets on just about all topics:

(courtesy zero hedge)

In Furious, Bizarre Tweetstorm Trump Slams Leaks, “Amazon Post”, “Failing NYT”, Hillary, GOP Senators

Trump may have broken a personal tweetstorm record on Saturday morning, when starting shortly after 6:30am, in a furious blast of ten tweets (and still going), Trump lashed out at the “Amazon Washington Post”, the “failing New York Times”, touched on his right to pardon, questioned why the Attorney General isn’t looking at the “many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes” and the “33,000 emails deleted”, asked “what about the Clinton ties to Russia including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian reset, big dollar speeches”, compared Donald Jr.’s email disclosure to Hillary Clinton’s email deletion “and acid wash” of her 33,000 emails, slammed “dead ObamaCare”, and finally (at least for now) slammed both Republican senators who must “step up to the plate and vote to Repeal and Replace”, as well as Democrat Senators who are “obstructionists, no ideas or votes.”

The tweet that has attracted the most media attention so far, is Trump’s assertion that he has “complete power to pardon” following reports that he was discussing his ability to pardon people in the ongoing investigation into ties between his campaign and Russia. “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS.”

The WaPo reported last week that Trump’s new lawyers are looking into his authority to grant pardons in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Post also said that Trump has also talked to his advisers about his ability to pardon his aides, family members and even himself in the investigation.

One adviser who spoke to the newspaper said the president’s inquiries were merely made out of curiosity. “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’” the adviser said.

Meanwhile on Friday, the White House on Friday would not rule out the possibility that Trump would issue pardons in the investigation. “The president maintains pardon powers like any president would,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, but added that “there are no announcements” about pardons at this time.

Additionally, in one of the more bizarre tweets, Trump alleged The New York Times “foiled” a U.S. attack on the leader of the Islamic State, Al-Baghdadi despite conflicting reports over the past two weeks that he may have been killed in a Russian air strike, suggesting the paper has a “sick agenda” that hurts national security.

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security

It was unclear why the president held the Times responsible or what attack he meant. On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that he believes al-Baghdadi is still alive. The NYT quoted Mattis telling Pentagon reporters that “I think Baghdadi’s alive. Until I see his body, I am going to assume he is alive.”

Ironically, while Trump slammed the “failing New York Times” on Saturday, and many times in the past, it was the NYT that Trump recently gave a rare wide-ranging one-on-one interview in the Oval Office.

As for the rest of his tweets, here they are in all their bizarre tweetstorm glory:

A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security

This morning I will be going to the Commissioning Ceremony for the largest aircraft carrier in the world, The Gerald R. Ford. Norfolk, Va.

While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS

So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?

…What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.

My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!

In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn’t think I was running!

The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!

ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!



Mueller is trying to force Manafort to testify against Trump

(courtesy zero hedge)



Mueller Tries To Turn Manafort In Trump Russia Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full-court press on anyone and everyone involved with the Trump campaign has finally begun – and the first target in his sights is, of course, former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, by far the easiest mark. According to Reuters, Mueller and his team are trying to recruit Manafort as a cooperating witness in the Russia investigation in exchange for immunity for possible money laundering charges.

The focus on Manafort isn’t a surprise. Not only did Manafort attend the now-infamous June 2016 Russia meeting organized by Donald Trump Jr., but investigators have already been scrutinizing his ties to deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, along with several shady real-estate deals.

U.S. investigators examining money laundering accusations against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort hope to push him to cooperate with their probe into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation said.


Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is examining Manafort’s financial and real estate records in New York as well as his involvement in Ukrainian politics, the officials said.”

Specifically, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is investigating several New York City real estate deals involving Manafort for evidence that the properties might have been paid for with money funneled to Manafort by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The former Ukrainian leader hired Manafort’s firm to do political consulting work. Last summer, ledgers found by Ukrainian investigators surfaced purporting to show millions of dollars in undisclosed payments to Manafort’s firm, though they haven’t been proved genuine.

According to Reuters’ anonymous presumably government sources, Manafort bought three NYC properties between 2006 and 2013, arousing suspicion from then-US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, who had been looking into the source of Manafort’s funds up until he was fired by President Donald Trump,along with dozens of other Obama-appointed US attorneys.

“Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three New York properties, including one in Trump Tower in Manhattan. He paid for them in full and later took out mortgages against them. A former senior U.S. law enforcement official said that tactic is often used as a means to hide the origin of funds gained illegally. Reuters has no independent evidence that Manafort did this.”

Because collusion isn’t a specific crime, obtaining evidence that could justify a criminal charge against Manafort is believed to be crucial if the government wants to turn him against President Donald Trump, or another figure involved in the campaign, Reutersnoted.

“If Mueller’s team can threaten criminal charges against Manafort, they could use that as leverage to convince him to cooperate,” said one of the sources.

This should be obvious to anyone who’s at all familiar with the workings of the US criminal justice system. But what’s infuriating about this strategy is that the threatened charges don’t necessarily need to be related to Manafort’s activities as Trump’s campaign manager. Apart from the fact that one of the properties was a condo in Trump Tower, Manafort’s dealings with Yanukovych have nothing to do with Trump – yet hysterical liberals, and now maybe the DOJ, will fixate on the optics of the situation without regarding the facts.

Not to mention that Manafort was forced out of the Trump campaign after only two months because of his dealings with Yanukovych.

Manafort’s representatives denied assertions that he is already cooperating with Mueller’s team. His spokesman, Jason Maloni, said, “Paul Manafort is not a cooperating witness. Once again there is no truth to the disinformation put forth by anonymous sources and leakers.”

Mueller is focusing on the Trump associates involved in the June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, including the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., Senior Adviser to the President and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort. Kushner has risked losing his security clearance for failing to disclose meetings with certain Russian officials, and Don Jr. set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya and her associates, responding enthusiastically to publicist Rob Goldstone’s claim that Trump would be given damaging opposition research on Hillary Clinton that was compiled by Russian intelligence, answering an email with the now-famous line “if it’s what you say it is, then I love it.”

Manafort and Trump Jr. have managed to put off a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee by agreeing to provide records to the panel and to be privately interviewed ahead of any public session. But their day in the spotlight likely can’t be avoided indefinitely. In the meantime, presuming Mueller comes up short in his investigation into Manafort, we wonder who the special counsel will put the screws to next?



Kushner releases an 11 page statement whereby he denies collusion and confirms 4 meetins with Russian officials:

(courtesy zero hedge)

Kushner Releases 11-Page Statement: Denies Collusion, Confirms Four Meetings With Russians

Ahead of his closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee at 10am, Jared Kushner released an 11-page statement which confirmed four contacts with Russians during his father-in-law’s presidential campaign or after the election, but described the encounters as unmemorable and denied colluding with the Russian government to help Donald Trump win the election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, including whether Trump’s campaign colluded with a Russian government effort to tip the election toward Trump.

The key statement: “I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 [security clearance] form, above and beyond what is required.

In the most consequential meeting, Kushner said he agreed to meet with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, on Dec. 13 at the request of the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak

Kushner’s interview with committee staff is voluntary, will take place out of the public eye and will not be under oath. It nevertheless may serve as a building block for the ongoing Russia investigations by Special Counsel Bob Mueller as well as House and Senate committees. The stakes for the congressional interviews are high for Kushner because Kushner is of acute interest to special counsel Bob Mueller, and prosecutors can be expected to pick apart today’s statement.

Kushner amended his security clearance disclosures to account for previously unreported meetings with foreign contacts, and his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr., disclosed this month that in June 2016 Kushner sat in on a meeting with a Russian lawyer and a Russian lobbyist that Trump Jr. believed would deliver potentially damaging information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according toBloomberg.

Suspicions about Kushner’s contacts with Russians have been intensifying since late May, when the Washington Post first reported that Kushner was a “person of interest” in the multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election in its favor. Among other misdeeds, Kushner has been accused in the media of trying to set up a backchannel to Moscow during the campaign. However, he denies this allegation, saying that he merely asked Kislyak if lines of communication existed for Moscow’s generals to brief former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn on events in Syria. He was told there were none.

“I did not suggest a ‘secret back channel’. I did not suggest an ongoing secret form of communication for then or for when the administration took office. I did not raise the possibility of using the embassy or any other Russian facility for any purpose other than this one possible conversation in the transition period,” he testified, according to the Financial Times.

Rebutting one of the more persistent allegations against him – namely that he left a handful of meetings with foreign officials off his security clearance application – Kushner said that, due to a clerical error, all of his meetings with foreign parties were ommitted, according to Reuters.

Kushner has said he didn’t read to the bottom of an email forwarded to him by his brother-in-law about the Russia meeting that described potentially receiving damaging information about Clinton. He has said he left the meeting after only a couple of minutes, even texting an assistant asking them to call him and give him an excuse to leave.

“[I]n looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work,” he says in the statement, “I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote ‘Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.’ I had not met the attorney before the meeting nor spoken with her since. I thought nothing more of this short meeting until it came to my attention recently.”

Another highlight: “With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any. … [T]he day after the election, I could not even remember the name of the Russian Ambassador. … I sent an email asking [Dmitri Simes of the Center for the National Interest, which hosted a Trump foreign policy speech], ‘What is the name of the Russian ambassador?'”

Meanwhile, Kushner last week filed an amended financial disclosure that included 77 items worth at least $10 million that were described as “inadvertently omitted” from a March filing. The updated filing includes details about the Kushner family’s real estate holdings. The disclosure has been revised 39 times since its initial filing on March 9.

Other notable excerpts from today’s statement, via Axios:

  • “When it became apparent that my father-in-law was going to be the Republican nominee for President, as normally happens, a number of officials from foreign countries attempted to reach out to the campaign. My father-in-law asked me to be a point of contact with these foreign countries. … [O]ver the course of the campaign, I had incoming contacts with people from approximately 15 countries.”
  • “I called on a variety of people with deep experience, such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, for advice on policy for the candidate, which countries/representatives with which the campaign should engage, and what messaging would resonate.”
  • “The first [campaign contact] that I can recall was at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. in April 2016. … [T]he host of the event, Dimitri Simes, … introduced me to several guests, among them four ambassadors, including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. With all the ambassadors, including Mr. Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries.”
  • “Reuters news service has reported that I had two calls with Ambassador Kislyak at some time between April and November of 2016. While I participated in thousands of calls during this period, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador. We have reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to identify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am highly skeptical these calls took place.”
  • “I had no ongoing relationship with the Ambassador before the election, and had limited knowledge about him.”
  • “The only other Russian contact during the campaign is one I did not recall at all until I was reviewing documents and emails in response to congressional requests for information.”
  • That was the Trump Tower meeting, and he said the invitation from Donald Trump Jr. “was on top of a long [email] back and forth that I did not read at the time. … Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as ‘Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.’ No one else was mentioned.”
  • “There was one more possible contact that I will note. On October 30, 2016, I received a random email from the screenname ‘Guccifer400.’ This email, which I interpreted as a hoax, was an extortion attempt and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information. I brought the email to the attention of a U.S. Secret Service agent on the plane we were all travelling on and asked what he thought. He advised me to ignore it and not to reply — which is what I did. The sender never contacted me again.”
  • “On November 16, 2016, my assistant received a request for a meeting from the Russian Ambassador… The [Dec. 1] meeting occurred in Trump Tower, where we had our transition office, and lasted twenty [to] thirty minutes. Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.), who became the President’s National Security Advisor, also attended.
  • “I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisisand I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn. The Ambassador said that would not be possible and so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the Inauguration. Nothing else occurred. I did not suggest a ‘secret back channel.'”
  • “My assistant reported that the Ambassador had requested that I meet with a person named Sergey Gorkov who he said was a banker and someone with a direct line to the Russian President who could give insight into how Putin was viewing the new administration and best ways to work together. I agreed to meet Mr. Gorkov because the Ambassador has been so insistent, said he had a direct relationship with the President, and because Mr. Gorkov was only in New York for a couple days.”
  • “The [Dec. 13] meeting with Mr. Gorkov lasted twenty to twenty-five minutes. … At no time was there any discussion about my companies, business transactions, real estate projects, loans, banking arrangements or any private business of any kind.”
  • “There has been a good deal of misinformation reported about my SF-86 [security clearance] form. As my attorneys and I have previously explained, my SF-86 application was prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials.”
  • “[P]eople at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form. They sent an email to my assistant in Washington, communicating that the changes to one particular section were complete; my assistant interpreted that message as meaning that the entire form was completed.
  • “At that point, the form was a rough draft and still had many omissions including not listing any foreign government contacts and even omitted the address of my father-in-law (which was obviously well known). Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017.”
  • “The very next day, January 19, 2017, we submitted supplemental information to the transition, which confirmed receipt and said they would immediately transmit it to the FBI.”


Get your popcorn ready!! The FBI has just seized the crushed hard drives from the Awan brothers as well as   the former head of the DNC: Wasserman Schultz


(courtesy zero hedge)

FBI Seized Crushed Hard Drives From Home Of Wasserman-Schultz’ IT Aide

Over the past few months, the story of the Awan brothers has been largely ignored by mainstream media. However, the Pakistani-born brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan are at the center of a criminal investigation by U.S. Capital Hill Police and the FBI.  While official charges have not yet been filed, allegations of wrong doing vary from simply overcharging taxpayers for congressional IT equipment to blackmailing members of Congress with secrets captured from emails.

The Awan brothers were Pakistani IT specialists, whom worked for more than 30 house and senate democrats, as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The substantial scandal has raised questions about who may have been passed data which the Awans had access to, given Pakistan’s history of collaborating with a number of foreign countries who have demonstrated past willingness to influence U.S. politics.

Now, per an exclusive report from the Daily Caller, we learn that the twisted plot surrounding the Awan brothers has grown even more interesting as FBI agents have reportedly seized a number of “smashed hard drives” and other computer equipment from their former residence in Virginia.

FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to an individual who was interviewed by Bureau investigators in the case and a high level congressional source.


Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.


The congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.


Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.

Makes you wonder whether they used the official BleachBit hammer to destroy the hard drives.



Apparently the hard drives were first discovered by a Marine Corps veteran after he rented a house in Lorton, Va. that belonged to the Awans.  Upon moving in, the Marine found a trove of abandoned computer equipment in the garage, much of which had been destroyed, and called the FBI to take a look.

One of the new tenants — a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer — said he found “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”


The tenants called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and, not long after, FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview them and confiscate the equipment. The Marine spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his wife’s naval career, saying she doesn’t want to be associated with a national security incident.


“It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” the Marine said. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”

For those who have managed to avoid this story, Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.

The family was paid extremely well, with Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004. Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.

The staffer’s services were so important to congressional members, that on March 22, 2016, eight democrat members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a letter, requesting that their staffers be granted access to Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). Of those that signed the letter were representatives Jackie Speier (CA) and Andre Carson (IN), the second Muslim in Congress, both of whom employed the Awan brothers.

The brothers were also employed by members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, such as: Jackie Speier (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). Lieu has since openly called for leaks by members of President Trump’s administration despite the fact that he may until recently have been under surveillance by a foreign entity.

One bombshell that has been all but ignored by the main stream media is that Imran Awan had access to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password, meaning that the brothers also had direct access to the notorious DNC emails.

The brothers are accused of removing hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment from congressional offices, including computers and servers, while also running a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged the House administrative office that assigns such contractors to members.

Some congressional technology aides believe that the Awan’s are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, due to the fact that these representatives have displayed unwavering and intense loyalty towards the former aides.

Of course, if Republicans and/or members of the Trump administration hired foreign-born IT specialists who were suspected of committing a laundry list of federal crimes and then smashed a bunch of hard drives just before skipping town…we’re sure the media would still gloss right over it in much the same way they’re doing for the the Democrats in this instance.

Auto stocks were crushed on Friday after Autoliv slashes 2017 growth forecast by a huge 50%

(courtesy zero hedge)


Auto Stocks Crushed As Autoliv Slashes 2017 Growth Forecast In Half

After seemingly ignoring a whole host of a negative data points over the past several months, from collapsing sales volumes and soaring inventories levels to crashing used car pricesauto investors apparently couldn’t see their way to ignoring Autoliv’s abysmal earnings this morning.

A maker of automotive safety systems for various light vehicle platforms around the world, the $9 billion market cap Autoliv missed 2Q 2017 on both revenue ($2.54bn actual vs. $2.57bn expected) and earnings ($1.44 actual vs. $1.49 expected) as shares dropped over 9% in early trading.

Of course, it was Autoliv’s rather cautious outlook on North American production volumes in 2H 2017 that likely caught investors off-guard.  Speaking on their conference call earlier, Autoliv management noted increasing uncertainty on the stability of auto markets in North America and China and expressed growing concerns on inventory levels in those two markets

We continue to see some uncertainty in the light vehicle market in particular in North America and in China.During the second quarter, the inventories remained above normal levels in China and the U.S. due to softer demand than the underlying light vehicle production, while the inventory levels in Europe remained stable based on our internal estimates.

…which prompted them to slash their top line growth forecast for the entire year from their previous guidance of 4% organic growth to just 2%.

Looking now up on the full year on the next slide. Our full year 2017 indications remains unchanged from February 2 for adjusted operating margin. However, we lowered our organic sales growth indication to about 2% from about 4% mainly due to lower demand in China and North America during the second quarter and the second half of 2017.


And summarizing our outlook on the next slide. Our outlook excludes cost for capacity alignment and anti-trust-related matters, and assume mid-July exchange rates. Our net consolidated sales for the third quarter expected to increase up to 2% as the currency translation effect is minimal. The full year 2017 indication is for a net consolidated sales increase of around 3% which remains unchanged from April 20. The lower organic sales growth of around 2% from the 4% earlier indication is offset by a lower currency translation effect of around 2 percentage points. Based on these sales assumptions, we expect an adjusted operating margin in the range of 7.5% to 8% for the third quarter and around 8.5% for the full year 2017.


Meanwhile, management also noted their expectations for a 7% yoy decline in North American production volumes in Q3…which shouldn’t be terribly surprising to our readers in light of all the OEM plant shutdown extensions we’ve noted of late.

For third quarter, the overall global light vehicle production is expected to increase by approximately 2% year-over-year according to the latest IHS figures. This assumes light vehicle production in Asia remained strong where China, Japan and Korea are expected to increase 1%, 5% and 24% respectively.


In North America, the light vehicle production is expected to decline 7% in quarter three, while South America is expected to continue its recovery with a year-over-year increase of 21%.

All of which resulted in some carnage, not just for Autoliv investors…


…but pretty much all of the U.S.-centric suppliers and OEMs.


(courtesy David Stockman)

David Stockman Has Had Enough: “Brennan, Rice, Power – Lock Them All Up!”

Authored by David Stockman via LewRockwell.com,

We frequently hear people say they have nothing to hide – so surrendering privacy and constitutional rights to the Surveillance State may not be such a big deal if it helps catch a terrorist or two. But with each passing day in the RussiaGate drama we are learning that this superficial exoneration is dangerously beside the point.

We are referring here to the unrelenting witch hunt that has been unleashed by Imperial Washington against the legitimately elected President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This campaign of lies, leaks and Russophobia is the handiwork of Obama’s top national security advisors, who blatantly misused Washington’s surveillance apparatus to discredit Trump and to effectively nullify America’s democratic process.

That is, constitutional protections and liberties were systematically breached, but not simply to intimidate, hush or lock up citizens one by one as per the standard totalitarian modus operandi. Instead, what has happened is that the entire public debate has been hijacked by the shadowy forces of the Deep State and their partisan and media collaborators.

The enabling culprits are Obama’s last CIA director, John Brennan, his national security advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power. There is now mounting evidence that it was they who illegally “unmasked” NSA intercepts from Trump Tower; they who confected the Russian meddling narrative from behind the protective moat of classified intelligence; and they who orchestrated a systematic campaign of leaks and phony intelligence reports during the presidential transition—-all designed to delegitimize Trump before he even took the oath of office.

So all three of them should be locked ­up—-that’s for sure. But the more urgent solution would be to unlock and make public all the innuendo, surmises, assessments, half-truths and boilerplate intelligence chatter on which the entire false narrative about Russian meddling and collusion is based.

Stated differently, without the nation’s massive intelligence apparatus and absurd system of secrecy and classified information to hide behind, the RussiaGate witch hunt would have never gotten off the ground.

In truth, as we will essay below, there is no there, there. So what this new chapter in McCarthyite hysteria actually demonstrates is that the Imperial City’s far-flung, 17-agency, $75 billion Intelligence Behemoth is a plenary threat not just to individual liberty, but to the very constitutional democracy on which the latter depends.

To appreciate the severity of the threat, it is necessary to recognize that the post-9/11 Deep State has lowered a double whammy on our system. That is, it unconstitutionally collects the entirety of all internet based communications of America’s 325 million citizen, while at the same time it has effectively disenfranchised 98% of the 535 members of the House and Senate who have been elected to represent them.

Accordingly, behind the Surveillance State’s vast wall of secrecy and so-called “classified” information, there operates a Dark Government that is unaccountable to the public and largely unconstrained by normal constitutional limits, which the Patriot Act and secret FISA courts have more or less suspended.

In the realm of this Dark Government, the heart of American democracy—-the US Congress—has been completely usurped. Almost everything behind the secrecy wall is off limits to the rank and file. Only a handful of intelligence committee members and the House and Senate leadership gets sworn into the classified intelligence.

Yet just consider the hideous asymmetry of this arrangement. The so-called “Gang of Eight,” comprising the heads of the intelligence oversight committees and their respective party leadership, gets orally briefed in a secure “vault”, where they can’t take notes or carry-out any documents.

Moreover, this select handful of legislators consists of the incessantly mobilized and frazzled potentates of Capitol Hill who are always knee-deep in a thousand other distractions—-including a heavy quotient of politicking, fund-raising, and campaign trail excursions.

On the inside of the Surveillance State wall, by contrast, there are 600,000 employees or contractors with “top secret” security clearances alone; and more than 4 million total operatives who spend night and days feasting on the $75 billion Intelligence Community (IC) budget and carrying out projects and missions designed to justify their existence and keep the budgetary gravy train flowing.

For example, in the National Security Agency (NSA) there is a subsidiary entity called TAO (Targeted Access Operations) with a budget of several billions and more than 1,000 employees. The latter predominately consist of high-powered civilian and military hackers, computer geeks, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers and electrical engineers—-whose job it is to do exactly what Russia is being accused of.

Namely, to hack and electronically infiltrate the communications and operations of nearly every government on the planet, and most especially those of IC designated enemies and adversaries such as Russia and Iran.Indeed, TAOs motto says it all:

“Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment anytime, any place, by any legal means.”

In any given 24-hour day, the TAO hacks and deposits more disinformation and malware into its targeted foreign networks than all the low level Russian probes that were intercepted by NSA during the entire Presidential campaign.

In other words, Washington is the mother of all hackers and cyber-warfare operations, and what Russia and other nations do is only a small potatoes version of the same. Yet the overwhelming share of these digital cloak and dagger operation by all sides is a huge waste of national resources; and most especially it is of no value at all to the safety of the American people.

That’s because Russia, China and Iran—-the principal targets of the IC’s massive surveillance and cyber warfare activities—are no threats whatsoever to America’s security.

Iran has zero military capacity to attack the American homeland, and the claim that it is the leading sponsor of terrorism is pure bunkum. That hoary claim has been concocted by the Washington neocons and the Netanyahu political machine—both of which need demonized enemies in order to nurture the public fears on which their power is based.

Likewise, Russia has one 40-year old smoke-belching aircraft carry and a fleet of rowboats—–neither of which are capable of launching an assault on the New Jersey shores. True, it does have about 1,00o nuclear warheads; but where is the evidence that cool-hand Vlad is contemplating national suicide by using them against the US or Europe?

The purported Chinese threat is even more ludicrous. Notwithstanding the fertile imaginations of the Deep State fear-mongers who believe the South China Sea is actually an American Lake, the Red Suzerains of Beijing know fully well that without the continuous custom of Wal-Mart and Amazon warehouses, the Red Ponzi would collapse in a heartbeat. And that they would be hung by angry mobs from the CCTV (China Central Television) Tower shortly thereafter.

In fact, we don’t need the $75 billion Surveillance State to deal with the Taliban, the jihadist warlords of Somalia or any of the warring Sunni vs. Shiite (Houthis) parties of Yemen, either. They do not threaten America’s security in the slightest.

Nor did the government of Khadafy in Libya after he turned in his nukes. Likewise, the Assad regime has never, ever threatened to harm America—-despite the non-stop vilification from Washington.

At most, Washington needs modest local and theatre level capacity to monitor the fading remnants of the Islamic State—-a temporary scourge in the mostly the impoverished Sunni villages of the Upper Euphrates, which would not even exist in the first place had it not been fostered and armed with the weapons the US Army left behind in the fiasco of Iraq.

So consider the contrafactual. In the absence of a vast Warfare State apparatus and associated Surveillance State wall of secrecy what would RussiaGate amount to?

The answer is straight-forward: It was nothing more than a politically motivated plot orchestrated by former CIA director Brennan to undermine the Presidential campaign of a rambunctious outsider. That is, the Donald was unschooled in the groupthink of the Imperial City and had enough common sense to realize that Putin is not our enemy, that NATO is obsolete, that regime change has been a fiasco and that foreign policy should be based on homeland security first, not the perpetuation of an American Empire abroad.

Those inchoate impulses were the Donald’s original sin, and it was unverified and self-serving “intelligence” from the Latvian security service—-of all things—- that provided the pretext for Brennan to launch the Deep State’s own version of jihad against Trump.

What this dubious intelligence did was to finger Vlad Putin himself and that was crucial. It permitted Brennan to puff-up the evidence of run-of-the-mill cyber intrusions by the Russian security services—-or even unconnected Russian hackers and profiteers— into a sweeping but phony narrative about an attack on American democracy with Putin at the very center.

As Scott Ritter—- the weapons expert who blew the whistle on the IC’s trumped up claims about Saddam’s WMDs—-succinctly explained in a recent article, Brennan proceeded to turn a dubious molehill into a vertiable mountain:

According to reporting from the Washington Post, sometime during this period, CIA Director John Brennan gained access to a sensitive intelligence report from a foreign intelligence service. This service claimed to have technically penetrated the inner circle of Russian leadership to the extent that it could give voice to the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin as he articulated Russia’s objectives regarding the 2016 U.S. Presidential election — to defeat Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump, her Republican opponent. This intelligence was briefed to President Barack Obama and a handful of his closest advisors in early August, with strict instructions that it not be further disseminated.


The explosive nature of this intelligence report, both in terms of its sourcing and content, served to drive the investigation of Russian meddling in the American electoral process by the U.S. intelligence community. The problem, however, was that it wasn’t the U.S. intelligence community, per se, undertaking this investigation, but rather (according to the Washington Post) a task force composed of “several dozen analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI,” hand­picked by the CIA director and set up at the CIA Headquarters who “functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community.”


The result was a closed­circle of analysts who operated in complete isolation from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community. The premise of their work — that Vladimir Putin personally directed Russian meddling in the U.S. Presidential election to tip the balance in favor of Donald Trump — was never questioned in any meaningful fashion, despite its sourcing to a single intelligence report from a foreign service.


President Obama ordered the U.S. intelligence community to undertake a comprehensive review of Russian electoral meddling. As a result, intelligence analysts began to reexamine old intelligence reports based upon the premise of Putin’s direct involvement, allowing a deeply disturbing picture to be created of a comprehensive Russian campaign to undermine the American electoral process.

Here’s the thing. Vlad didn’t do it. The only interference in the electoral process that he has been associated with is with respect to what Imperial Washington did next door while he was basking in glory at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.

To wit, the violent coup on the streets of Kiev was organized by agents and organs of the US government; overthrew a constitutionally elected President who had decided to make an economic and security deal with Russia rather than Europe and NATO in keeping with Ukraine’s economic propinquity to the former and its 700- years of history as an integral part of Greater Russia; and which imposed a new government, hand-picked by the Obama State Department, which was dominated by Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis who were demonstrably hostile to the Russian speaking populations of Crimea and the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Stated differently, Imperial Washington is the world champion meddler in other peoples’ politics and elections.

Since the CIA sponsored coup against the Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1953, it has sponsored more than eighty incidents ranging from election bag money to military coups.

By contrast, the putative Russian attack on American democracy consists of three specific accusations—all of which are readily refutable.

In the first place, Podesta’s password was “password” and could have been hacked by any fat guy, or not, on any computer plugged into the worldwide web anywhere.


Moreover, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who makes a living disclosing the truth, not propagating lies as does the IC, says it did not come from Russian state agents; and that it was in fact leaked, not hacked, by disgruntled Democrat insiders.


In any event, if it had actually been hacked by either Russian agents or the proverbial fat guy, there would be a digital imprint stored in NSA’s vast server farms. The fact that it hasn’t leaked amidst all the rest of the anti-Russian innuendo and intelligence hearsay proves beyond much doubt that no such record exists and no such Russian intrusion ever happened.


As for the DNC emails, the smoking gun there still smolders in plain sight. The FBI apparently never even took custody of the DNC computer—–farming out the job to an outfit named Crowdstrike. Alas, the latter is a DNC contractor and wannabe silicon valley IPO run by some fanatical Russian ex-pats looking for fame and fortune. It’s no wonder they didn’t want the FBI second guessing their conclusions.


Finally, there is the Latvian “intelligence” morsel about Putin’s personal direction of the election meddling campaign. If the Donald had any common sense he would declassify said report forthwith.


But never mind. It surely doesn’t exist anyway—-or it too would have leaked long ago.

And that’s all she wrote. The rest is pure spin leaked by Trump’s enemies in the Deep State and canonized by its collaborators in the main stream media.

Unfortunately, the Donald doesn’t seem to recognize that he is actually President. If he did, he would have the Justice Department launch a prosecution against the faithless officials—-Brennan, Rice and Power—-who concocted the whole RussiaGate defamation in the first place.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: