FEB 19/GOLD UP SHARPLY FROM FRIDAY BY $22.95 TO $1341.90/SILVER BREAKS THE $16.00 BARRIER AT $16.01 UP 25 CENTS/WE HAVE AT THE COMEX: 33.45 TONNES OF GOLD STANDING FOR DELIVERY OF WHICH THERE IS ONLY 23.13 TONNES OF REGISTERED GOLD AND ALREADY 31.825 TONNES OF GOLD HAVE BEEN SERVED UPON//JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TRAPPED AS THERE IS LITTLE LEFT OF BONDS TO BUY AND YET THEY NEED MORE STIMULUS// VENEZUELA IS A CONTINUAL DOWNWARD SPIRAL AS MORE BANKS CUT THEM OFF FOR FUNDING: MADURO REFUSES FOREIGN AID/TED BUTLER: A MUST READ ON THE SILVER FRAUD//HUGE NUMBER OF SWAMP STORIES FOR YOU TONIGHT/

 

 

 

GOLD: $1341.85 UP $22.95 (COMEX TO COMEX CLOSING)

Silver:   $16.01 UP 25 CENTS (COMEX TO COMEX CLOSING)

Closing access prices:

Gold :  1341.00

 

silver: $16.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For comex gold and silver:

FEBRUARY

 

 

 

NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR  FEB CONTRACT: 72 NOTICE(S) FOR 7200 OZ (0.2239 tonnes)

TOTAL NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED SO FAR:  10,233 NOTICES FOR 1,023,300 OZ  (31.828 TONNES)

 

 

SILVER

 

FOR FEBRUARY

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

0 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR nil  OZ/

 

total number of notices filed so far this month: 565 for 2,825,000

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bitcoin: OPENING MORNING TRADE $3912:UP $12

 

Bitcoin: FINAL EVENING TRADE: $3949  UP $51.

 

end

 

XXXX

JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs are taking a huge issuance (stopping) of gold at the comex.

today  58/72

EXCHANGE: COMEX
CONTRACT: FEBRUARY 2019 COMEX 100 GOLD FUTURES
SETTLEMENT: 1,318.100000000 USD
INTENT DATE: 02/15/2019 DELIVERY DATE: 02/20/2019
FIRM ORG FIRM NAME ISSUED STOPPED
____________________________________________________________________________________________
657 C MORGAN STANLEY 1
661 C JP MORGAN 50
661 H JP MORGAN 8
737 C ADVANTAGE 72 13
____________________________________________________________________________________________

TOTAL: 72 72
MONTH TO DATE: 10,233

 

 

 

Let us have a look at the data for today

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

In silver, the total OPEN INTEREST FELL BY A CONSIDERABLE SIZED 2239 CONTRACTS FROM 219,719 DOWN TO 217,484 DESPITE FRIDAY’S STRONG 19 CENT GAIN  IN SILVER PRICING AT THE COMEX. TODAY WE ARRIVED FURTHER FROM  AUGUST’S 2018  RECORD SETTING OPEN INTEREST OF 244,196 CONTRACTS.

WE HAVE ALSO WITNESSED A LARGE AMOUNT OF PHYSICAL METAL STAND FOR COMEX DELIVERY AS WE NOW HAVE JUST LESS THAN 22 MILLION OZ STANDING IN DECEMBER. AS WELL WE ARE WITNESSING CONSIDERABLE LONGS PACKING THEIR BAGS AND MIGRATING OVER TO LONDON IN GREATER NUMBERS IN THE FORM OF EFP’S.  WE WERE  NOTIFIED  THAT WE HAD A STRONG SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP:

512 EFP’S FOR MARCH,  0 FOR APRIL, 120 FOR MAY, 600 FOR DECEMBER AND ZERO FOR ALL  OTHER MONTHS  AND THEREFORE TOTAL ISSUANCE: OF 1232 CONTRACTS. WITH THE TRANSFER OF 2316 CONTRACTS, WHAT THE CME IS STATING IS THAT THERE IS NO SILVER (OR GOLD) TO BE DELIVERED UPON AT THE COMEX AS THEY MUST EXPORT THEIR OBLIGATION TO LONDON. ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE CAN BE A DELAY OF 24-48 HRS IN THE ISSUING OF EFP’S. THE 1232 EFP CONTRACTS TRANSLATES INTO 6.160 MILLION OZ  ACCOMPANYING:

1.THE 19 CENT GAIN IN SILVER PRICE AT THE COMEX AND

2. THE STRONG AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES WHICH STOOD FOR DELIVERY IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS:

JUNE/2018. (5.420 MILLION OZ);

FOR JULY: 30.370 MILLION OZ

FOR AUG., 6.065 MILLION OZ

FOR SEPT. 39.505 MILLION  OZ S

FOR OCT.2.525 MILLION OZ.

FOR NOV:  A HUGE 7.440 MILLION OZ STANDING  AND

21.925 MILLION OZ FINALLY STAND FOR DECEMBER.

5.845 MILLION OZ STAND IN JANUARY.

AND NOW 2.830 MILLION OZ STANDING FOR FEBRUARY.

 

 

ACCUMULATION FOR EFP’S/SILVER/J.P.MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES, / STARTING FROM FIRST DAY NOTICE/FOR MONTH OF FEBRUARY: 17,071 CONTRACTS (FOR 12 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 17,071 CONTRACTS) OR 85.355 MILLION OZ: (AVERAGE PER DAY: 1422 CONTRACTS OR 7.1112 MILLION OZ/DAY)

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SUPPLY THIS MONTH IN SILVER:  SO FAR THIS MONTH OF FEB:  85.355 MILLION PAPER OZ HAVE MORPHED OVER TO LONDON. THIS REPRESENTS AROUND 12.18% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION (EX CHINA EX RUSSIA)*  JUNE’S 345.43 MILLION OZ IS THE SECOND HIGHEST RECORDED ISSUANCE OF EFP’S AND IT FOLLOWED THE RECORD SET IN APRIL 2018 OF 385.75 MILLION OZ.

ACCUMULATION IN YEAR 2019 TO DATE SILVER EFP’S:           293.88    MILLION OZ. (CORRECTED)

JANUARY 2019 EFP TOTALS:                                                      217.455. MILLION OZ.

 

 

RESULT: WE HAD A STRONG SIZED DECREASE IN COMEX OI SILVER COMEX CONTRACTS OF 2239 DESPITE THE 19 CENT GAIN IN SILVER PRICING AT THE COMEX //FRIDAY..THE CME NOTIFIED US THAT WE HAD  STRONG SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 1232 CONTRACTS WHICH EXITED OUT OF THE SILVER COMEX AND TRANSFERRED THEIR OI TO LONDON AS FORWARDS. SPECULATORS CONTINUED THEIR INTEREST IN ATTACKING THE SILVER COMEX FOR PHYSICAL SILVER (SEE COMEX DATA) .

TODAY WE LOST A CONSIDERABLE SIZED: 1007 TOTAL OI CONTRACTS ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:

i.e 1232 OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS HEADED FOR LONDON  (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH DECREASE OF 2239 OI COMEX CONTRACTSAND ALL OF THIS  DEMAND HAPPENED WITH A 19 CENT GAIN IN PRICE OF SILVER  AND A CLOSING PRICE OF $15.76 WITH RESPECT TO YESTERDAY’S TRADING. YET WE HAD A GIGANTIC AMOUNT OF SILVER STANDING AT THE COMEX FOR DELIVERY 

 

 

In ounces AT THE COMEX, the OI is still represented by JUST OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.095 BILLION OZ TO BE EXACT or 157% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT FEBRUARY MONTH/ THEY FILED AT THE COMEX: 0 NOTICE(S) FOR NIL OZ OF SILVER

IN SILVER,PRIOR TO TODAY, WE  SET THE NEW COMEX RECORD OF OPEN INTEREST AT 243,411 CONTRACTS ON APRIL 9.2018 AND AGAIN THIS HAS BEEN SET WITH A LOW PRICE OF $16.51.  

AND NOW WE RECORD FOR POSTERITY ANOTHER ALL TIME RECORD OPEN INTEREST AT THE COMEX OF 244,196 CONTRACTS ON AUGUST 22/2018 AND AGAIN WHEN THIS RECORD WAS SET, THE PRICE OF SILVER WAS $14.78 AND LOWER IN PRICE THAN PREVIOUS RECORDS.

ON THE DEMAND SIDE WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING:

  1. HUGE AMOUNTS OF SILVER STANDING FOR DELIVERY  (MARCH/2018: 27 MILLION OZ , APRIL/2018 : 2.485 MILLION OZ  MAY: 36.285 MILLION OZ ; JUNE/2018  (5.420 MILLION OZ) , JULY 2018 FINAL AMOUNT STANDING: 30.370 MILLION OZ   )  FOR AUGUST 6.065 MILLION OZ. , SEPT:  A HUGE 39.505 MILLION OZ./ OCTOBER: 2,520,000 oz  NOV AT 7.440 MILLION OZ./ DEC. AT 21.925 MILLION OZ   JANUARY AT  5.825 MILLION OZ.AND NOW FEB 2019:  2.830 MILLION OZ/
  2. HUGE RECORD OPEN INTEREST IN SILVER 243,411 CONTRACTS (OR 1.217 BILLION OZ/ SET APRIL 9/2018) AND NOW AUGUST 22/2018:  244,196 CONTRACTS,  WITH A SILVER PRICE OF $14.78.
  3. HUGE ANNUAL EFP’S ISSUANCE EQUAL TO 2.9 BILLION OZ OR 400% OF SILVER ANNUAL PRODUCTION/2017
  4. RECORD SETTING EFP ISSUANCE FOR ANY MONTH IN SILVER; APRIL/2018/ 385.75 MILLION OZ/  AND THE SECOND HIGHEST RECORDED EFP ISSUANCE JUNE 2018 345.43 MILLION OZ

AND YET, WITH THE EXTREMELY HIGH EFP ISSUANCE, WE HAVE A CONTINUAL LOW PRICE OF SILVER DESPITE THE ABOVE HUGE DEMAND.  TO ME THE ONLY ANSWER IS THAT WE HAVE SOVEREIGN  (CHINA) WHO IS ENDEAVOURING TO GOBBLE UP ALL AVAILABLE PHYSICAL SILVER NO MATTER WHERE, EXACTLY WHAT J.P.MORGAN IS DOING. AND IT IS MY BELIEF THAT J.P.MORGAN IS HOLDING ITS SILVER FOR ITS BENEFICIAL OWNER..THE USA GOVERNMENT WHO IN TURN IS HOLDING THAT SILVER FOR CHINA.(FOR A SILVER LOAN REPAYMENT).

 

IN GOLD, THE OPEN INTEREST ROSE BY A FAIR SIZED 2,679 CONTRACTS UP TO 492,223 WITH THE GAIN IN THE COMEX GOLD PRICE/(A GAIN IN PRICE OF $8.00//FRIDAY’S TRADING).

 

 

THE CME RELEASED THE DATA FOR EFP ISSUANCAND IT TOTALED A  STRONG  SIZED 5665 CONTRACTS:

 

MARCH HAD AN ISSUANCE OF 0 CONTACTS  APRIL 5370 CONTRACTS,JUNE: 295 CONTRACTS DECEMBER: 0 CONTRACTS AND ALL OTHER MONTHS ZERO.  The NEW COMEX OI for the gold complex rests at 482,223. ALSO REMEMBER THAT THERE WILL BE A DELAY IN THE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S.  THE BANKERS REMOVE LONG POSITIONS OF COMEX GOLD IMMEDIATELY.  THEN THEY ORCHESTRATE THEIR PRIVATE EFP DEAL WITH THE LONGS AND THAT COULD TAKE AN ADDITIONAL, 48 HRS SO WE GENERALLY DO NOT GET A MATCH WITH RESPECT TO DEPARTING COMEX LONGS AND NEW EFP LONG TRANSFERS. . EVEN THOUGH THE BANKERS ISSUED THESE MONSTROUS EFPS, THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS TO SUPPLY METAL BUT IT TRANSFERS THE RISK TO A LONDON BANKER OBLIGATION AND NOT A NEW YORK COMEX OBLIGATION. LONGS RECEIVE A FIAT BONUS TOGETHER WITH A LONG LONDON FORWARD. THUS, BY THESE ACTIONS, THE BANKERS AT THE COMEX HAVE JUST STATED THAT THEY HAVE NO APPRECIABLE METAL!! THIS IS A MASSIVE FRAUD: THEY CANNOT SUPPLY ANY METAL TO OUR COMEX LONGS BUT THEY ARE QUITE WILLING TO SUPPLY MASSIVE NON BACKED GOLD (AND SILVER) PAPER KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE NO METAL TO SATISFY OUR LONGS. LONDON IS NOW SEVERELY BACKWARD IN BOTH GOLD AND SILVER  AND WE ARE WITNESSING DELAYS IN ACTUAL DELIVERIES.

IN ESSENCE WE HAVE AN A STRONG SIZED GAIN IN TOTAL CONTRACTS ON THE TWO EXCHANGES OF 8344 CONTRACTS: 2679 OI CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX AND 5665 EFP OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON. THUS  TOTAL OI GAIN: 8344 CONTRACTS OR 834,400 OZ = 25.95 TONNES. AND ALL OF THIS GOOD DEMAND OCCURRED WITH A RISE IN THE PRICE OF GOLD/ YESTERDAY TO THE TUNE OF $8.00.

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY, WE HAD 8133 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S GOLD AT J.P. MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES: (EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY : 65,890 CONTRACTS OR 6,589,000 OZ  OR 204.95 TONNES (12 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 5,475 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE GOOD SIZE OF THESE EFP TRANSFERS :  THIS MONTH IN 12 TRADING DAYS IN  TONNES: 1204.95 TONNES

TOTAL ANNUAL GOLD PRODUCTION, 2018, THROUGHOUT THE WORLD EX CHINA EX RUSSIA: 2555 TONNES

THUS EFP TRANSFERS REPRESENTS 204.95/2550 x 100% TONNES = 8.03% OF GLOBAL ANNUAL PRODUCTION SO FAR IN DECEMBER ALONE.***

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S YEAR 2019 TO DATE:     725.08  TONNES

JANUARY 2019 TOTAL EFP ISSUANCE;   531.20 TONNES

 

 

WHAT IS ALARMING TO ME, ACCORDING TO OUR LONDON EXPERT ANDREW MAGUIRE IS THAT THESE EFP’S ARE BEING TRANSFERRED TO WHAT ARE CALLED SERIAL FORWARD CONTRACT OBLIGATIONS AND THESE CONTRACTS ARE LESS THAN 14 DAYS.  ANYTHING GREATER THAN 14 DAYS, THESE MUST BE RECORDED AND SENT TO THE COMPTROLLER, GREAT BRITAIN TO MONITOR RISK TO THE BANKING SYSTEM.  IF THIS IS INDEED TRUE, THEN THIS IS A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD AS WE NOW WITNESS A MONSTROUS TOTAL EFP’S ISSUANCE AS IT HEADS INTO THE STRATOSPHERE

 

 

Result: A  FAIR SIZED INCREASE IN OI AT THE COMEX OF 2,679 WITH THE GAIN IN PRICING ($8.00) THAT GOLD UNDERTOOK FRIDAY) //.WE ALSO HAD A STRONG SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 5665 CONTRACTS AS THESE HAVE ALREADY BEEN NEGOTIATED AND CONFIRMED.   THERE OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT SEEM TO BE MUCH PHYSICAL GOLD AT THE COMEX.  I GUESS IT EXPLAINS THE HUGE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S…THERE IS HARDLY ANY GOLD PRESENT AT THE GOLD COMEX FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES. IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE 5665 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A STRONG GAIN OF 8344 CONTRACTS IN TOTAL OPEN INTEREST  ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:

5665 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND 2679 CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX. (IN TONNES, THE GAIN IN TOTAL OI EQUATES TO 25.95 TONNES). ..AND ALL OF THIS  DEMAND OCCURRED WITH THE GAIN OF $8.00 IN FRIDAY’S TRADING AT THE COMEX

 

 

we had:  72 notice(s) filed upon for 7200 oz of gold at the comex.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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

GLD...

 

WITH GOLD UP $22.95 TODAY

THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!

 

THE CROOKS CONTINUE WITH THEIR ATTACK ON THE GLD

 

WE HAVE TWO TRANSACTIONS TODAY AND BOTH WITHDRAWALS

 

THEY WITHDREW ANOTHER:  1) 3.82 TONNES OF GOLD AND THEN 2) .58 TONNES OF GOLD//THIS GOLD IS NEEDED IN LONDON TO PUT OUT FIRES OVER THERE!!

 

 

 

/GLD INVENTORY   792.45 TONNES

Inventory rests tonight: 792.45 tonnes.

 

TO ALL INVESTORS THINKING OF BUYING GOLD THROUGH THE GLD ROUTE: YOU ARE MAKING A TERRIBLE MISTAKE AS THE CROOKS ARE USING WHATEVER GOLD COMES IN TO ATTACK BY SELLING THAT GOLD.  IT SURE SEEMS TO ME THAT THE GOLD OBLIGATIONS AT THE GLD EXCEED THEIR INVENTORY

 

SLV/

WITH SILVER UP 25 CENTS  IN PRICE  TODAY:

 

A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY/

 

A DEPOSIT OF 938,000 OZ INTO THE SLV INVENTORY

 

 

 

 

 

 

/INVENTORY RESTS AT 308.296 MILLION OZ.

 

 

end

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

1. Today, we had the open interest in SILVER FELL BY A CONSIDERABLE SIZED 2239 CONTRACTS from 219,719 DOWN TO 217,484  AND CLOSER T0 THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET LAST IN AUG.2018 AT 244,196 WITH A SILVER PRICE OF $14.78/(AUGUST 22/2018)..THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS SET ON APRIL 9/2018 AT 243,411 OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS WITH THE SILVER PRICE AT THAT DAY: $16.53). AND PREVIOUS TO THAT, THE RECORD  WAS ESTABLISHED AT: 234,787 CONTRACTS, SET ON APRIL 21.2017 OVER  1 1/3 YEARS AGO.  THE PRICE OF SILVER ON THAT DAY: $17.89.  AS YOU CAN SEE, WE HAVE RECORD HIGH OPEN INTERESTS IN SILVER  ACCOMPANIED BY A CONTINUAL LOWER PRICE WHEN THAT RECORD WAS SET…..

 

.

OUR CUSTOMARY MIGRATION OF COMEX LONGS CONTINUE TO MORPH INTO LONDON FORWARDS  AS OUR BANKERS USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE:

 

512 CONTRACTS FOR MARCH. 120 CONTRACTS FOR MAY., 600 FOR DECEMBER AND  AND ALL OTHER MONTHS: ZERO. TOTAL EFP ISSUANCE: 1232 CONTRACTS. EFP’S GIVE OUR COMEX LONGS A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON.  IF WE TAKE THE  OI LOSS AT THE COMEX OF 2239 CONTRACTS TO THE 1232 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S,  WE OBTAIN A STRONG LOSS  OF 1007  OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS.  THUS IN OUNCES, THE LOSS ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 5.035 MILLION OZ!!! AND YET WE ALSO HAVE A STRONG DEMAND FOR PHYSICAL AS WE WITNESSED A FINAL STANDING OF GREATER THAN 30 MILLION OZ FOR JULY, A STRONG 6.065 MILLION OZ FOR AUGUST..  A HUGE 39.505  MILLION OZ  STANDING FOR SILVER IN SEPTEMBER… OVER 2 million  OZ STANDING FOR THE NON ACTIVE MONTH OF OCTOBER.,  7.440 MILLION OZ FINALLY STANDING IN NOVEMBER.  21.925 MILLION OZ  STANDING IN DECEMBER , 5.845 MILLION OZ STANDING IN JANUARY..AND NOW 2.830 MILLION OZ STANDING IN FEBRUARY.

 

 

RESULT: A GOOD SIZED DECREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE 19 CENT GAIN IN PRICING THAT SILVER UNDERTOOK IN PRICING// FRIDAY.BUT WE ALSO HAD A VERY STRONG SIZED 1232 EFP’S ISSUED TRANSFERRING COMEX LONGS OVER TO LONDON. TOGETHER WITH THE STRONG  SIZED AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES STANDING FOR SEPTEMBER, DEMAND FOR PHYSICAL SILVER CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY AS WE WITNESS SEVERE BACKWARDATION IN SILVER IN LONDON.

 

 

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY: Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)TUESDAY MORNING/ MONDAY NIGHT: 

SHANGHAI CLOSED UP 1.29 POINTS OR 0.05% //Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 188.88 POINTS OR 0.42%  /The Nikkei closed DOWN 20.89 POINTS OR 0.10%/ Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.22%

/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP  at 6.7677 AS TRUCE DECLARED FOR 3 MONTHS /Oil UP to 56.07 dollars per barrel for WTI and 66.31 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED RED//.

ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP // LAST AT 6.7677 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.7764: / TRADE TALKS NOW ON/MAJOR PROBLEMS AT HUAWEI /CFO ARRESTED   : /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING ABOVE LEVEL OF OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST THE DOLLAR /CHINA RETALIATES WITH TARIFFS/ TRUMP RESPONDS TO NEW TARIFFS AND IT NOW A FULL TRADE WAR COMMENCED

i

 

3A/NORTH KOREA/SOUTH KOREA

 

 

i)North Korea//USA

 

 

 

b) REPORT ON JAPAN

i)Saturday

As Japan is set to taper, expect an avalanche of selling which will drive the 10 yr bond from zero to 0.20%

( zerohedge)

 

ii)Today: The government is trapped.  It has very little room left to purchase bonds as they already own 40% of the total.  However if they stop, then the yen skyrockets in value, killing off Japanese businesses. So today, they temporarily stated that they are ready to ease further which caused the yen to falter and yields to fall.
(zerohedge)

 

 

3 C/  CHINA

 

i) CHINA/USA/Europe

 

We are coming to crunch time as the uSA tries to stop the powerful entity Huawei from becoming a dominant player in the new 5G  Network plan. In order words Europe will have to make its mind up: are we going with the Chinese satellite system or the USA satellite system

(Joel Gehrke/Washington Examiner)

and special thanks to Robert H for sending this to us.

ii)My goodness, this is escalating fast: Chinese car sales to Chinese citizens and abroad plunge by the highest in 7 years:
( zerohedge)

iii)Here are the latest victims of Chinese IP theft:  General Electric, Boeing and T Mobile( zerohedge)

4/EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

i)UK

The labour party splits as 7 members resign over  antisemitism and lack of support for a 2nd referendum. This will probably lead to a pro Brexit result

( zero hedge)

ii)Italy

Salvini has been gaining at the pools and an election is coming up in May. If you will recall Salvini stopped migrants from entering Italian shores and he is being accused of kidnapping. An on line poll is being conducted to see if Salvini’s immunity from prosecution is valid

( zerohedge)

iii)Italian Senate blocks the “kidnapping” investigation into Salvini

( zerohedge)

5. RUSSIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS

 

Iran/SYRIA/USA

Tom Luongo explains to us what is going on in the middle east and it is worth reading:

(courtesy Tom Luongo)

 

 

6. GLOBAL ISSUES

i)This should rock the diamond market: made in China diamonds which are indistinguishable from the real ones.

( zerohedge)

ii)A very dangerous situation for global trade if Trump launches car tariffs.  Canada and Mexico will be exempt from this as they will have the new NAFTA proclaimed. Germany will be a big loser if the EU and the uSA can not get together with their trade deal.  Japan will lose almost 1/2 of their total exports if tariffs are imposed on Japanese goods.

( zerohedge)

iii)Canada

Big scandal in Canada as Trudeau’s government is in turmoil.  Trudeau is embroiled in controversy in that he supposedly told the Attorney General to back off in a criminal bribery case.  Now Trudeau’s top aide resigns.
( zerohedge)

7. OIL ISSUES

As outlined above, Gazprombank freezes accounts of PDVSA as the noose is tightening on Maduro
( Voronova/Reuters)

 

 

 

8 EMERGING MARKET ISSUES

 

 

i)VENEZUELA/USA

 

Maduro continues to defy humanitarian aid into Venezuela .  Maduro expels a European delegation.  Guaido gives Maduro one month to accept humanitarian aid or else

(courtesy zerohedge)

ii)Why the whole world is interested in Venezuela.  The answer is its oil and the potential for huge oil deposits.

( William Engdahl)

9. PHYSICAL MARKETS

i)Unbelievable: The USA grabs stolen Iraqi gold from Isis which was stored in Idlib province. Let us see if the USA returns the gold to its rightful owner
( zerohedge)
ii)Now it is Gazprombank that has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.  The noose is tightening around Venezuela as they will have no funds to continue( Reuters)
iii)A must listen to audio from Andrew Maguire as he details that physical demand is overpowering the paper shenanigans.

( Andrew Maguire/Kingworldnews)

iv)Seems that Australia may have lost its gold at the Bank of England through leasing.  They refuse to give sovereign Australia audits of what happened to their gold

(courtesy Ronan Manly/Bullionstar)

 

v)Ted Butler is again on the rampage and correctly he states the huge short positions by 1 to 4 traders and 4 to 8 traders in silver. It is similar to what I stated to the CFTC in the hearings in March 2010. The big difference between 2010 and today, is the fact that during these past 9 years, JPMorgan has acquired massive amounts of silver and that fact has been confirmed to me by the CFTC

a must read…

(courtesy Ted Buter/GATA)

 

vi)Citibank may “liquidate” over one billion dollars worth of Venezuelan gold if money is not returned to  Citibank.  This gold is now doubt been leased/hypothecated many times already so no new gold will enter the sellers’ market..

(courtesy zerohedge)

vii)With Palladium hitting $1441 today, Lawrie Williams believes that it is now time to invest in Platinum as we are now approaching a reverse subsitution.(courtesy Lawrie Williams)

10. USA stories which will influence the price of gold/silver)

 

 

MARKET TRADING

 

ii)Market data/

 

Mish Shedlock points how that the Red book confirms Government data which suggests that December did have a retail collapse..

(courtesy zerohedge)

iii)USA ECONOMIC/GENERAL STORIES

a)this will be a game changer as Bill Barr takes over the reigns of Justice as Attorney general.  Here are 5 takeaways as to what to expect

( Morgan Chalfant/the Hill)

b)My goodness, despite good all year round weather over 50% of residents wish to leave the state

( Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse Blog)

c)An extremely important commentary from zero hedge.  The latest data from the FRBNY shows that student loan delinquencies have surged by 166.4 billion dollars out of a total of 1.46 trillion dollars loan s.  Remember that student loans initially are not part of the deficit because there is a corresponding asset…the money borrowed is owed to Uncle Sam.  When loans become delinquent..that is when it is added to the budgetary deficit.  Thus if the USA has an initial budgetary deficit of 1 trillion you can add close to 200 billion to the deficit.

( zerohedge)

d)USA/China talks

Talks begin today with lower level guys first conversing then the big guys come.  Do not expect anything form these talks
( zerohedge)

e)Major storm will sweep across the USA in  the next 72 hours( zerohedge)

iv)SWAMP STORIES

a)The FBI goes to great lengths to get Hillary off the hook for crimes she engaged in

( zerohedge)

b) It seems that two cabinet officials (in the new Trump cabinet) were ready to support the 25th amendment “coup”with Rosenstein in the supposed lead.
If true, this would be treason…
( zerohedge)

c)Trump correctly slams McCabe over its treasonous plot to overthrow the President of the uSA

( zerohedge)

d)Now Schiff is stating that there is no “compelling” evidence of criminal Russian collusion in the election

Schiff is a real nut case:

( zerohedge)

 

e)There is going to be a Congressional challenge to block the Emergency Declaration of Trump and this will be the first ever veto

( zerohedge)

f)Roger Stone is nuts!! He is going to be hauled into court to explain his “death threat” against the judge who is presiding over his case, Obama appointee, Amy Berman(courtesy zerohedge)

E)SWAMP STORIES/MAJOR STORIES//THE KING REPORT

 

end

 

 

 

Let us head over to the comex:

 

THE TOTAL COMEX GOLD OPEN ROSE BY A FAIR SIZED 2679 CONTRACTS UP TO A LEVEL OF 482,223 WITH THE GAIN IN THE PRICE OF GOLD ($8.00) IN FRIDAY’S COMEX TRADING).FOR THREE YEARS STRAIGHT WE HAVE NOTICED THAT ONE WEEK PRIOR TO FIRST DAY NOTICE OF AN ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH THE COMEX OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS AND EFP’S NOTICES EXPONENTIALLY INCREASE AS WELL AS WE WITNESS THE COMEX OPEN INTEREST COLLAPSE. ONCE WE GET TO FIRST DAY NOTICE, THEN THE OPEN INTEREST RISES., THE REASON FOR THE COLLAPSE IN OPEN INTEREST IS THE FORCED LIQUIDATION OF THE SPREADERS.

 

 

WE ARE NOW IN THE  NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF JANUARY..  THE CME REPORTS THAT THE BANKERS ISSUED A STRONG SIZED COMEX TRANSFER THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE AS THESE LONGS RECEIVED A DELIVERABLE LONDON FORWARD TOGETHER WITH A FIAT BONUS., THAT IS 5665 EFP CONTRACTS WERE ISSUED:

FOR MARCH:  0. FOR APRIL 5370, FOR JUNE: 295 CONTRACTS AND FINALLY DECEMBER: 0 AND  ZERO FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS:

TOTAL EFP ISSUANCE:  5665 CONTRACTS.

THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS ON THESE TRANSFERS. ALSO REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO DOUBT A HUGE DELAY IN THE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S AND IT PROBABLY TAKES AT LEAST  48 HRS AFTER LONGS GIVE UP THEIR COMEX CONTRACTS FOR THEM TO RECEIVE THEIR EFP’S AS THEY ARE NEGOTIATING THIS CONTRACT WITH THE BANKS FOR A FIAT BONUS PLUS THEIR TRANSFER TO A LONDON BASED FORWARD.

ON A NET BASIS IN OPEN INTEREST WE GAINED THE FOLLOWING TODAY ON OUR TWO EXCHANGES: 8,344 TOTAL CONTRACTS IN THAT 5665 LONGS WERE TRANSFERRED AS FORWARDS TO LONDON AND WE GAINED A STRONG SIZED 8344 COMEX CONTRACTS.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:8344 contracts OR 834,400  OZ OR 25.95 TONNES.

 

We are now in the active contract month of FEBRUARY and here the open interest stands at 594 contracts, and thus losing 826 contracts. . We had 928 contracts stand for delivery yesterday so we AGAIN GAINED ANOTHER STRONG 102 contracts or 10,200 additional oz (ADDITIONAL 0.317 TONNES) will stand for delivery in this very active delivery month of February as they refused to morph into London based forwards as well as negating a sizable fiat bonus. The comex is out of gold!@! as the crooks scrounge around the comex looking for metal trying to put out fires elsewhere.

 

 

 

The next non active delivery month after February is  March and here we lost 108 contracts to stand at 1577.  After March, the next big delivery month is April and here the OI ROSE by 4348 contracts down to 343,274 contracts.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S NOTICES FILED:

WE HAD 72 NOTICES FILED TODAY AT THE COMEX FOR 7200 OZ. (0.2239 tonnes)

 

 

 

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And now for the wild silver comex results.

Total COMEX silver OI FELL BY A LARGE SIZED 2239  CONTRACTS FROM 219,719 DOWN TO 217,484(AND FURTHER FROM  THE NEW RECORD OI FOR SILVER SET ON AUGUST 22.2018.  (THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS SET APRIL 9.2018/ 243,411 CONTRACTS) AND TODAY’S SMALL OI COMEX GAIN  OCCURRED DESPITE A STRONG 19 CENT GAIN IN PRICING. (LOOKS LIKE THE BANKERS ARE NERVOUS AND ARE CUTTING THEIR SHORT POSITIONS)

 

WE ARE NOW INTO THE NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF FEBRUARY AND THE  AMOUNT OF OPEN INTEREST READY TO STAND IS 1 CONTRACT, HAVING LOST 0 CONTRACTS FROM YESTERDAY.  WE HAD 0 NOTICES FILED YESTERDAY SO WE GAINED 0 CONTRACTS OR AN ADDITIONAL NIL OZ WILL STAND FOR DELIVERY IN THIS NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF FEBRUARY AS THESE GUYS REFUSED TO MORPH INTO LONDON BASED FORWARDS AS WELL AS NEGATING A FIAT BONUS.

 

.

 

 

 

THE NEXT NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH AFTER FEBRUARY IS THE VERY BIG AND ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF MARCH AND HERE THE OI FELL BY 8110 CONTRACTS DOWN TO 99,300 CONTRACTS. AFTER MARCH, APRIL ADVANCES TO 218 CONTRACTS FOR A GAIN OF 133 CONTRACTS.  AFTER APRIL, THE NEXT BIG ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH IS MAY AND HERE THE OI ADVANCED BY 5102 CONTRACTS UP TO 77,786 CONTRACTS.

 

 

 

 

ON A NET BASIS WE LOST 1007 SILVER OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS AS WE OBTAINED A 2239 CONTRACT LOSS AT THE COMEX COMBINING WITH THE ADDITION OF 1232 OI CONTRACTS NAVIGATING OVER TO LONDON.

NET LOSS ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:  1007 CONTRACTS...AND ALL OF THIS DEMAND OCCURRED WITH A 19 CENT GAIN IN PRICING// FRIDAY????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED:

 

We, today, had 0 notice(s) filed for nil OZ for the FEB, 2019 COMEX contract for silver

 

 

Trading Volumes on the COMEX TODAY:  334,728 CONTRACTS

 

 

CONFIRMED COMEX VOL. FOR YESTERDAY:  207,384  contracts

comex gold volumes are getting extremely low as players just do not want to play in this casino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INITIAL standings for  FEB/GOLD

FEB 19 /2019.

Gold Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory in oz nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory in oz
nil
oz
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory in oz NIL oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deposits to the Customer Inventory, in oz  

 

 

nil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No of oz served (contracts) today
72 notice(s)
 7200 OZ
(0.2239 TONNES)
No of oz to be served (notices)
522 contracts
(52,200 oz)
Total monthly oz gold served (contracts) so far this month
10,233 notices
1,023,300 OZ
31.828 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 xxx oz

 

we had 0 dealer entries:

 

 

total dealer deposits: NIL oz

total dealer withdrawals: 0 oz

We had 0 kilobar entries

 

we had 0 deposit into the customer account

 

total gold deposits: nil oz

we had 0 gold withdrawals from the customer account:

 

 

 

 

total gold withdrawing from the customer;  nil oz

we had 0  adjustments…

FOR THE FEB 2019 CONTRACT MONTH)

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 72 contract(s) of which 8 notices were stopped (received) by j.P. Morgan dealer and 50 notice(s) was (were) stopped/ Received) by j.P.Morgan customer account and 0 notices by the squid  (Goldman Sachs)

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To calculate the INITIAL total number of gold ounces standing for the FEBRUARY/2019. contract month, we take the total number of notices filed so far for the month (10,233) x 100 oz , to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of FEB. (594 contract) minus the number of notices served upon today (72 x 100 oz per contract) equals 1,075,500 OZ OR 33.45 TONNES) the number of ounces standing in this active month of FEBRUARY (TOTALS CORRECTED FROM FRIDAY)

 

Thus the INITIAL standings for gold for the FEB/2019 contract month:

No of notices served (10233 x 100 oz)  + {594)OI for the front month minus the number of notices served upon today (72 x 100 oz )which equals 1,075,500 oz standing OR 33.45 TONNES in this active delivery month of FEBRUARY.

WE GAINED A MASSIVE 102 CONTRACTS OR AN ADDITIONAL 10200 OZ WILL  STAND AT THE COMEX AS THEY REFUSED TO MORPH INTO A LONDON BASED FORWARD AS WELL AS NEGATING A FIAT BONUS. THE COMEX MUST BE VOID AS OUR BANKERS ARE SCOURING THE PLANET LOOKING FOR PHYSICAL GOLD./ THIS IS THE SECOND DAY IN A ROW THAT WE HAVE WITNESSED MASSIVE QUEUE JUMPING IN GOLD. I CANNOT RECALL AT ANY TIME WITNESSING SUCH A MASSIVE GAIN IN GOLD OZ STANDING THIS LATE IN THE DELIVERY CYCLE.

 

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE ONLY 23.13 TONNES OF REGISTERED COMEX GOLD AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY AGAINST 33.45 TONNES STANDING FOR FEBRUARY

OF WHICH 31.828 TONNES OF GOLD HAVE ALREADY BEEN SERVED UPON SO FAR THIS MONTH.

 

 

 

total registered or dealer gold:  743,812.931 oz or   23.13 tonnes
total registered and eligible (customer) gold;   8,221,512.995 oz 255.72 tonnes

FOR COMPARISON FEBRUARY 2019 TO THE  FEBRUARY 2018 COMEX GOLD CONTRACT MONTH

 

 

 

ON FEB 1.2018: 20.07 TONNES OF GOLD STOOD FOR DELIVERY, BUT BY THE END OF MONTH ONLY 8.55 TONNES EVENTUALLY STOOD AS THE REST MORPHED INTO LONDON BASED FORWARDS.

IN THE LAST 28 MONTHS 99 NET TONNES HAS LEFT THE COMEX.

 

end

And now for silver

AND NOW THE NOV DELIVERY MONTH

FEB INITIAL standings/SILVER

FEB 19 2019
Silver Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory NIL oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory
72,830.178 oz
CNT
Scotia

 

 

Deposits to the Dealer Inventory
nil oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory
5033.73
oz
Scotia
No of oz served today (contracts)
0
CONTRACT(S)
NIL OZ)
No of oz to be served (notices)
1 contracts
5,000 oz)
Total monthly oz silver served (contracts) 565 contracts

(2,825,000 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

we had 0 inventory movement at the dealer side of things

 

 

total dealer deposits: nil  oz

total dealer withdrawals: 0 oz

we had  1 deposits into the customer account

 

i) Into JPMorgan: nil  oz

 

*** JPMorgan for most of 2017 and in 2018 has adding to its inventory almost every single day.

JPMorgan now has 150.26 million oz of  total silver inventory or 50.61% of all official comex silver. (150.26 million/296 million)

 

i) Into Scotia  5,033.73 oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

total customer deposits today: 5033.734   oz

 

we had 2 withdrawals out of the customer account:

 

i) out ofCNT::   68,814.606 oz

ii) Out of Scotia:  4015.570 oz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

total withdrawals: 72,830.178     oz

 

we had 0 adjustment..

 

 

 

 

 

total dealer silver:  87.807 million

total dealer + customer silver:  295.961 million oz

 

 

 

 

The total number of notices filed today for the FEBRUARY 2019. contract month is represented by 0 contract(s) FOR  NIL  oz

To calculate the number of silver ounces that will stand for delivery in FEB., we take the total number of notices filed for the month so far at 565 x 5,000 oz = 2,825,000 oz to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of FEB. (1) and the number of notices served upon today (0x 5000 oz) equals the number of ounces standing.

.

Thus the INITIAL standings for silver for the FEBRUARY/2019 contract month: 565(notices served so far)x 5000 oz + OI for front month of FEB( 1) -number of notices served upon today (0)x 5000 oz equals 2,830,000 oz of silver standing for the FEBRUARY contract month.  This is a strong number of oz standing for an off delivery month.

WE GAINED 0 CONTRACTS OR AN ADDITIONAL NIL OZ WILL STAND AT THE COMEX AS THESE GUYS REFUSED TO MORPH INTO LONDON BASED FORWARDS AS WELL AS  NEGATING A FIAT BONUS

 

FOR COMPARISON SILVER COMEX CONTRACT MONTH  FEB 2018 VS FEB 2019

 

 

 

 

ON FIRST DAY NOTICE FEB 1/2018 CONTRACT MONTH WE HAD 670,000 OZ STAND FOR DELIVERY.  AT THE MONTH’S CONCLUSION WE HAD 2.035 MILLION OZ STAND AS WE WITNESSED QUEUE JUMPING ON A REGULAR BASIS AT THE SILVER COMEX.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

TODAY’S SILVER VOLUME:  147,665 CONTRACTS

 

 

CONFIRMED VOLUME FOR YESTERDAY: 94,384 CONTRACTS… 

 

 

 

 

YESTERDAY’S CONFIRMED VOLUME OF 94,384 CONTRACTS EQUATES to 472 million OZ  67.3% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF SILVER

COMMODITY LAW SUGGESTS THAT OPEN INTEREST SHOULD NOT BE MORE THAN 3% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION. THE CROOKS ARE SUPPLYING MASSIVE PAPER TRYING TO KEEP SILVER IN CHECK.

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

end

NPV for Sprott 

1. Sprott silver fund (PSLV): NAV FALLS TO -3.13% (FEB 19/2019)
2. Sprott gold fund (PHYS): premium to NAV FALLS TO -.93% to NAV (FEB 19 /2019 )
Note: Sprott silver trust back into NEGATIVE territory at -3.13%-/Sprott physical gold trust is back into NEGATIVE/

(courtesy Sprott/GATA)

3.SPROTT CEF.A FUND (FORMERLY CENTRAL FUND OF CANADA):

NAV 13.57/TRADING 13.08/DISCOUNT 3.61

END

And now the Gold inventory at the GLD/

FEB 19/WITH GOLD UP $22.95/ TWO TRANSACTIONS: A HUGE 3.82 TONNES OF GOLD WITHDRAWAL FROM THE GLD THIS MORNING AND THEN  0.58 TONNES THIS AFTERNOON///INVENTORY RESTS AT 792,45 TONNES. FROM FEB 1/2019 UNTIL TODAY, GOLD IS UP $24.25 AND YET GOLD WITHDRAWALS ARE A HUGE 31.42 TONNES/THIS IS CRIMINAL!!

FEB 15/WITH GOLD UP $8.00 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 796.85 TONNES

FEB 14//WITH GOLD DOWN $1.10: WE HAD ANOTHER PAPER RAID (WITHDRAWAL) OF 2.04 TONNES/INVENTORY RESTS AT 796.85 TONNES/

FEB 13:/WITH GOLD UP $1.40 TODAY: ANOTHER PAPER RAID BY OUR CROOKED BANKERS AS THEY WITHDREW ANOTHER 2.23 TONNES OF GOLD FROM THE GLD. INVENTORY RESTS AT 798.89 TONNES

FEB 12: WITH GOLD UP $2.20 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 802.12 TONNES

FEB 11/WITH GOLD DOWN $6.25 TODAY: ANOTHER PAPER WITHDRAWAL OF 1.17 TONNES OF GOLD AND THIS GOLD WAS USED TO WHACK OUR PRECIOUS METAL TODAY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 802.12 TONNES

FEB 8/WITH GOLD UP $4.00/THE CROOKS WITHDREW ANOTHER HUGE 6.59 TONNES OF PAPER GOLD AND THIS GOLD WAS USED TO CONTAIN THE PRICE OF GOLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 803.29 TONNES

FEB 7/WITH GOLD UP 35 CENTS/ANOTHER PAPER GOLD WITHDRAWAL OF 2.06 TONNES OF GOLD FROM THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

FEB 6/WITH GOLD DOWN $4.85 TODAY: A STRONG PAPER WITHDRAWAL OF 1.37 TONNES FROM THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 811.82 TONNES

FEB 5/WITH GOLD UP $.30 TODAY: A HUGE PAPER WITHDRAWAL OF 4.11 TONNES/INVENTORY RESTS AT 813.29 TONNES

FEB 4/WITH GOLD DOWN $2.65: TWO TRANSACTIONS: i)A MASSIVE WITHDRAWAL OF 8.37 TONNES OF PAPER GOLD WAS REMOVED FROM THE GLD AND THEN ii) a A STRONG DEPOSIT OF 2.00 TONNES/INVENTORY RESTS AT 817.40 TONNES

FEB 1/WITH GOLD DOWN $3.00 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 823.87 TONNES

JAN 31/WITH GOLD UP $9.80 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 823.87 TONNES

JAN 30/WITH GOLD UP $.65: A HUGE HUGE MONSTROUS ADDITION OF 8.23 TONNES OF PAPER GOLD ENTERED THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 823.87..SO FAR IN JANUARY: 28.56 TONNES HAVE BEEN ADDED

JAN 29/WITH GOLD UP $6.15/A HUGE ADDITION OF 5.88 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 815.64 TONNES

JAN 28/WITH GOLD UP $5.30 TODAY:NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

JAN 25/WITH GOLD UP $17.90: NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

jAN 24/WITH GOLD DOWN $3.70?: NO CHANGES AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

JAN 23/WITH GOLD UP 50 CENTS: NO CHANGES AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

JAN 22/WITH GOLD UP A TINY $.85 A MASSIVE PAPER DEPOSIT OF 12.06 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE FRAUDULENT GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 809.76 TONNES

JAN 18/WITH GOLD DOWN $9.65: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71

JAN 17/WITH GOLD DOWN $1.10: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71

JAN 16/WITH GOLD UP $5.40 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71

JAN 15/WITH GOLD DOWN $1.65: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71 TONNES

JAN 14/WITH GOLD UP $1.60/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71 TONNES

JAN 11/WITH GOLD UP $2.30 TODAY ANOTHER WITHDRAWAL OF 1.47 TONNES OF GOLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 797.71 TONNES

JAN 10/WITH GOLD DOWN $4.00/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 799.18 TONNES

JAN 9/WITH SILVER UP $6.00/ TWO TRANSACTIONS: a) A TINY WITHDRAWAL OF .25 TONNES TO PAY FOR FEES ETC b) A HUGE DEPOSIT OF 2.65 TONNES INTO THE GLD INVENTORY./INVENTORY RESTS AT 799.18 TONNES

JAN 8/WITH GOLD DOWN $3.70 TODAY, A WITHDRAWAL OF 1.47 TONNES AND THIS GOLD WAS USED IN THE RAID/INVENTORY RESTS AT 796.78 TONNES

JAN 7/WITH GOLD UP $4.45 TODAY: A HUGE DEPOSIT OF 2.94 TONNES OF GOLD ENTERED THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 798.25 TONNES

JAN 4/WITH GOLD DOWN $8.65 TODAY; NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 795.31 TONNES

JAN 3/2019/WITH GOLD UP $10.65 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY REMAINS AT 795.31 TONNES

JAN 2.2019/WITH GOLD UP $3.35 TODAY: A HUGE CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD: A DEPOSIT OF 7.64 TONNES/INVENTORY RESTS AT 795.31 TONNES

DEC 31/WITH GOLD DOWN $2.20 TODAY: NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 787.67 TONNES

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

FEB 19/2019/ Inventory rests tonight at 792.45 tonnes

*IN LAST 546 TRADING DAYS: 141.60 NET TONNES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE GLD
*LAST 446 TRADING DAYS: A NET 18.35 TONNES HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED INTO THE GLD INVENTORY.

 

end

 

Now the SLV Inventory/

FEB 19/WITH SILVER UIP 25 CENTS TODAY: A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A DEPOSIT OF 938,000 OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 308.296 MILLION OZ/

FEB 15/WITH SILVER UP 19 CENTS: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.358 MILLION OZ/

FEB 14/WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS: A DEPOSIT OF 423,000 OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.358 MILLION OZ

FEB 13/WITH SILVER DOWN 4 CENTS TODAY: ANOTHER BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A WITHDRAWAL OF 938,000 OZ FROM THE SLV./INVENTORY RESTS AT 306.935 MILLION OZ/

FEB 12 WITH SILVER UP 3 CENTS TODAY:  NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT TH SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.873 MILLION OZ/

FEB 11/WITH SILVER DOWN 13 CENTS TODAY:A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY; A WITHDRAWAL OF 1.126 MILLION OZ FROM THE SLV INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.873 MILLION OZ/

FEB 8/WITH SILVER UP 11 CENTS: ANOTHER WITHDRAWAL OF 657,000 OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 308.999  MILLION OZ/

FEB 7/WITH SILVER DOWN 1 CENT TODAY: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 309.656 MILLION OZ/

FEB 6/WITH SILVER DOWN 13 CENTS TODAY; A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A WITHDRAWAL OF 938,000  OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 309.656 MILLION OZ/

FEB 5/WITH SILVER DOWN 3 CENTS; NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 310.594 MILLION OZ.

FEB 4/WITH SILVER DOWN 4 CENTS: A SMALL CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A WITHDRAWAL OF 129,000 OZ TO PAY FOR FEES/.INVENTORY RESTS AT 310.594 MILLION OZ/

FEB 1/WITH SILVER DOWN 14 CENTS: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY  RESTS AT 310.723 MILLION OZ/

JAN 31/WITH SILVER UP 15 CENTS TODAY: ANOTHER BIG DEPOSIT OF 1.126 MILLION OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 310.723 MILLION OZ/

JAN 30/WITH SILVER UP 7 CENTS: A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A DEPOSIT OF 938,000 INTO THE SLV INVENTORY./INVENTORY RESTS AT 309.597 MILLION OZ.

JAN 29/WITH SILVER UP 9 CENTS TODAY/A HUGE DEPOSIT OF 1.408 MILLION OZ  IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV.//INVENTORY RESTS AT 308.659 MILLION OZ/

JAN 28/WITH SILVER UP 5 CENTS TODAY: NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.251 MILLION OZ/

JAN 25/WITH SILVER UP 40 CENTS: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.251 MILLION OZ/

JAN 24/WITH SILVER DOWN 7 CENTS TODAY: NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY

JAN 23/WITH SILVER UP 4 CENTS: A HUGE LOSS OF 938,000 FROM THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.251 MILLION OZ/

JAN 22/WITH SILVER DOWN 5 CENTS: A HUGE DEPOSIT OF 1.179 MILLION OZ INTO THE SLV/SLV IS A FRAUDULENT VEHICLE/INVENTORY RESTS AT 308.189 MILLION OZ/

JAN 18/WITH SILVER DOWN 13 CENTS: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY/NO DOUBT THE MASSIVE WITHDRAWAL OF PAPER SILVER WAS USED IN THE RAID TODAY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.110

JAN 17/WITH SILVER DOWN 9 CENTS TODAY:ANOTHER BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV; A MASSIVE WITHDRAWAL OF 3.895 MILLION OZ./INVENTORY RESTS AT 307.110 MILLION OZ/

JAN 16/WITH SILVER FLAT TODAY: A BIG CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV

A WITHDRAWAL OF 2.158 MILLION OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 311.005 MILLION OZ/

JAN 15/WITH SILVER DOWN 4 CENTS TODAY: A SMALL CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A WITHDRAWAL OF 469,000 OZ FROM ITS INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 313.163 MILLION OZ/

JAN 14/WITH SILVER UP ONE CENT TODAY: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 313.632 MILLION OZ/

JAN 11/WITH SILVER UP 4 CENTS TODAY: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 313.632 MILLION OZ/

JAN 10/WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS TODAY; NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 313.632 MILLION OZ/

JAN 9/WITH SILVER  UP 4 CENTS TODAY; A HUGE CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV: A WITHDRAWAL OF 1.126 MILLION OZ/INVENTORY LOWERS TO 313.632 MILLION OZ/???

JAN 8/WITH SILVER DOWN 4 CENTS TODAY: NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.758 MILLION OZ

JAN 7/WITH SILVER DOWN ONE CENT: A HUGE WITHDRAWAL OF 2.347 MILLION OZ FROM THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.758 MILLION OZ/

JAN 4/WITH SILVER DOWN 3 CENTS: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV.INVENTORY RESTS AT 317.105 MILLION OZ

JAN 3/2019/WITH SILVER UP 22 CENTS A SMALL CHANGE TODAY: A WITHDRAWAL OF 118,000 OZ TO PAY FOR FEES:  INVENTORY RESTS AT 317.105 MILLION OZ/

JAN 2/2019/WITH SILVER UP 10 CENTS TODAY/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 317.233 MILLION OZ/

DEC 31/WITH SILVER UP 6 CENTS TODAY: NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 317.233 MILLION OZ/

 

 

FEB 19/2019:

 

Inventory 308.296 MILLION OZ

LIBOR SCHEDULE AND GOFO RATES:

 

 

THE RISE IN LIBOR IS CREATING A SCARCITY OF DOLLARS BECAUSE FOREIGN EXCHANGE SWAPS (COSTS) ARE SIMPLY PROHIBITIVE

YOUR DATA…..

6 Month MM GOFO 2.20/ and libor 6 month duration 2.76

Indicative gold forward offer rate for a 6 month duration/calculation:

G0LD LENDING RATE: + .56

 

 

XXXXXXXX

12 Month MM GOFO
+ 2.51%

LIBOR FOR 12 MONTH DURATION: 2.91

GOFO = LIBOR – GOLD LENDING RATE

GOLD LENDING RATE  = +.40

end

 

PHYSICAL GOLD/SILVER STORIES

end
i) GOLDCORE BLOG/Mark O’Byrne

The Case for Gold In 2019 – The Economist

When Trouble Strikes, Where Should You Hide?

The Grand Central Theory of Markets

The Economist

Imagine you have an assignation in New York.

You have not been told where you should meet the other person and she has not been told where to meet you. You have no understanding of where to find her or where she might usually be found. She is as ignorant of you.

You cannot communicate. You must somehow guess how to find each other and make those guesses coincide.

Where should you go? And at what time of day?

A good answer is Grand Central Station at noon. That was the response of the majority asked by Thomas Schelling, a game theorist and Nobel prize winner in economics, in experiments reported “The Strategy of Conflict,” published in 1960. People are often able to act tacitly in concert if they know that others are trying to do the same, said Schelling. Most situations throw up a clue, a “focal point,” around which to co-ordinate, even if it takes imagination as much as logic to find it.

Now imagine the world economy goes into a tailspin. There is panic selling of risky assets. Where should you seek safety?

Cash is the most liquid asset; but which kind? The dollar is a natural focal point. Yet America’s fiscal indiscipline and its sizeable current-account deficit might give pause. Other currencies have their faults too.

There is one other destination you might consider, if only because others are starting to think the same way.

And that is gold.

A lot of people respond to this suggestion by backing away gently while claiming an urgent appointment elsewhere. Gold keeps some strange company. Ardent gold bugs seem to know a lot about firearms, the best places with access to fresh water, and the best ways to preserve food. And what, after all, are its merits? It is supposed to be an inflation hedge. Yet there is not much of that to hedge against. Inflation barely threatens the standard rich-world target of 2 percent. And after gaining $100 an ounce recently, gold is hardly cheap by past standards, in inflation-adjusted terms.

Editors note: Since 2003 we have worked with over 16,000 thousand clients and only a tiny, tiny amount of them know anything about firearms. A small percentage are concerned about the “best places with access to fresh water, and the best ways to preserve food.” Our grandparents would have considered this prudent and common sense and what exactly is wrong with that?

Most gold investors and indeed coin and bar buyers are every day people – investors and savers – who are rightly concerned about increasing financial, economic, geopolitical, cyber, environmental and systemic risks.

Official inflation figures remain benign but most people’s actual experience of inflation is that it is much higher than official statistics suggest it is. This is people’s real world experience when they buy food, fuel, electricity, insurance or look after their family’s health and education needs, and indeed when they buy or try to buy a family home.

While inflation has not reared its ugly head as of yet in the official statistics, it is actually quiet high throughout the world is you care to look a bit closer.

Gold’s real value is as a financial hedge and safe haven asset (access our research here ) as seen during the financial crisis when gold rose sharply as stock and property markets fell sharply and banks failed.

The latest research from the World Gold Council shows gold’s value in terms of reducing volatility in an entire portfolio and enhancing returns over the long term – access synopsis of research here.

Consider the alternatives, though. The euro is flawed. It has no unique sovereign issuer to stand behind it.

And the yuan is not a currency you can trade easily. The yen, admittedly, is a good bolthole. Japan’s net foreign assets — what Japan’s residents own abroad minus what they owe to foreigners — are worth $3 trillion, or 60 percent of annual GDP. In a crisis, some of that capital comes home, pushing up the yen. Those seeking safety follow suit. The Swiss franc has similar appeal.

Still, there is a downside. Past form suggests both countries are likely to cap a rise in their currencies by printing more of them. Short-term interest rates have been negative for years in Japan, Switzerland and the euro area, in part to deter currency strength.

By contrast gold’s yield — zero — seems almost racy.

And the dollar? As a global currency it has no peers. During the last big crisis, in 2008, the dollar rallied. There had been lots of global borrowing in greenbacks. So when trouble struck, there was a scramble for dollar liquidity. The world still has a large short position on the dollar, in that there has been heavy borrowing in the currency beyond America’s shores. Yet the world is also long dollar assets. America’s listed firms make up the bulk of global stock market indices. Its government-bond market has swollen to 100 percent of GDP. And the dollar still accounts for the bulk of official reserves.

Tellingly, the managers of those rainy-day funds seem a mite concerned that they are crammed into the same spot. The share of dollars in the $10.7 trillion of reserves reported to the IMF has dropped from over 65 percent when Donald Trump was elected president to below 62 percent in the latest figures. This may in part be a response to growing political risks.

The dollar’s central role in global trade and finance allows America to impose financial sanctions to great effect. It has been doing so with greater frequency, so Russia, for instance, has drastically cut the dollar share of its reserves, to 22 percent, while raising the shares of euros and yuan. Russia has been a big buyer of gold, too. In that, it is not alone. Net purchases of gold by central banks rose by 74 percent last year to the highest since 1971, the year the dollar’s peg to the gold price broke.

Now, as then, there are growing concerns that the dollar is a crowded trade. It is as if there are so many people in Grand Central Station that it is impossible to find the person you’re supposed to meet there—or if you do find them, you cannot fight your way out without mishap.

It is why gold is starting to appeal again as a spot to converge upon.

You would have to mix with some strange people there.

But can you really say that you would never visit?

The Economist (Register to read this article in full)

 

News and Commentary

Gold at two-week high on trade deal hopes; palladium peaks (CNBC.com)

Scientists take a look inside rare wire gold specimen (Mining.com)

May Seeks EU Help on Brexit as Ministers Revolt Over No-Deal (Bloomberg.com)

Gold bulls set targets on a run to YTD highs up at $1,326/oz (FXStreet.com)

Perth Mint joins gold class China club (TheWest.com)

China’s latest gold rush has transformed a fifth-tier city (Economist.com)

Cracks are opening in the global monetary system (FT.com)

A New Silver Issue for the Justice Department (SilverSeek.com)

The Remote Island Sitting on $58 Billion of Gold and Copper (Bloomberg.com)

Guess Who Is Buying (gold)? (TheMacroTourist.com)

Listen on iTunes,Blubrry & SoundCloud  & watch on YouTube above

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Gold Prices (LBMA PM)

15 Feb: USD 1,319.00, GBP 1027.64 & EUR 1,168.17 per ounce
14 Feb: USD 1,305.65, GBP 1017.49 & EUR 1,158.50 per ounce
13 Feb: USD 1,311.15, GBP 1017.45 & EUR 1,158.79 per ounce
12 Feb: USD 1,311.60, GBP 1021.21 & EUR 1,163.00 per ounce
11 Feb: USD 1,306.40, GBP 1014.81 & EUR 1,157.08 per ounce
08 Feb: USD 1,311.10, GBP 1012.04 & EUR 1,156.65 per ounce
07 Feb: USD 1,310.00, GBP 1009.49 & EUR 1,154.11 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

15 Feb: USD 15.67, GBP 12.23 & EUR 13.90 per ounce
14 Feb: USD 15.58, GBP 12.17 & EUR 13.83 per ounce
13 Feb: USD 15.69, GBP 12.13 & EUR 13.85 per ounce
12 Feb: USD 15.81, GBP 12.30 & EUR 14.01 per ounce
11 Feb: USD 15.70, GBP 12.16 & EUR 13.88 per ounce
08 Feb: USD 15.78, GBP 12.18 & EUR 13.92 per ounce
07 Feb: USD 15.71, GBP 12.20 & EUR 13.87 per ounce

Recent Market Updates

– Invest In Gold As a Hedge In Cashless Society – Ex IMF Rogoff
– Valentine’s Day Record Spending Due to Gold Love Trade?
– Gold Prices In Pounds and Euros Gain More as Economic Growth Falters in the UK and EU
– Irish Investors Storing Their Gold Bullion In Ireland
– Large Gold Bullion Shipment Moves From London to Dublin Gold Vaults As Brexit Concerns Deepen
– Store Gold Bullion In Safest Ways – Learning from Tragic Venezuela Today
– The Vital Importance of Gold As A Strategic Asset In 2019
– ITALEXIT: Italy’s Debt Crisis Will “Rock EU To Its Foundations” – Banking Crisis and Euro Exit Are Likely
– “Right” Trump and “Left” Ocasio-Cortez Will Join Forces And Debase The Dollar

Mark O’Byrne
Executive Director
GATA STORIES AS IT RELATES TO PHYSICAL GOLD/SILVER
Unbelievable: The USA grabs stolen Iraqi gold from Isis which was stored in Idlib province. Let us see if the USA returns the gold to its rightful owner
(courtesy zerohedge)

U.S. grabs stolen Iraqi gold in Syria, according to Syrian government news agency

 Section: 

Deal Between Washington and Daesh to Smuggle Stolen Gold from Syria

By Hazem Sabbagh
Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus
Saturday, February 16, 2019

https://www.sana.sy/en/?p=158759

DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria — As it is trying to convince the world of its imaginary victory over Daesh (ISIS), Washington is still cooperating with the terrorist organization, with the latest and possibly last chapter of this cooperation involving a deal involving stolen gold.

Local sources reported that the U.S. forces that are present illegally in Syria have used helicopters to transport large boxes full of the “spoils” of Daesh terrorists from al-Dashisha area in Hasaka province’s southern countryside.

 

 

The sources said the boxes contained large amounts of gold that Daesh had been stashing in al-Dashisha area east of al-Shadadi city, which is in line with other sources that had reported that Daesh transported around 40 tons of gold bullion stolen from Mosul, Iraq, and other areas in Syria to al-Dashisha.The sources said that U.S. military choppers landed in Hajin in Deir Ez-Zor and Dashisha in Haska, transporting Daesh leaders who had turned themselves over to American forces and later directed the Americans to the stashes of stolen gold, closing a deal by which Washington spared hundreds of the terror organization’s field leaders and experts.

* * *
Help keep GATA going:GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at:http://www.gata.orgTo contribute to GATA, please visit:http://www.gata.org/node/16

END

Now it is Gazprombank that has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.  The noose is tightening around Venezuela as they will have no funds to continue

(courtesy Reuters)

Russian bank freezes accounts of Venezuela’s oil company, source tells Reuters

 Section: 

By Tatiana Voronova
Reuters
Sunday, February 17, 2019

MOSCOW — Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under U.S. sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters today.

While many foreign firms have been cutting their exposure to PDVSA since the sanctions were imposed, that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state is following suit is significant because the Kremlin has been among Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest supporters.

… 

PDVSA’s accounts are currently frozen,” the source said. “As you’ll understand, operations cannot be carried out.”

Gazprombank did not reply to a Reuters request for a comment.

Reuters reported this month that PDVSA was telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in its Gazprombank accounts, according to sources and an internal document, in a move to try to sideline fresh U.S. sanctions on PDVSA. …

… Dispatch continues below …

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-gazprombank/russia…

END

 

Seems that Australia may have lost its gold at the Bank of England through leasing.  They refuse to give sovereign Australia audits of what happened to their gold

(courtesy Ronan Manly/Bullionstar)

Australia’s gold also may have been lost at Bank of England

 Section: 

2p ET Monday, February 18, 2019

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Venezuela’s gold isn’t the only monetary metal raising questions about the custodianship afforded by the Bank of England, Bullion Star gold researcher Ronan Manly writes today.

According to Manly, Australia’s gold reserves were largely packed off to London years ago and leased into the market and then sealed off from audits and freedom-of-information requests. Indeed, Manly writes, there’s no verifying the true location of the Australian reserves anymore.

Manly’s analysis comes in an interview with Russia Today, headlined “Hey, UK! It’s Not Just Venezuela — What Happened to Australia’s Gold?” — and it’s posted at RT here:

https://www.rt.com/business/451736-australian-gold-reserves-ronan-manly/

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
CPowell@GATA.org

END

A must listen to audio from Andrew Maguire as he details that physical demand is overpowering the paper shenanigans.

(courtesy Andrew Maguire/Kingworldnews)

Physical demand from central banks, big traders is overpowering futures, Maguire tells KWN

 Section: 

11:28a ET Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

London metals trader Andrew Maguire tells King World News this week that physical demand from central banks and other big traders is building outside public view and becoming more important than trader reports from the futures market, which are always discouraging for longs.

As a result, Maguire says, price dips have been and will continue to be shallow and short, but he adds that ordinary investors should avoid futures and just buy real metal and remove it from the banking system, which is always working to suppress prices.

Maguire’s interview is 15 minutes long and can be heard at KWN here:

https://kingworldnews.com/andrew-maguire-this-is-what-is-happening-behin…

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
CPowell@GATA.org

end

Ted Butler is again on the rampage and correctly he states the huge short positions by 1 to 4 traders and 4 to 8 traders in silver. It is similar to what I stated to the CFTC in the hearings in March 2010. The big difference between 2010 and today, is the fact that during these past 9 years, JPMorgan has acquired massive amounts of silver and that fact has been confirmed to me by the CFTC

a must read…

(courtesy Ted Buter/GATA)

 

Ted Butler: A new silver issue for the Justice Department

 Section: 

2:47p ET Saturday, February 16, 2019

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

The most recent futures trader positioning report from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, silver market analyst Ted Butler writes, raises monopolization and restraint-of-trade issues that should be investigated by the Justice Department.

… 

 

Butler writes: “As of the close of business on Jan. 15, the eight largest traders on the short side of New York Commodity Exchange silver futures held a net (pure) short position of 95,577 contracts, the equivalent of nearly 478 million ounces of silver, or roughly 60 percent of annual total mine production. The four largest traders held a net short position of 70,627 contracts, the equivalent of more than 350 million ounces or roughly 40 percent of total annual world mine production.

“In terms of the average short holdings of each trader, the four largest traders average more than 87 million ounces per trader, while the eight largest traders hold short nearly 60 million ounces per trader.

“No silver mining company produces 60 million ounces per year.”

Butler’s analysis is headlined “A New Silver Issue for the Justice Department” and it’s posted at GoldSeek’s companion site, SilverSeek, here:

http://silverseek.com/commentary/new-silver-issue-justice-department-175…

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
CPowell@GATA.org

A New Silver Issue for the Justice Department

Theodore Butler

 

February 14, 2019 – 3:40pm

 

It’s now been four months since the US Department of Justice secured a criminal guilty plea from the former trader from JPMorgan for spoofing and manipulating precious metals prices on the COMEX and three months since that plea was unsealed. In its announcement on Nov 6, the Justice Department made it clear that it was engaged in an ongoing investigation into COMEX precious metals trading by no less than three of its important divisions; the Criminal Division (Justice Dept), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Attorneys Division. Here’s a link for the organization chart for the DOJ –

https://www.justice.gov/agencies/chart

While it’s no small matter for suspected criminal activity to be pursued by three separate divisions within the Justice Department, yesterday’s release of the (still delayed) Commitments of Traders (COT) report for positions as of Jan 15, indicates yet another important division of the DOJ should be involved in the current investigation – the Antitrust Division. Incontrovertible evidence in yesterday’s COT report indicates serious violations of monopoly and restraint of trade issues in COMEX silver futures.

This is not a “new” issue, in that I have continuously raised it over the years, but yesterday’s COT report indicates it is imperative for the Antitrust Division to consider the matter in light of the current COMEX precious metals investigation already underway.  That issue is the concentrated holdings of the 4 and 8 largest traders on the short side of COMEX silver futures. As of the close of business on Jan 15, the 8 largest traders on the short side of COMEX silver futures held a net (pure) short position of 95,577 contracts, the equivalent of nearly 478 million ounces of silver, or roughly 60% of annual total mine production. The 4 largest traders held a net short position of 70,627 contracts, the equivalent of more than 350 million ounces or roughly 40% of total annual world mine production. In terms of the average short holdings of each trader; the 4 largest traders average more than 87 million ounces per trader, while the 8 largest traders hold short nearly 60 million ounces per trader.

No silver mining company produces 60 million ounces per year. Moreover, silver prices traded flat to lower over the reporting week, finishing at $15.62.  That represents a price barely at or even below the cost of production for a primary silver miner, so the thought that silver miners were rushing to sell short and hedge production is absurd. Besides, mining companies have to disclose such dealings separately and no such filings have been reported. There can be little doubt that the one-week increase in the concentrated short position of the 8 largest traders of 4935 contracts (nearly 25 million oz) was strictly the work of speculating banks masquerading as legitimate commercials.

The issue for the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department is what the effect the pure short sale by speculating banks (led by JPMorgan) of 60% of world silver mine production has on price. The basic role of the Division is to insure that monopolistic pricing forces don’t interfere with the workings of the free market.  A free market is defined by competition by as many market participants as possible. A world commodity such as silver would require more than 4 or 8 large traders to be considered free. Yet, according to data published by the CFTC that is precisely the number of traders determining the price of silver.

The first question the Antitrust Division must ask itself is what the price of silver would be if, instead of 60% of world production being held short by just 8 speculating banks, that short position was held by many more traders than just 4 or 8 large traders. In other words, what would it take to induce many more traders than just 8 traders to sell short the equivalent of 478 million ounces of silver? The answer is simple – much higher prices. Stated differently, if the concentrated short position of 478 million ounces of the 8 largest traders didn’t exist, the price of silver would be substantially higher. In a nutshell, that’s prima facie proof of manipulation.

The second question the Antitrust Division should ask is how this concentrated silver short position has been allowed to exist and what do the existing regulators, the CFTC and the CME Group, say to allegations this is prima facie proof of manipulation? After all, no commodity has a concentrated short position that comes close to COMEX silver when compared to actual world production, consumption and inventories. When it comes to concentrated short positions, COMEX silver is in a class of its own.

The only answer the CFTC and the CME Group have been able to mumble, on those rare occasions when they even bothered to respond (not in the last ten years), is that the big concentrated short traders are just making markets and providing liquidity. If the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live fame were around, she would surely say – “Well, isn’t that special?” Commodity markets are designed to be open auction markets, not run by market makers and the only liquidity provided is naked short selling designed to cap prices. I would expect that the Antitrust Division would be able to see right through such a bogus response.

I suppose JPMorgan, alone among the other big 4 and 8 short sellers, might be able to claim it is hedging against its massive physical silver holdings; but I would hope that the Antitrust Division would be able to see through the illegitimacy of JPM’s argument. JPMorgan was the biggest COMEX short seller long before it started to accumulate physical silver at the depressed prices it had caused to be depressed in the first place, so for it to claim it is now legitimately hedging when it adds to short positions is bogus.

In terms of total world inventories, the concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures by the 8 largest traders, 478 million ounces as of Jan 15, is roughly 25% of the estimated 2 billion ounces that exist in the world in 1000 oz bars. In gold, the less than 18 million ounces held short on that date by the 8 largest short traders in COMEX gold futures measured against the 5.5 billion ounces of gold that exist in the world comes to 0.03%.  That’s 25% of world silver inventories and less than one half of one percent in gold. Yes, I believe gold is manipulated in price by the same forces that manipulate the price of silver, but nowhere near to the same extent.

As much as I’ve pointed out the manipulative effect of the concentrated short position over the years, I have been just as consistent in providing the one sure cure or remedy, namely, position limits. This is the issue that the CFTC and CME Group have stalled on for years. The issue is clear – for decades a handful of large traders (mostly banks) have conspired to manipulate silver prices by selling short massive quantities of COMEX futures contracts in any amount necessary to cap prices until prices fell under the weight of the excessive short selling. For the past 11 years, JPMorgan has been the ringleader, back stopper and main beneficiary of the manipulation, greatly expanding its unfair advantage by conniving to accumulate physical silver at depressed prices over the past 8 years. Should the Justice Department, and its Antitrust Division, fail to act against this crime, the conspiring manipulators will have pulled off the financial crime of all time.

Ted Butler

February 14, 2019

www.butlerresearch.co

end





iii) Other Physical stories
Citibank may “liquidate” over one billion dollars worth of Venezuelan gold if money is not returned to  Citibank.  This gold is now doubt been leased/hypothecated many times already so no new gold will enter the sellers’ market..
(courtesy zerohedge)

Citi May Liquidate Over $1 Billion In Venezuela Gold Within Weeks

Back in April 2015, when Venezuela still had a somewhat functioning economy and hyperinflation was not yet rampant, the cash-strapped country quietly conducted a little-noticed gold-for-cash swap with Citigroup as part of which president Nicolas Maduro converted part of his nation’s gold reserves into at least $1 billion in cash through a swap with Citibank.

As Reuters reported then, the deal would make more foreign currency available to President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government as the OPEC nation struggled with soaring consumer prices, chronic shortages and a shrinking economy worsened by low oil prices.

As Reuters further added: “former central bank director Jose Guerra and economist Asdrubal Oliveros of Caracas-based consultancy Ecoanalitica said in separate interviews that the operation had been carried out.  A source at the central bank told Reuters last month it would provide 1.4 million troy ounces of gold in exchange for cash. Venezuela would have to pay interest on the funds, but the bank would most likely be able to maintain the gold as part of its foreign currency reserves.”

Needless to say, the socialist country’s economic situation is orders of magnitude worse now, and in addition to a full-blown blockade of the country’s only key export, petroleum, the president has a simmering, US-backed coup to contend with as well.

Fast forward three years when Venezuela’s gold swap with Citi is about to mature, and according to lawmaker Angel Alvarado, advisor to Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaido, Citi would be entitled to keep the gold if cash-strapped Venezuela does not pay the loan when it expires in March. Considering the country’s financial dire straits, the last thing Venezuela can afford is to pay Citi to reclaim ownership of the collateral.

As a result, on Friday, Guaido’s advisors asked Citibank not to invoke the guarantee and not to claim the gold put up as collateral for the 2015 loan made to the government of President Nicolas Maduro if his administration does not make payments on time, Reuters reported, citing a Venezuela lawmaker.  Opposition leaders have claimed that Maduro usurped power last month when he was sworn in to a second term after a disputed election widely described as a sham.

“Citibank has been asked to stand by and not invoke the guarantee until the end of the usurpation,” Alvarado said in an interview. “We don’t want to lose the gold.”

Confirming what we reported back in 2016, a finance industry source told Reuters that the gold is worth $1.1 billion.

While it is unclear whether Citi will comply with the requests, there is now a non-trivial possibility that the US bank may find itself liquidating over $1 billion in Venezuela bullion in the open market, an operation which could potentially send the price of the precious metal sharply lower.

* * *

Meanwhile, far from pushing to reclaim its gold, Maduro has only been selling more of it, as Abu Dhabi investment firm Noor Capital confirmed when it said earlier this month that it bought 3 tons of gold from Venezuela’s central bank, but would halt further transactions until the country’s situation stabilizes.

Guaido has also asked British authorities to prevent Maduro from gaining access to gold reserves held in the Bank of England, which holds around $1.2 billion in bullion for Maduro’s government. So far the British central bank has refused to comply with Maduro’s demands to remit the gold back to Venezuela, although when asked for comment, the BOE said it does not comment on client operations.

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, who spent the last years of his life repatriating Venezuela’s gold is spinning in his grave.

-END-

Due to the criminal conviction of trader Edmonds, the USA prosecution is seeking to halt the civil lawsuit. I was misinformed: all discoveries in a civil suit are public and because of that, the prosecution gives the defendants the right to plead the 5th if their testimony incriminates them
(courtesy zerohedge/Chris Powell)

US seeks halt in civil lawsuit accusing JP Morgan of manipulating metals market, citing criminal case

  • The U.S. wants a federal judge to halt a civil lawsuit accusing J. P. Morgan of manipulating precious metals markets. The Justice Department cited an ongoing criminal case as its reason for the request.
  • A former J. P. Morgan trader pleaded guilty in Connecticut last month to manipulation charges.
  • In the guilty plea, the trader said he had learned to make bogus trade orders from senior traders at the bank and that he used the strategy hundreds of times with the knowledge and consent of his immediate supervisors.

A sign of JP Morgan Chase Bank is seen in front of their headquarters tower in New York.

Amr Alfiky | Reuters
A sign of JP Morgan Chase Bank is seen in front of their headquarters tower in New York.

The Justice Department is asking a judge to put the brakes on a civil lawsuit against J. P. Morgan Chase, citing an ongoing probe into a “related criminal case” that involves alleged manipulation of precious metals markets.

The department wants a six-month postponement in the proceedings of the civil lawsuit, which was filed in 2015 by hedge fund manager Daniel Shak and two commodity traders. The government also says it could ask for a longer delay in the case, according to a court filing on Monday.

The move comes days after Shak’s lawyer, David Kovel, sought permission to reopen questioning of two former J. P. Morgan traders and the bank’s current global head of base and precious metals trading.

Kovel, in making the request with the Manhattan federal judge in the civil case, cited last month’s guilty plea by one of those former traders, John Edmonds, in federal court in Connecticut.

Edmonds admitted making bogus bids on precious metals contracts while working at the bank from 2009 to 2015.

Neither J. P. Morgan Chase nor Kovel’s clients have opposed the Justice Department’s request.

In arguing for a delay, the Justice Department said Shak’s lawsuit is “related” to Edmonds’ criminal case and that Edmonds has “pleaded guilty and acknowledged his own participation in such conduct, as well as that of other traders.”

“Edmonds awaits sentencing, but the broader investigation is ongoing,” the Justice Department said. The U.S. wants to delay the civil case “to protect the integrity of its ongoing criminal investigation,” it said.

J. P. Morgan did not respond to a request for comment by CNBC. Kovel declined to comment.

Tuesday night, after this story first was published, Judge Paul Engelmayer ordered the federal prosecutors to explain in detail by Monday why postponing proceedings in the civil lawsuit would not harm those involved, and why reopening questioning “would be detrimental to the Government’s ongoing criminal investigation.”

Englemayer also wrote that he regards Edmonds’ guilty plea “as potentially highly consequential” to the civil case.

In his guilty plea, the 36-year-old Edmonds said he had learned to make bogus trade orders from senior traders at the bank and that he used the strategy hundreds of times with the knowledge and consent of his immediate supervisors. He admitted to working with “unnamed co-conspirators” at J. P. Morgan, according to the Justice Department.

Kovel wants to question Edmonds again as well as Michael Nowak, the bank’s global head of base and precious metal trading, and former J. P. Morgan Chase Managing Director Robert Gottlieb. The three had previously answered questions under oath in the civil case.

Kovel said in court filings that Nowak was the immediate supervisor of Edmonds, while Gottlieb was Edmonds’ mentor.

In his prior deposition, Edmonds said that Gottlieb sat only a “couple feet” away from him for about five years, and that he was “somebody [he] looked up to in the business,” who helped guide and train him.

Nowak is described by Edmonds as his direct supervisor, with whom he would sometimes discuss trading strategies. Nowak was also the person responsible for overseeing the performance and risk of Edmonds’ portfolio, according to the deposition.

Edmonds also stated in his prior deposition that he would enter precious metals trades for both Nowak and Gottlieb, among others.

The civil lawsuit claims Shak and his fellow plaintiffs lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of actions by J. P. Morgan’s traders.

A federal judge tells traders that they can combine cases (with the other 6 banks) as they accused JPMorgan of rigging the precious metals market
(courtesy CNBC)

Federal judge tells traders they can combine cases accusing JP Morgan of rigging metals market

  • Litigation in a separate civil case has been put on hold until at least May at the behest of the Justice Department, which is investigating a “related criminal case” that involves alleged market manipulation by precious metals traders at J. P. Morgan.
  • Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York appointed the White Plains, N.Y., law firm Lowey Dannenberg as interim lead counsel for the proposed class action.

71671201

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

A group of traders from across the U.S. who allege that J. P. Morgan Chase manipulated precious metals markets for years are one step closer to bringing a class action suit against the nation’s largest bank.

Earlier this month, a federal judge said five separate lawsuits making similar allegations against the bank could be combined, potentially including thousands of people who traded in the precious metals market from Jan. 2009 through Dec. 2015.

Litigation in a separate civil case has been put on hold until at least May at the behest of the Justice Department, which is investigating a “related criminal case” that involves alleged market manipulation by precious metals traders at J. P. Morgan.

J. P. Morgan declined to comment on this story.

Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York appointed the White Plains, N.Y., law firm Lowey Dannenberg as interim lead counsel for the proposed class action.

Vincent Briganti, a partner at the firm, filed the first suit seeking class action status in November on behalf of Dominick Cognata, a trader who alleges he suffered losses due to J.P. Morgan’s illegal trading conduct in the silver and gold futures and options markets.

That was after the federal court in Connecticut unsealed a criminal plea agreement by John Edmonds, a former J.P. Morgan metals trader. In his guilty plea, Edmonds, who is 36-years old, admitted that he and other “unnamed co-conspirators” fraudulently manipulated the precious metals markets while they were employed at J. P. Morgan from 2009 to 2015.

Edmonds said he had learned the illegal trading tactics from senior traders, and then used them hundreds of times with the knowledge of and consent of his immediate supervisors.

Briganti’s lawsuit also names John Edmonds and a group of yet-to-be-identified precious metals traders and the bank as defendants.

On Wednesday, the lawyers sent a letter to Judge Koeltl saying they were having difficulty locating Edmonds to serve him legal papers and requested a 30-day extension to do so, which the judge granted on Thursday. Briganti noted that they have been in contact with Edmonds’ attorney in the criminal case. Edmonds’ attorney and Briganti could not be reached for comment.

“We are hopeful that this extension will result in completing service on Mr. Edmonds without formal motion practice and a request for alternative means of service,” Briganti said in the letter.

The next step in the civil case is for the plaintiffs to file an amended class action complaint and set a schedule for defendants to respond.

In addition to the proposed class action, J. P. Morgan also faces a separate civil suit which also accuses the bank of rigging precious metals markets.

end

With Palladium hitting $1441 today, Lawrie Williams believes that it is now time to invest in Platinum as we are now approaching a reverse subsitution.

(courtesy Lawrie Williams)

LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Palladium’s big premium over platinum may prompt reverse substitution

As I write the palladium price is carrying a $650 an ounce premium over platinum, a metal which has historically been the more expensive of the more plentiful of the platinum group metals (pgms). It is also at around a $130 premium over gold. If one looks back only a relatively short time, when platinum was at a strong premium over its sister metal, this prompted major, and ultimately successful, research by exhaust catalyst suppliers into utilising the lower cost pgm as the principal exhaust emission control catalyst for use with internal combustion engines. After a couple of years palladium won that battle with respect to petrol (gasoline) powered engines, although platinum has continued to dominate in diesel engine exhaust emission control catalytic converters.

But, if the big palladium price premium over platinum is seen as likely to be maintained in the medium to long term there has to be a strong chance that the reverse will begin to take place. Arguably the current palladium/rhodium exhaust catalyst combination has proven to be more efficient than platinum, but that is probably due to the continuing level of research. If this level of research is put into platinum as a petrol engine exhaust catalyst – it has already proven to be reasonably effective as such, whereas palladium had not when substitution research began – it could well usurp the position currently held by palladium. We suspect that such research has already begun and may accelerate if the palladium price starts to power further ahead.

Currently global platinum production is in surplus and palladium in deficit, which is partly responsible at least for the reversal in the pricing position between the two sister metals. It has been exacerbated by a reduction in demand for light diesel powered vehicles due to pollution concerns while demand for petrol aspirated engines has, until recently, held up fairly well. But, and it is a big but, car buying demand has turned down in the principal global markets over the past few months, while there is an ever-growing market for electric powered cars- small but rising – and this is likely to accelerate.

All the above will take time, apart from the turndown in global auto demand, but over a two to three year period the current strong fundamentals for palladium may well fall away. Even so, we feel that the current sizes of the price premia over gold and platinum are overdone and there is certainly a good chance that the gold price will exceed that of palladium again during the current year due to a continuing gold price rise and a contraction in that of palladium.

19 Feb 2019

-END-

GOLD TRADING TUESDAY

Traders Puzzled After Gold Surges To 10 Month Highs

With both the dollar and yen sliding, most notably after the BOJ’s Kuroda told parliament the Japanese central bank can and will ease far more if necessary, it is perhaps not surprising that gold has surged $14 higher today, rising above $1,341/ounce, up over $140 from the early November levels when it was trading in the low-$1,200s, and the highest price since April 2018.

Yet what has left traders puzzled is that despite gold’s surge, it is not trading as a traditional safe haven, because after correlating inversely with the S&P for much of 2018, the correlation flipped to positive in late-December, right around the time the Fed also flipped from hawkish to dovish, meaning that gold has instead regained its status as a hedge against central bank idiocy. Curiously, gold’s correlation with the S&P has even surpassed that of other safe havens such as the dollar, TSYs or yen.

Or maybe gold is simply trading as a plain vanilla commodity: after all, it is not only the S&P that soared starting in December, so did WTI, which rebounded from a multi-year low in the low-$40s to a year to date high of $55+ today. Base metals have had an even more amazing recent track record: take Palladium, which has soared by more than 50% since August, surpassing the price of gold in nominal terms, and hitting a new all time high today amid reports of shortages as the market continues to drift away from diesel-powered vehicles.

Or maybe gold’s surge is just the result of trend-chasing algos and CTAs who are the marginal price setters: as several desks have pointed out, gold is trading within a clearly defined upward channel with upside resistance expected to hit around $1366, which is where gold topped out on three prior breakout attempts in early 2018. Should the current upward channel provide support, expect a major test some time in mid-to late March when the upward support clashes with what has so far been unbreakable resistance.

Which way gold moves after that will likely depend on just how more “activist” central banks become over the next month (or how much gold central banks themselves decide to buy). Considering the accelerated race to the FX bottom in recent weeks, it is safe to say that gold may be printing new multi-year highs as soon as one month from now.

END

 

Your early TUESDAY morning currency, Asian stock market results,  important USA/Asian currency crosses, gold/silver pricing overnight along with the price of oil Major stories overnight/9 AM EST

i) Chinese yuan vs USA dollar/CLOSED/ LAST AT: 6.7677/

 

//OFFSHORE YUAN:  6.7764   /shanghai bourse CLOSED UP 1.29 POINTS OR 0.10% /

 

HANG SANG CLOSED DOWN 118.88 POINTS OR 0.42%

 

 

2. Nikkei closed  UP 20.89 POINTS OR 0.10%

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Europe stocks OPENED RED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/USA dollar index RISES TO 97.05/Euro FALLS TO 1.1283

3b Japan 10 year bond yield: FALLS TO. –.03/ !!!!(Japan buying 100% of bond issuance)/Japanese yen vs usa cross now at 110.76/ THIS IS TROUBLESOME AS BANK OF JAPAN IS RUNNING OUT OF BONDS TO BUY./JAPAN 10 YR YIELD IS NOW TARGETED AT .11%/JAPAN LOSING CONTROL OF THEIR BOND MARKET

 

3c Nikkei now JUST BELOW 17,000

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

3e WTI:: 56.07 and Brent: 66.31

3f Gold UP/JAPANESE Yen DOWN CHINESE YUAN:   ON -SHORE  UP   /OFF- SHORE: 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 UP for WTI and UP FOR Brent this morning

3i European bond buying continues to push yields lower on all fronts in the EMU. German 10yr bund FALLS TO +.10%/Italian 10 yr bond yield DOWN to 2.82% /SPAIN 10 YR BOND YIELD UP TO 1.21%…ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD/GERMAN BUND: 2.72: DANGEROUS FOR THE ITALIAN BANKING SYSTEM

3j Greek 10 year bond yield FALLS TO : 3.79

3k Gold at $1330.10 silver at:15.85   7 am est) SILVER NEXT RESISTANCE LEVEL AT $18.50

3l USA vs Russian rouble; (Russian rouble UP 5/100 in roubles/dollar) 66.19

3m oil into the 56 dollar handle for WTI and 66 handle for Brent/

3n Higher foreign deposits out of China sees huge risk of outflows and a currency depreciation. This can spell financial disaster for the rest of the world/

JAPAN ON JAN 29.2016 INITIATES NIRP. THIS MORNING THEY SIGNAL THEY MAY END NIRP. TODAY THE USA/YEN TRADES TO 110.57 DESTROYING JAPANESE CITIZENS WITH HIGHER FOOD INFLATION

30 SNB (Swiss National Bank) still intervening again in the markets driving down the SF. It is not working: USA/SF this morning 1.0057 as the Swiss Franc is still rising against most currencies. Euro vs SF is 1.1347 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.

3p BRITAIN VOTES AFFIRMATIVE BREXIT/LOWER PARLIAMENT APPROVES BREXIT COMMENCEMENT/ARTICLE 50 COMMENCES MARCH 29/2017

3r the 10 Year German bund now POSITIVE territory with the 10 year FALLING to +0.10%

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 2.66% early this morning. Thirty year rate at 3.00%

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

6.  TURKISH LIRA:  UP  TO 5.3092

 

Monday: Headlines (yesterday)

Asia catches up to the USA on the huge 444 pt rally in the Dow

Trade Hope Rally Fizzles In Europe After China Soars To Four Month High

The latest “trade hope” rally which sent the Dow Jones up 444 points on Friday, fizzled overnight as stocks in Europe and U.S. futures drifted in thin trading (US exchanges are closed for Presidents’ Day) even after a rally in Asia boosted shares to their highest level since October on delayed catch up to the US.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat, with the Stoxx 50 little changed on the session, with the Dax declining while peripheral indexes IBEX 35 and FTSE MIB outperformed, as gains in telecommunications companies offset declines in carmakers, after President Donald Trump received a report that may be a preliminary step to raising tariffs on auto imports.  The autos index, a bellwether for Europe’s economy, fell 0.65%, also pressured by data showing Chinese car sales fell 16% in January, their seventh straight month of decline, and the biggest one month drop in seven years.

Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations.

“The optimism on trade has been strong, but the underlying economic data has been a lot of weaker – so you have some push and pull factors,” said David Vickers, senior portfolio manager at Russell Investments, adding much focus was now on flash PMI data due out this week. “As the bounce-back from the December lows fades…the fundamentals now reassert (themselves),” Vickers added.

Earlier in the session, the “US China trade hope” trade boosted Asian sentiment, lifting the MSCI All-Country World Index rose 0.3% to a two and a half month high, after Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.8% at its highest level of the year thanks to a weaker yen and MSCI’s index of Asian equities rose almost 1%. China’s Shanghai Composite soared 2.7% to its highest finish in more than four months…

… while the Chinext and Shenzhen Composite both surged by over 4%, after China reported a Total Social Financing credit injection on Friday that was the same size as the GDP of Saudi Arabia, at just under $700 billion.

“The market has a view that there will be an extension or a deal along the way,” Erik Nielsen, chief economist at UniCredit Group, told Bloomberg TV. Overall, “the Americans don’t believe in multilateralism any more. So we are moving constantly towards a less-good scenario, and global trade is suffering.”

U.S. equity-index futures drifted although were modestly in the green, suggesting that U.S. stocks would hold onto last week’s gains when trading resumed on Tuesday. The Dow and the Nasdaq boasted their eighth consecutive week of “trader optimism” the world’s two largest economies would hammer out an agreement resolving their protracted trade dispute.

In addition to trade, bullishness has been encouraged by a continued soft economic data which has fueled expectations that the world’s most powerful central banks could deliver on reflationary policies and provide support for markets. The need for stimulus was highlighted by data showing a sharp slide in Singapore exports and a big drop in foreign orders for Japanese machinery goods.

Meanwhile, trade negotiations – whose favorable outcome has already been pried in by the market – will resume this week, with U.S. President Donald Trump saying he may extend a March 1 deadline for a deal. Both sides reported progress at last week’s talks in Beijing.

In rate, core European bonds were little changed across the curve, BTPs outperform, with 10-yr Italy/Germany spread 3bps tighter at 266bps. US Treasury cash markets are closed for the holiday.

In FX, the dollar was steady on the yen at 110.52, having backed away from a two-month top of 111.12. The yen slipped with the dollar, while the euro strengthened despite dovish comments from a European Central Bank governing council member.  The pound strengthened after seven members of the U.K. Parliament said they’ll stand as independents after quitting the main opposition Labour Party over issues including Brexit and antisemitism. Emerging-market assets climbed.

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to speak to every EU leader and the European Commission chief to seek changes to her EU withdrawal agreement, after another defeat from her own lawmakers last week.

Commodities from oil to copper climbed, sending an index of commodities to the highest since December, with oil prices reaching their highest for the year, buoyed by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Looking ahead, the latest Fed minutes are due on Wednesday and should provide more guidance on the likelihood of rate hikes this year. There is also talk the bank will keep a much larger balance sheet than previously planned.

“Given the range of speakers since the January meeting who support “patience,” the Fed minutes should reiterate a dovish message overall,” analysts at TD Securities said in a note.

 

end
Tuesday:  Today

“Sea Of Red” As Global Rally Reverses; Banks Drag Europe Lower

While the US was closed for President’s Day holiday, the European rally sputtered on Monday ignoring a renewed surge higher in Chinese stocks following a record credit injection, and on Tuesday a “sea of red” in global markets has returned, as US equity futures slumped dragged lower by European banks following a mixed session in Asia as investors appear unable to go for even one day without fresh “hope” on US-China trade talks, while the dollar climbed, snapping a three-day decline, and Treasuries edged up before U.S.-China trade talks resume in Washington.

Global markets were struggling for direction after a slow start to the week and with a fresh round of Sino-U.S. trade talks, this time in Washington, being held later, as stocks traders were largely happy to keep their powder dry.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 retreated after two days of gains, led lower by banks following disappointing earnings from HSBC Holdings, while weak macro data has sent increasingly dovish signals from the region’s central bank. HSBC – Europe’s biggest bank – saw its shares tumble as it missed forecasts due to slowing growth in its two home markets of China and Britain. HSBC’s U.K. shares follow their Hong Kong peers lower after worse-than-expected results, with the stock sliding as much as 4.6% and the biggest decliner on the FTSE 100 Index. The Stoxx 600 Banks index down as much as 1.7%, with banks the worst performing industry group on Tuesday.

The results spoke to a wider problem for European banks, which are struggling to return to growth after a decade of post-crisis restructuring due to a worsening global economic outlook.

In addition to poor earnings from Europe’s largest bank, the sector is facing is facing additional headwinds due to receding hopes for any quick interest-rate rise after ECB chief economist Peter Praet said officials could push back plans to raise rates as a first response against a deeper downturn

Automakers were also under pressure as the European Union vowed prompt retaliation if the U.S. imposes tariffs on imported vehicles.

Earlier in the session, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda unexpectedly told parliament the central bank would consider extra monetary easing if required, helping lift the Topix index and send the yen lower, even as shares in China were little changed as equities in Hong Kong dropped after Monday’s blockbuster gains. Japan’s Nikkei nudged up 0.1 percent after holding flat for most of the day.  Australian shares climbed 0.3 percent to a 4-1/2 month peak, after gaining over 8 percent so far this year, partly on expectations the central bank could ease policy to temper pressure on growth. Chinese shares slipped into the red though after surging in the previous session, with the blue-chip index off 0.2 percent.

China Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington for trade talks on February 21st-22nd, while there were comments from White House Press Secretary Sanders that trade meetings with China in Washington D.C. will begin today and that higher-level talks which will be led by USTR Lighthizer are to begin on Thursday. Furthermore, trade talks are said to focus on needed structural changes in China which impact trade, as well as China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of goods and services from the US.

Despite today’s muted action, Chinese shares have risen rapidly so far this month, with MSCI’s China A shares index up 6.5%, by far the best performance among major markets despite China’s weakening economy. Additionally, investors are now seen returning to riskier asset markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled earlier this year it could halt rate hikes in light of U.S. economic softness.

“In the last week, it seems like global central banks have started a possible process of monetary easing,” Bank of America-Merrill Lynch strategist Ajay Singh Kapur said in a note. “If so, this would be very positive for Asia/EM stocks,” Kapur said.

Across the Pacific, contracts on the Nasdaq, Dow and S&P 500 edged lower as traders kick their heels before the next round of trade talks between America and China. Italian bonds fell while most European notes climbed.

With earnings season coming to an end, the latest minutes from the FOMC and ECB due this week and U.S. President Donald Trump weighing an extension of the deadline for a trade deal with China, investors have plenty to digest. Uncertainty over the outlook for global growth hangs over everything, and traders will be hoping for some good news from the world’s two largest economies when talks resume in Washington on Tuesday.

“There is a recession coming,” Steen Jakobsen, the chief economist at Saxo Bank said in an interview on Bloomberg Television with Anna Edwards. He reckons markets are too optimistic on a trade deal between the U.S. and China. “There will by some Pyrrhic victory for the two sides to claim and extend the timeline, but in terms of material impact, no,” he said.

Overnight, President Trump said US is seeking a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela but added that all options are open.

EU Commission President Juncker said Trump gave his word there wouldn’t be tariffs on European cars for the time being; if Trump breaks the promise, EU will break its promise to buy more soy and LNG; according to Stuttgarter Zeitung. European Commission President Juncker says if UK requested extension of talks, no one in Europe would oppose it; adds he has no timeframe for length of extension.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed, snapping a three-day decline, and Treasuries edged up before U.S.-China trade talks resume in Washington. The euro broke a tight range and dropped as much as 0.3% to 1.1276 after more talk of ultra-cheap ECB bank loans, as the Bloomberg dollar index index climbed to fresh day high. The Australian dollar swung to a loss after the nation’s central bank reaffirmed mounting concerns over consumer spending.

The pound followed suit as Margaritis Schinas, a spokesman for the European Commission, said the EU won’t reopen the U.K.’s withdrawal agreement and won’t accept a time limit on the Irish border backstop despite a report that showed U.K. wages were growing at their fastest pace in a decade. The yen had slipped to 110.70 per dollar after Japan’s central bank governor had said it could redeploy stimulus if the yen’s relative strength this year hurt the economy and inflation prospects.

“Stokkie (dollar vs Swedish crown) is off to the races,” said TD Securities’ head of global research, Richard Kelly. “You had especially weak inflation and as you see (from the yen and euro) it comes against this backdrop of central banks becoming more dovish again,” although he also said that bond markets has seen far less reaction to the Swedish data.

In commodities, oil prices were mixed, with Brent futures off 29 cents at $66.21, although that was not far from Monday’s $66.83 which was the highest since mid-November. U.S. crude futures added 21 cents to $55.8. The precious metals market was more animated, with palladium surging to a record high of $1,471.0 per ounce as stricter emissions standards are seen increasing demand for the auto catalyst metal. Gold held around $1,323.66 per ounce after earlier rising to a near 10-month high of $1,327.64 too.

Expected data include NAHB Housing Market Index. Ecolab and Walmart are among companies reporting earnings.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 2,772.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 368.32
  • MXAP down 0.1% to 157.11
  • MXAPJ down 0.3% to 512.60
  • Nikkei up 0.1% to 21,302.65
  • Topix up 0.3% to 1,606.52
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 28,228.13
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.05% to 2,755.65
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 35,394.88
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 6,106.88
  • Kospi down 0.2% to 2,205.63
  • German 10Y yield fell 1.9 bps to 0.091%
  • Euro down 0.03% to $1.1308
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 3.2 bps to 2.407%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to 1.212%
  • Brent futures down 0.4% to $66.26/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,329.52
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.90

Top Overnight News

  • U.K. and European officials are working on a new legal text for the most contentious part of the Brexit deal, but time is running out for Prime Minister Theresa May to persuade a fracturing Parliament to unite behind her plan
  • Italy’s bonds are enjoying a period of relative calm while Spanish politics hogs peripheral euro-area headlines. But the market’s sense of stability looks increasingly fragile as risks mount with the economy in recession, a widening budget deficit and the threat of a rating downgrade
  • The European Central Bank’s chief economist added to the chorus of policy makers signaling concern on the economic slowdown, saying officials could push back plans to raise interest rates as a first response against a deeper downturn
  • Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators will start the next round of talks this week in Washington, after discussions in Beijing last week that President Donald Trump called “very productive.”

Asian stocks were mixed as the region struggled for firm direction following yesterday’s rally and after a non-existent lead from the US which was shut for President’s Day. ASX 200 (+0.3%) was positive with the index led higher by outperformance in the tech and financials sectors, although consumer staples and healthcare were on the other end of the spectrum amid losses in Coles and Blackmores due to weak earnings. Elsewhere, Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) just about remained afloat with price action largely reflecting jittery trade in the domestic currency, while Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (U/C) were indecisive as focus remained on US-China trade discussions which will resume today before the higher level talks on Thursday, and with some disappointment from a miss on HSBC earnings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were initially softer amid a pullback from the prior day’s gains and with demand suppressed by the mild upside across stocks, although prices later recovered after firmer results at the 20yr JGB auction. China Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington for trade talks on February 21st-22nd, while there were comments from White House Press Secretary Sanders that trade meetings with China in Washington D.C. will begin today and that higher-level talks which will be led by USTR Lighthizer are to begin on Thursday. Furthermore, trade talks are said to focus on needed structural changes in China which impact trade, as well as China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of goods and services from the US

Top Asian News

  • PBOC Rate Cut Bets Have China Analysts Asking ‘Which Rate?’
  • Kaisa Group Dollar Bonds Rally to Highest Level in Nine Months

Major European indices are mostly lower after trading choppily this morning, taking the lead from a directionless Asia session [Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%]. The FTSE 100 (-0.6%) is weighed on by poor performance in HSBC (-4.0%) following their earnings; the Dax (-0.2%) is outperforming its peers bolstered by Wirecard (+4.5%) and Heidelberg Cement (+3.4%) following Bafin prohibiting new/extending shorts yesterday and a Q4 revenue beat respectively. Sectors are broadly in the red, with some underperformance in banking names, weighed on by the aforementioned HSBC who carry around a 2% Stoxx 600 weighting; and are the largest banking component. Other notable movers include, Danone (-0.7%) who are in the red in-spite of a beat on their sales, with some analysts highlighting weaker than expected margins. Automakers, such as Volkswagen (-0.9%) and Daimler (-1.0%) are in negative territory after EU Commission President Juncker stating that US President Trump gave his word that there wouldn’t be tariffs on European cars for the time being; alongside the EU agreeing to cut new truck CO2 emission levels by 30% before 2030.

Top European News

  • U.K. Wage Growth Fastest Since 2008 Amid Labor Shortages
  • VW Wins Appeal in German Suit Over Diesel Emissions Scanda
  • Danske Bank Watchdogs Get Drawn Deeper Into European Probe
  • Sweden’s Krona Slumps Most in Eight Months After Inflation Slows
  • Siemens, Fortum Join Europe’s Jumbo Corporate Bond-Deal Dash

In FX, the Swedish Crown has slumped in wake of much softer than expected inflation data, and a slump in housing starts that together raise valid question marks over the Riksbank’s relatively confident outlook on the domestic economy and CPI/CPIF remaining close to target. On that note, Governor Ingves is due to speak later today and will get a chance to comment, as Eur/Sek spikes from sub-10.5000 through several chart resistance levels and only a whisker away from offers said to be lined up at 10.6000.

  • AUD/NZD – Very volatile trade overnight on the back of latest RBA minutes that initially underpinned the Aud on confirmation of no likelihood of a change in policy rates for some time (so no ease in the offing), but then underlined the shift to a more neutral stance and highlighted significant risks to the economic outlook. Aud/Usd retreated swiftly in response and is currently holding just above 0.7100, while the Kiwi has been dragged down in sympathy as the cross remains just above 1.0400, with Nzd/Usd hovering around 0.6825 vs just a few pips short of 0.6900 on Monday.
  • JPY/CAD – The next worst G10 performers, as Usd/Jpy grinds back up into a higher range and closer to 111.00 again amidst dovish rhetoric if not firm or official guidance from BoJ Governor Kuroda (mulling more accommodation if Jpy strength weighs on growth and hampers efforts to achieve the 2% inflation target, which has already proved extremely elusive of course). The headline pair is now probing 110.80, but could be held back by decent option expiry interest at 110.60 (1 bn). Meanwhile, the Loonie remains anchored around 1.3250 vs its US counterpart, eyeing crude to see whether prices push further ahead or consolidate around 2019 peaks.
  • GBP/EUR/CHF – All narrowly mixed and pretty flat vs the Dollar that has edged up from yesterday’s lows (DXY close to 97.000 at one stage), with Cable maintaining 1.2900+ status, albeit just, awaiting more Brexit developments/headlines following a solid if not quite as upbeat as forecast UK labour market report. Similarly, the single currency is clinging to 1.1300 and showing resilience in the face of yet more dire Italian data, perhaps drawing a degree of encouragement from a more mixed ZEW survey, while the Franc is still chipping away at recent losses and inching through 1.0050 after a wider Swiss trade surplus.
  • EM – More depreciation for the likes of the Rand and Lira, but the pressure and spotlight may switch somewhat to the Real later given political jitters due to the dismissal of a key aide to President Bolsonaro and potential adverse repercussions for pension reform. For reference, Usd/Brl settled around 3.7330 on Monday.

In commodities, the energy complex is ultimately flat-to-lower on the day thus far, with WTI (+1.0%) little changed net-net after missing a price settlement yesterday due to the President’s Day holiday over in the States. The holiday has also delayed the release of the API weekly inventory release by a day. In terms of macro themes for the complex, eyes remain on whether the OPEC-led supply curbs will ultimately ease glut concerns against the backdrop of 5 consecutive weeks of record-high US crude output. Furthermore, sources stated today that Saudi are mulling diminishing exports of Arab extra-light crude to the Asia region from March. The sourc es added that the move has improved demand in Abu-Dhabi’s Murban and Das in Asia’s spot market. Elsewhere, spot gold (+0.2%) is on the front foot and hovers near 10-month highs despite a rise in the USD as demand for the yellow metal grows ahead of the widely-anticipated dovish FOMC minutes tomorrow. Meanwhile, Shanghai aluminium fell following Malaysia announcing it will not extend a prohibition on mining bauxite when it expires on March 31st, with some noting it’ll potentially reduce costs in the aluminium supply chain for China.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:50am: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy
  • 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 59, prior 58

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

With US markets shut, it’s been a predictably quiet last 24 hours. One of the few talking points yesterday though was the differing views on whether or not the US government would be forced to make public the results of the S232 report on the investigation of the national security risk posed by imported cars. There appears to be differing opinions on if the government has to make the findings public with some confusion around the legal language. With US markets open again today though, if the government is forced to make the findings public then in theory we would find out today, although Axios did quote a source yesterday as saying that “the White House was in favour of keeping the findings private so that Trump could have it in his back pocket as a threat”. So it remains up in the air.

In any case Trump had 90 days from receiving the report to decide on whether or not to take further action. His Twitter account has so far remained dormant on the subject too which is perhaps a positive sign right now insofar as not wanting to raise tensions across the pond. The only comment we’ve heard from the European Commission was Juncker saying in an interview with Germany’s Stuttgarter Nachrichten that “Trump gave me his word that there won’t be car tariffs for the time being” and that “I regard this promise as reliable”. He also said that “should he break his word we won’t feel bound to our promise either to buy more US soy and liquid gas”. We’ve heard a similar comment from Japan’s economy minister Motegi, who said that the US won’t apply higher tariffs on imports of Japanese cars and auto parts so long as negotiations toward a trade deal continue. One to watch.

Speaking of tariffs and trade, White House Spokeswoman Sanders said overnight that the US-China trade negotiations are set to begin today while, China’s Commerce Ministry released a statement saying that China’s Vice Premier Liu He will travel to DC on February 21-22 for meetings with Lighthizer and Mnuchin. In the meantime, Steve Censky, the US Department of Agriculture’s deputy secretary, said yesterday that talks are picking up pace ahead of the March 1 deadline, “but we still have ways to go.”

As for markets, well bourses in Asia have been a bit directionless overnight with the Nikkei (+0.21%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.36%), Shanghai Comp (-0.21%) and Kospi (-0.13%) are down having erased earlier gains. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (-0.01%) are trading flat. Meanwhile there’s been some focus on the BoJ where Governor Kuroda sounded a touch dovish in his address to parliament, saying that the BoJ will consider extra easing to hit price targets if needed while adding that additional easing could also be considered due to moves in the Japanese yen if they impact economy and prices. However, he added that all decisions will be taken after carefully examining policy benefits and costs. JGBs have rallied a bit after the comments, and are now trading at -0.035%. The Yen is back to flat after trading a bit stronger in the early going.

Those moves follow a low-volume inspired but mildly positive day for risk assets in Europe yesterday. The STOXX 600 initially spent an hour or so in the morning trading in and out of the red but eventually closed up +0.23% for its fifth daily gain in the last six days. That also means that the index is now up +9.52% for 2019 so far which is the best start to a year since 2015 and in fact the fifth best – out of 33 – since the index started back in 1987. As for other markets yesterday, the DAX (-0.01%) lagged a bit further behind however European Banks (+0.91%) continue to reap the rewards from Friday’s TLTRO comments. That’s now +5.25% from the Friday morning lows for the index while Greek Banks were up +6.20% yesterday and the most since early December after Greece’s government submitted a plan to the Commission to speed up bad-loan disposals.

There was also a marginal outperformance for the FTSE MIB (+0.58%) and IBEX (+0.35%) while the same was true in bond markets where 10y BTPs closed 3.1bps lower and Bunds 0.7bps higher – with little follow through from the ECB Governing Council member Villeory’s comments about a “significant” slowdown of the European economy. That puts the spread between the two at 266bps and the lowest in two weeks. Post Villeroy’s comments we also heard from Praet who added that “if the Euro Area economy were to slow more sharply, we could adapt our forward guidance on interest rates and this could be complemented by other measures”. Praet also called TLTROs a “very useful tool” in the past.

Elsewhere in markets, HY credit spreads finished 4.4bps tighter in Europe which now makes them 65bps tight from the January wides. Speaking of credit, yesterday we published a short note looking at trends around liquidity premiums in the EUR and USD HY markets. See this link for the full report.

In other news, here in the UK it was a better day for Sterling (+0.27%). That seemed to partly reflect the Times article suggesting that progress was being made on legally binding assurances on the Irish backstop, albeit one that was light on specifics. Less relevant but nonetheless headline grabbing all the same was the announcement of 7 MP resignations from the Labour party yesterday. The resignations are unlikely to have much of a read-through from a Brexit perspective however there is the possibility for wider ramifications insofar as it may reduce Corbyn’s chances of receiving a majority at the next general election.

Before we wrap up, a quick mention that yesterday we published a report that forecasts CAPE valuations for US and European stock markets. CAPE is set to drop significantly this year as 2009’s terrible earnings roll-off, however, several factors are coalescing that could pull down earnings from their historically-high levels. That means CAPE may not fall as much as the market expects. See the report here .

To the day ahead now, which this morning kicks off here in the UK with December and January employment stats due out. The consensus expects a small one-tenth of a percent pick up in earnings to +3.4% while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.0%. Shortly after that we get December construction output data for the Euro Area before the February ZEW survey is due in Germany. In the US, the only data due out this afternoon is the February NAHB housing market index reading. Away from that we’ve got the first Fed speaker of the week when Mester speaks this afternoon on the economic outlook and monetary policy. The ECB’s Guindos and Praet are also due to speak at separate events today while the EU general affairs council gathers to discuss the 2019 budget and March summit agenda.

 

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)TUESDAY MORNING/ MONDAY NIGHT: 

SHANGHAI CLOSED UP 1.29 POINTS OR 0.05% //Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 188.88 POINTS OR 0.42%  /The Nikkei closed DOWN 20.89 POINTS OR 0.10%/ Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.22%

/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP  at 6.7677 AS TRUCE DECLARED FOR 3 MONTHS /Oil UP to 56.07 dollars per barrel for WTI and 66.31 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED RED//.

ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP // LAST AT 6.7677 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.7764: / TRADE TALKS NOW ON/MAJOR PROBLEMS AT HUAWEI /CFO ARRESTED   : /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING ABOVE LEVEL OF OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST THE DOLLAR /CHINA RETALIATES WITH TARIFFS/ TRUMP RESPONDS TO NEW TARIFFS AND IT NOW A FULL TRADE WAR COMMENCED

 

3 a NORTH KOREA/USA

 

 

 

 

i)North Korea//USA

 

3 b JAPAN AFFAIRS

Saturday

As Japan is set to taper, expect an avalanche of selling which will drive the 10 yr bond from zero to 0.20%

(courtesy zerohedge)

Is The “World’s Biggest Widowmaker” Trade Finally Dead? JGB Buyers Stage Revolt

Could the world’s most popular “widowmaker” trade – shorting Japanese government bonds – be finally died itself?

While over the past 20 years, ever since the BOJ cut rates to 0% for the first time back on February 12, 1999

… all too many investors have repeatedly shorted JGBs, expecting the collapse of Japan’s fiscal and monetary house of cards at any moment, only to be carted out feet first as Japan has has successfully prevented a blow up in its bond market for over two decades, entirely thanks to the BOJ which thanks to NIRP and QE, now owns 43% of all government debt, just shy of 1.1 quadrillion yen, an amount which is more than 100% of Japan’s GDP.

And yet, despite this amazing track record which saw anyone who fought the BOJ crumble and suffer massive losses for over 20 years, increasingly JGB traders are casting nervous glances at the exit door, especially after the Bank of Japan unveiled its first taper of 2019 on February 12, when it cut bond purchases in the key 10-to-25 maturity bucket from 200 to 180 billion; this was the first taper by the BOJ since mid-December, and it’s only set to accelerate as the BOJ runs out of eligible bonds to monetize.

And, as Bloomberg notes, the move is already impacting market behavior, with signs that traders are already bracing for further tapering by the central bank. Case in point: following the BOJ’s offer to buy bonds due in more than 25 years on Monday, the offer-to-cover ratio surge to 4.71 times, the highest since October 2014, showing traders’ surging “willingness”
to part with the super-long securities by selling them to the central bank. 

Monday’s was the first open market operation in the long-end of the JGB curve since the BOJ trimmed purchases of debt due in 10-25 years, on Feb 12.

The rise in offers for bonds due in more than 25 years was due to “caution that the BOJ may cut purchases in the segment” following last week’s reduction in the 10-25 year zone, says SBI Securities chief bond strategist Eiji Dohke.

Meanwhile, investors’ positioning for further reductions in long-end purchases – i.e., accelerating selling of duration – can be seen as an attempt to steepen the JGB curve, which on one hand would be consistent with the BOJ’s previous guidance about the negative impact of excessive flattening. On the other, if the selling accelerates from a trickle to an avalanche, the market will once again call the BOJ’s bluff and force it to ramp up purchases of long maturities lest the 10Y yield spike above 20bps, signalling to the market that after two decades, the BOJ has finally lost control.

Finally, what is even more surprising is just how quickly sentiment has flipped: it was just 10 days ago when appetite for long-term JGBs seemed insatiable, when an auction of 30-year debt drew the strongest demand since July on Feb. 7, two days after a blockbuster 10-year sale that lured the highest investor interest since 2005. And to think all it took was for the BOJ to fractionally taper purchases and the market freaked out.

One wonder just how, if ever, the BOJ will be able to “normalize” its own QE if just a gentle tapping on the breaks can send such a shockwave across the bond market (please don’t answer, that’s rhetorical).

end
Today: The government is trapped.  It has very little room left to purchase bonds as they already own 40% of the total.  However if they stop, then the yen skyrockets in value, killing off Japanese businesses. So today, they temporarily stated that they are ready to ease further which caused the yen to falter and yields to fall.
(zerohedge)

BOJ Unexpectedly Reaffirms Readiness To Ease Further, Buy More Stuff

Just hours after we asked if the world’s most famous “widowmaker” trade, shorting Japanese government bonds, is finally over, after bond traders remitted the most JGBs to the BOJ during Monday’s rinban (POMO) operation, pushing the 10-to-25 year Offer-to-Cover ratio to 4.71, the highest in over 4 years amid investor fears that the BOJ’s tapering of QE is accelerating…

… and could result in sharply higher bond yields, the BOJ scrambled to avoid an adverse reaction by the market, when overnight BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda joined the rest of his central bank peers in making a hard-dove turn, saying on Tuesday the central bank was ready to ramp up stimulus if sharp yen rises hurt the economy and derail the path toward achieving its 2 percent inflation target.

The yen promptly tumbled after Kuroda’s comments, which confirmed that the BOJ has now officially jointed the race to the currency bottom, launched by the Federal Reserve, which shocked everyone by turning full-blown dove last month, and dragging the rest of the world’s central banks with it.

“If currency moves are having an impact on the economy and prices, and if we consider it necessary to achieve our price target, we’ll consider easing policy,” Kuroda said, repeating that possible easing tools the BOJ could deploy included cutting short- and long-term interest rates, expanding asset buying or accelerating the pace of money printing.

That said, considering that the BOJ is rapidly running out of stuff to buy, as it already owns over 40% of the country’s bonds and about 80% of its equity ETFs, the BOJ chief said the central bank would “carefully consider the benefits and costs of any further policy easing”, suggesting that the hurdle for topping up stimulus would be high given how financial institutions’ profits have been hurt by years of near-zero interest rates.

“Whatever we do, however, we need to carefully balance the benefits and the costs of the step such as the impact on financial intermediation and market functioning.”

Kuroda was responding to a question by an opposition lawmaker on whether the BOJ had the necessary tools to boost stimulus to counter the pressure from a sharp yen rise. Offsetting Monday’s weakness which we discussed overnight, Japanese government bond prices turned higher and the yen slumped.

Like every other activist central bank, the BOJ faces a dilemma as years of heavy money printing has dried up market liquidity and hurt commercial banks’ profits, stoking concern over the rising risks of prolonged easing, with the risk of an out-of-control yield surge and inflation explosion threatening the economy should the BOJ lose control.

And yet, subdued inflation – due to the BOJ’s relentless monetization of the long-end – has left the BOJ well behind its U.S. and European counterparts in dialing back crisis-mode policies, leaving it with little ammunition to battle an abrupt yen spike that could derail an export-driven economic recovery.

Meanwhile, growing fears of a global slowdown (thanks China and Europe) have added to the BOJ’s headaches and shifted the market’s attention away from the likelihood of a future exit from easy-policy, especially as many major central banks have shifted their position over recent months toward an accommodative stance.

Confirming that the BOJ is effectively trapped in perpetuity, Kuroda also said the BOJ had no plans now to stop or review its purchases of ETF, despite growing criticism from market players that the central bank’s huge presence was distorting the market.  And while Kuroda conceded the BOJ is now impacting the equity amrket, he added the BOJ will scrutinize the most appropriate means to balance the pros and cons of its policy.

“We will continue our ETF buying while taking into account market moves and the impact on financial institutions, as well as economic and price developments,” Kuroda said.

In other words, nothing will change until one day the market revolts and forces the BOJ to act.

 
end

3 C CHINA

i) CHINA/USA/EUROPE

We are coming to crunch time as the uSA tries to stop the powerful entity Huawei from becoming a dominant player in the new 5G  Network plan. In order words Europe will have to make its mind up: are we going with the Chinese satellite system or the USA satellite system

(Joel Gehrke/Washington Examiner)

and special thanks to Robert H for sending this to us.

Europe faces choice between Beijing and Washington amid Huawei threat, Pompeo warns

WARSAW, Poland  European governments might have to choose between Beijing and Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned this week, as Chinese telecommunications companies pose an ever-greater threat to Western militaries in air and space, a threat other NATO countries acknowledge.

Pompeo put a particular focus on Huawei and other telecom giants with connections to Chinese espionage services as he traveled through Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland Monday and Tuesday to relay U.S. concern over Beijing’s encroachment in the region. Huawei, the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, is racing to pioneer 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that promises to be exponentially faster than its predecessor and could provide a point-of-entry into America’s most sensitive technologies. Europe is currently the biggest foreign market for Huawei, whose equipment President Trump might soon ban by executive order from U.S. networks.

“With respect to Chinese infrastructure delivered via Huawei, we’ve done here in Poland what we’ve done all across the world: We’ve made known the risks that are associated with that, risks to the private information of the citizens of the country, risk that comes from having that technology installed in network and systems,” Pompeo said in Warsaw in response to a question from the Washington Examiner. “Individual countries then will make their own choices.”

 

He immediately added, “We’ve also made clear that if they make a certain set of decisions that it will be more difficult for the United States Department of Defense to work alongside of them — that is, we’ll never put our equipment in a place which would present risk to our technology from having Chinese technology collocated alongside of it that presents a risk.”

Poland houses Huawei’s headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordics, and a Huawei employee was arrested for spying there last month. But China is increasing its investment all over the region, and the United States has taken note.

“The Slovaks just bought F16s,” a senior State Department official told reporters Tuesday. “We’re working with them on avoiding Huawei in certain areas of their economy.”

Pompeo touted the sale of the 14 modernized fighter jets to supplant aging Soviet-made warplanes as a move that will “open the door to expanded defense cooperation” with the country. But in the same breath he warned against cooperation with the Chinese company in a region where Huawei hotspots seem as common as Xfinity’s in the United States. NATO allies understood the concern even before Pompeo arrived in Central Europe ahead of the Warsaw summit on the Middle East that kicks off Wednesday.

“We have a choice between networks based on U.S. satellites or Chinese satellites,” a European official discussing Pompeo’s trip told the Washington Examiner. “Europe is going to have to make a choice because you can’t have both. … It just makes spying so much easier.”

Pompeo doesn’t have time to lose in beating the drum over Huawei, as space industry observers foresee “an inflection point” in 5G technology developing over the next two years. “At 2020, it is going to get more common globally,” ABI Research’s Emanuel Kolta told Space Newsin October. The pervasiveness of 5G technology — designed to network numerous existing devices, sometimes through a technique that “cuts out central control of a network entirely,” as MIT’s Technology Review described it — will make it difficult to guard against through half-measures.

A quick round of meetings didn’t get the job done, as one of Pompeo’s counterparts publicly chafed at the idea his government would have to choose between his partners in Beijing and Washington.

“We are NATO allies,” Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto maintained during a Monday press conference. “When it comes to cooperation with Russia or cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, that doesn’t endanger us being a reliable ally to the United States and to NATO.”

Still, Pompeo seemed optimistic that his arguments would eventually carry the day. “Our task is to make them aware of the concerns and risks and show them the data,” he told reporters in Bratislava. “And when they see those, I’m confident they’ll make good decisions for their own nation.”

end
My goodness, this is escalating fast: Chinese car sales to Chinese citizens and abroad plunge by the highest in 7 years:
(courtesy zerohedge)

China Car Sales Plunge Most In 7 Years Amid Global Auto Industry Meltdown

Car sales in China continued their relentless descent in January, falling 17.7%, as we recently expected would happen when discussing Europe’s tumbling January auto sales. This follows the country’s first full year slump (2018) in more than two decades and it puts further pressure on the state of the global automotive market.

The drop marked the eighth monthly retail sales decline in a row and was the biggest one-month drop in seven years.

Gu Yatao, a Beijing-based auto analyst with Roland Berger, confirmed to Bloomberg that the “downward pressure is still there. The government isn’t adopting stimulating policies to give the market a shot in the arm.”

The contraction in China comes at the same time that auto markets in Europe and North America continue to shrink as a result of car sharing services and slowing economies. As we have been reporting for months, the slowdown in China continues to be a result of the country’s slowing economy, coupled with the lagging trade war with the United States. Even discounts for the Chinese New Year, which traditionally can help spur sales, weren’t enough to keep consumers in showrooms early this year.

It’s a “historic slump” for China: the wholesale decline in January, to 2.02 million units, accelerated from December’s 15.8% slump. For 2018, the drop was 4.1%, marking the first decrease since the early 1990s. 

John Zeng, managing director of LMC Automotive Shanghai, told Bloomberg he expects the first half of 2019 will “continue to see downward pressure” as a result of a purchase tax cut from 2016 and 2017 that pulled vehicle sales forward. At the same time, manufacturers continue to watch their spending carefully and rein in sales forecasts. According to Bloomberg:

  • Geely Automobile Holdings targets sales of 1.51 million cars this year, up only 0.7%
  • Volkswagen is expecting further growth this year, but believes that the Chinese market will shrink overall in 1H 2019
  • Jaguar Land Rover was recently forced to take a $3.9 billion writedown this month as a result of the market slowdown
  • Daimler and BMW reduced forecasts last year due to the U.S.-China trade war
  • Hyundai said last month it’s moving forward with layoffs as it re-evaluates its long term plans for China

CAAM predicts that China’s car market will be “little changed in 2019”, but global cues have so far painted a picture of pessimism for the industry worldwide.

For instance, we just reported  that the latest EU/EFTA vehicle registration data showed that passenger car registrations dropped 4.6% year over year to start 2019. Additionally, sales declined in all of the largest markets in Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain.

Last year, emissions testing was the generic excuse used by most manufacturers to explain the sharp drop in EU auto sales. However, with poor data continuing into 2019, it’s becoming clear that the problem is likely to instead be the result of a broader global slowdown, with China continuing to lead the charge.

end

Here are the latest victims of Chinese IP theft:  General Electric, Boeing and T Mobile

(courtesy zerohedge)

GE, Boeing, T-Mobile Among Latest Victims Of Chinese IP Theft

As US and Chinese negotiators prepare to begin their seventh round of trade talks this week, more reports are being leaked to the media about China’s efforts to steal trade secrets from US companies via “Operation Cloudhopper”, the Ministry of State Security-backed infiltration campaign that used service providers in the US and Europe to infiltrate the systems of their clients.

According to a report in the New York Times that detailed how China and Iran have ramped up their hacking efforts since 2015, when the now-abandoned Iran deal was initially struck, and China promised the Obama administration that it would pull back on its cyberespionage efforts. After an 18-month lull, China’s 10-year-long commercially motivated campaign was revitalized in the midst of growing trade tensions between the US and China (tensions that predated Trump’s trade war).

China

Among the latest targets of China’s hacks, according to the NYT’s military and private sources, were GE Aviation, Boeing and T-Mobile.

A summary of an intelligence briefing read to The New York Times said that Boeing, General Electric Aviation and T-Mobile were among the recent targets of Chinese industrial-espionage efforts. The companies all declined to discuss the threats, and it is not clear if any of the hacks were successful.

Offering some background on China’s hacking strategy in recent years, sources described how China has managed to carry out more sophisticated attacks that have been increasingly difficult to detect.

But the 2015 agreement appears to have been unofficially canceled amid the continuing trade tension between the United States and China, the intelligence officials and private security researchers said. Chinese hacks have returned to earlier levels, although they are now stealthier and more sophisticated.

“Cyber is one of the ways adversaries can attack us and retaliate in effective and nasty ways that are well below the threshold of an armed attack or laws of war,” said Joel Brenner, a former leader of United States counterintelligence under the director of national intelligence.

Federal agencies and private companies are back to where they were five years ago: battling increasingly sophisticated, government-affiliated hackers from China and Iran – in addition to fighting constant efforts out of Russia – who hope to steal trade and military secrets and sow mayhem. And it appears the hackers substantially improved their skills during the lull.

[…]

Mr. Segal and other Chinese security experts said attacks that once would have been conducted by hackers in China’s People’s Liberation Army are now being run by China’s Ministry of State Security.

These hackers are better at covering their tracks. Rather than going at targets directly, they have used a side door of sorts by breaking into the networks of the targets’ suppliers. They have also avoided using malware commonly attributed to China, relying instead on encrypting traffic, erasing server logs and other obfuscation tactics.

[…]

“The fingerprint of Chinese operations today is much different,” said Priscilla Moriuchi, who once ran the National Security Agency’s East Asia and Pacific cyber threats division. Her duties there included determining whether Beijing was abiding by the 2015 agreement’s terms. “These groups care about attribution. They don’t want to get caught.”

One of Beijing’s primary motivations in carrying out these attacks has been to bolster its latest five-year economic plan to make China a leader in AI and other cutting edge technology.

But Chinese hackers have resumed carrying out commercially motivated attacks, security researchers and data-protection lawyers said. A priority for the hackers, researchers said, is supporting Beijing’s five-year economic plan, which is meant to make China a leader in artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.

“Some of the recent intelligence collection has been for military purposes or preparing for some future cyber conflict, but a lot of the recent theft is driven by the demands of the five-year plan and other technology strategies,” said Adam Segal, the director of the cyberspace program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “They always intended on coming back.”

This is only the latest in a string of leaks about China’s espionage efforts since 2015. But the constant stream of evidence being leaked to the press, all of which seems to corroborate Robert Lighthizer’s claims that China’s cyberespionage efforts have continued unabated since the trade war began, are happening at an interesting time. Which would seem to raise serious questions about the US’s ability to strike a sweeping trade compromise without President Trump looking like he has caved to the Chinese.

end

4.EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

 

UK

The labour party splits as 7 members resign over anti semitism and lack of support for a 2nd referendum. This will probably lead to a pro Brexit result

(courtesy zero hedge)

UK Labour Party Suffers Biggest Split In 38 Years Over Corbyn Anti-Semitisim, Brexit Bungle

In what is the biggest split in Labour since the “gang of four” senior figures left the party in 1981 to form the Social Democratic party (SDP), seven Labour MPs, including Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, have resigned from the party over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, saying they will sit as a new independent group.

In a press conference on Monday, the MPs – who also include Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey – said Corbyn’s Labour had radically departed from their values.

The main drivers behind the backbenchers decision to split seem to be:

1) the anti-semitism row within the Labour party and;

2) the lack of support for a second referendum (the awfully titled People’s Vote).

As The Guardian reports, Umunna, the former shadow cabinet minister, said the established parties “cannot be the change because they have become the problem”, and put party interests above the national interest.

He said it was “time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics” and created an alternative.

Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said it had been a “difficult, painful but necessary decision” for them all, before criticising Labour for becoming “sickeningly institutionally racist”.

The Jewish MP, who is heavily pregnant and has been subject to antisemitic abuse, said she had become “embarrassed and ashamed” to be in the Labour party because of its failure to tackle antisemitism in its ranks.

“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation. I look forward to a future serving with colleagues who respect each other,” she said.

Leslie, the MP for Nottingham East and a former shadow chancellor, said Labour had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left” and was no longer the party he and others had joined.

Gapes said he was “sickened that Labour is now a racist party” and he believed its leader was “on the wrong side on so many international issues” from Russia to Syria.

In response, Corbyn said he was “disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945”.

“Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few – redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change,” he added.

“The Conservative government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of universal credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all.”

Finally, as Mizuho’s Peter Chatwell concludes, if this group is to be called “The Independence Group” (contradicting the unionist agenda they surely wish to represent) then we think they are merely succeeding in:

  1. marginalising Remainers into a new entity (we assume some Tory Remainers will join in the future)
  2. leaving the Conservatives and Labour with clear pro-Brexit mandates

The creation of another political party then this will fragment UK politics further at this point, at a time when a mandate for some party to do something is what is needed –> greater tail risks.

This looks awfully like a bungled mess of the creation of a new party,which, we think is more likely to be GBP negative, gilt positive, by giving Brexit a less effective opposition.

We strongly doubt that these departures, if they happen, do lead the Labour party to back a second referendum (dropping their attempts to create a General Election). If the Labour party was to surprise us and change stance, then the kneejerk reaction should be GBP positive, gilt price negative.

end

Italy

Salvini has been gaining at the pools and an election is coming up in May. If you will recall Salvini stopped migrants from entering Italian shores and he is being accused of kidnapping. An on line poll is being conducted to see if Salvini’s immunity from prosecution is valid

(courtesy zerohedge)

Italy’s Next Political Crisis Depends On The Outcome Of An Online Vote

Today, Italy’s ruling 5-Star Movement will hold an online vote to decide whether or not to block a possible kidnapping trial against Matteo Salvini, the party’s coalition ally and leader of the conservative League party, as well as to lift his legal immunity. A negative vote would allow prosecutors to proceed with a case against Salvini and potentially lead to government collapse

The vote is being held on Monday from 0900 GMT to 1800 GMT, and its result will dictate how the movement’s senators will vote on Tuesday in a committee that could block the Sicilian probe.

However, unlike most other unscientific online polls, the outcome of this one could result in the latest (in a long series) of Italian government crises: according to Corriere della Sera, citing “concerned” government sources, a vote to allow legal proceedings against League’s Matteo Salvini on Diciotti case “will provoke a government crisis” with Ansa echoing the sentiment, noting that allowing the investigation and possible trial against Salvini to continue would put the government at risk of collapse.

As an Italian senator Salvini enjoys immunity from prosecution unless the Senate votes to lift it, which would require Five Star to vote to do so.

The informal referendum takes place after Salvini asked the Senate to reject the request for a trial, which has emerged as a problem for 5-Star, which built its support on a “squeaky clean judicial image” and has always attacked lawmakers who used parliamentary privilege to avoid trials.

“Who has always preached that politicians must defend themselves in trials and not from trials … can’t have doubts about whether to allow the Salvini probe to proceed,” wrote commentator Marco Travaglio in il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper, which is considered close to the 5-Star.

And, as Travaglio adds, the online vote shows the issue has become “a classical case of identity crisis” for the movement.

However, a grassroots inquiry will likely absolve Salvini: at the end of January, 83% of 5-Star voters said Salvini should not be tried, according to an SWG poll, which suggests the issue of parliamentary privilege is no longer of major concern to 5-Star supporters.

As we have discussed previously, and as Reuters noted overnight, tensions in the ruling coalition have been running high with the allies at odds over a long list of issues, including whether to forge ahead with a new Alpine rail tunnel between France and Italy.

Meanwhile, in hopes of de-escalating the feud between the 5-Star movement, whose popularity has slumped in recent months at the expense of the resurgent League, the blog post announcing the online vote clearly stated that the decision to block the migrants on board the Diciotti coast guard vessel was not Salvini’s alone, but was shared by 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio and others.

“The delay in the disembarkation of the Diciotti, in order to redistribute the migrants in various European countries, was made in order to protect the interests of the state?” the query reads. A “yes” will deny prosecutors authorization, while a “no” vote will allow them to continue, the blog says.

Some Five Star figures have criticised the unclear wording of the online poll, which is phrased in a way that they argue makes it unclear what members are voting on. Beppe Grillo, the politically incorrect comedian who co-founded the party and for years served as its public face but who now is not officially involved with its daily operations, joked that the question was phrased as a “Catch 22”.

Further complicating matters, the Italian press reported on Sunday that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Di Maio and the 5-Star transport minister may all be put under investigation alongside Salvini after Conte wrote a letter, which was then deposited in the Senate, saying the decision to block the migrants was taken collectively.

Addressing the potentially adverse outcome, speaking to supporters in Sardinia on Sunday, Salvini brushed off concern about the online ballot: “What I did, I did to defend the safety of citizens, and if necessary I’d do it again,” he said. On Monday, Salvini again denied any possible crisis over online vote, after la Repubblica reported in an interview with Salvini that the fractious coalition won’t fall the dispute on possible charges for refusing to let a migrant ship dock last summer in his role as interior minister.

* * *

The debate over whether Five Star should vote to lift Salvini’s immunity comes as the party’s popularity is slipping ahead of European elections in May, having been overtaken by Salvini’s anti-migrant League in national opinion polls. It has also exposed divisions between the party’s leadership, fronted by Luigi Di Maio, who shares the role of Italy’s deputy prime minister with Salvini, and rank-and-file members who are anxious that the radical soul of the movement remains intact according to The Financial Times.

Salvini has been campaigning in Sardinia ahead of regional elections there this week, where he said he expected to see a right-wing coalition including the League win power from the centre-left Democratic party. On Sunday he said he was “sleeping peacefully” ahead of the Five Star vote. “If they vote yes, they vote yes, if they vote no, they vote no.”

end

Italian Senate blocks the “kidnapping” investigation into Salvini

(courtesy zerohedge)

Italian Senate Blocks Kidnapping Investigation Into Salvini

Five Star Movement lawmakers overcame their reservations about impeding investigations into politicians and on Tuesday voted to block an investigation into Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini – the leader of M5S’s coalition partner – over allegations that he “kidnapped” 177 undocumented migrants last summer when he refused to let them disembark from a ship in a Sicilian port for five days.

Salvini

The Senate’s Immunity Committee would have needed to lift Salvini’s immunity for the investigation to proceed. Instead, it voted to back immunity for Salvini. The vote resolves what had become a serious source of tension between the two coalition partners, even prompting some of Salvini’s allies to publicly push their leader to call for fresh elections to try and oust M5S and take advantage of the League’s rising popularity.

The investigation into Salvini was initiated in August by a Sicilian prosecutor. Salvini has publicly mocked the probe, saying it would be “an honor” to go to prison for defending Italy’s borders.

“If he wants to interrogate me or even arrest me because I defend the borders and security of my country, I’m proud…Being investigated for defending the rights of Italians is a disgrace,” Salvini said at the time.

The Diciotti crisis, named in reference to the rescue vessel that carried the migrants, began on Aug.15 when 190 migrants fleeing Eritrea were rescued from an overcrowded boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa. Salvini refused to allow them to disembark at a Sicilian port. After allowing 43 unaccompanied minors and some in need of urgent medical care off the ship, Salvini and his ministry refused to allow the rest to disembark, purportedly violating EU rule stipulating that migrants detained for more than 48 hours should be released and allowed to apply for asylum.

Now that the dispute, which had blossomed into a serious threat to political stability in Italy, has been resolved, investors have one more reason to pile back into Italian after data released Tuesday showed money managers sold $68 billion in Italian debt last year amid Rome’s showdown with Brussels over its budget deficit, according to Bloomberg.

5.RUSSIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS

Iran/SYRIA/USA

Tom Luongo explains to us what is going on in the middle east and it is worth reading:

(courtesy Tom Luongo)

Warsaw And Munich: Whistling Past NATO’s Graveyard

Authored by Tom Luongo,

If the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw was the opening act, the annual Munich Security Conference was the main event. Both produced a lot of speeches, grandstanding and virtue-signaling, as well as a lot of shuffling of feet and looking at the ground.

The message from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia was clear, “We are still committed to the destruction of Syria as a functional state to end the growing influence of Iran.”

Europe, for the most part, doesn’t buy that argument anymore. Germany certainly doesn’t. France is only interested in how they can curry favor with the U.S. to wrest control of the EU from Germany. The U.K. is a hopeless has-been, living on Deep State inertia and money laundered through City of London.

The Poles just want to stick it to the Russians.

Everyone else has a bad case of, “been there, done that, ain’t doin’ it again.”

They know supporting the fiction that the War in Syria was a war against the evil President Bashar al-Assad is counter-productive.

The geopolitical landscape is changing quickly. And these countries, like Hungary, Italy, and the Czech Republic, know that the current policy trajectory of the Trump administration vis a vis Russia, Iran and China is a suicide pact for them.

So they show up when called, receive our ‘diplomats’ and then pretty much ignore everything they said. This is what happened, ultimately, in Munich.

Even the EU leadership has no illusions about the goals of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy on Syria. And that’s why they refused to shut Russia and Iran out of the Munich Security Conference despite the hyperventilating of Pompeo’s amateur-hour State Dept.

The Syria Hangover

These countries are struggling with the after-effects of eight years of war displacing millions who Angela Merkel invited into Europe for her own political purposes.

The resultant chaos now threatens every major political power center in Europe, which could culminate in a Euroskeptic win at the European Parliamentary elections in May.

Continuing on this road will only lead to Russia, Iran, Turkey and China forming a bloc with India to challenge the economic and political might of the West over the next two decades.

So it was no surprise to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glad-handing looking for support to beam back home for his re-election campaign.

It was also no surprise to see NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg grovel at the feet of the U.S. over the shared mission because he knows that’s where the gravy flows from.

But there was no statement of purpose coming out of Munich after two days of talks. Warsaw already set the stage for that. Vice-President Mike Pence fell completely flat as the substitute Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked sad and confused as to why no one applauded him for his cheap and empty rhetoric about how evil Iran is.

The Syria operation was put together by the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the expressed purpose of creating a failed state of ungoverned fiefdoms. Syria was to be carved up piecemeal with a great land grab for all major partners getting a piece.

Israel gets a buffer zone east of the Golan Heights, Turkey gets Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo. The Kurds get everything east of the Euphrates. And Europe gets pipelines from the Arabian peninsula.

Meanwhile Iran loses Syria and Lebanon, Russia gets pushed out of the European gas market (along with the putsch in Ukraine) and the center of the country is a hot mess of terrorism which can be exported all around the region and further directed against Russia and Iran.

It all looked so good on paper.

But, as I’ve described multiple times, it was an operation built on perception and the false premise that no one would stand up to it.

In came Russia in October 2015 and the rest, unfortunately for the neocons, is just a chase scene.

Sanctions Cut Both Ways

Because for Europe, once it became clear what the costs would be to continue this project, there was little to no incentive to do so. That’s why they sued for peace with Iran by negotiating the JCPOA.

For every MAGApede and Fox News neocon who excoriates Obama for giving Iran $150 billion dollars (of their own money back which we stole) I remind you that it was Obama in 2012 that signed the sanctions which froze that money in the first place.

The JCPOA was signed because in 2014 the Syria operation looked like it was on auto-pilot to success. Iran could have their money back because it wouldn’t matter. They would be vassals and the money wouldn’t buy them anything of substance.

It was Russia and China’s making the move into Syria that changed that calculus.

That’s why the only ones who keep pushing for this balkanization strategy are the ones who still stand to gain from it. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was clear in Munich that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was the man everyone wanted to talk to.

Everyone has cut bait. Even the Saudis are hedging their best cozying up to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. still needs to project power globally to support the dollar and its obscene fiscal debauchery. Israel is staring at a future in which its myriad enemies have won and the Saudis need to rule the Sunni Arab world by leading them in a war against Iran.

The Warsaw Summit was a triumph only insofar as the U.S. can still call its allies to attention and they’ll do so. But that’s about it. But it was clear at Munich that Europe isn’t buying what the U.S. is selling about its relationship anymore.

It’s an not only an abusive one with Trump applying maximal economic pressure but also a wholly unrealistic one. Foreign policy midgets like Pompeo and Pence were literally pleading with everyone to not undermine their latest plan to make the world safe for Israel and Trump’s moronic Energy Dominance plan.

Whistling in Munich

In the end, the whole Munich affair looked like a bunch of people gathering to whistle past the graveyard of the fraying post-WWII institutional order. Trump wants Europe to pay for NATO so we don’t but Europe doesn’t want NATO on Trump’s terms which put them in the cross-hairs of his power play with Russia and China over the INF treaty.

Putin has built a version of fortress Russia that is for all practical purposes impregnable, short-of an all-out nuclear conflict which no one except maybe the most ideologically possessed in D.C. and Tel Aviv wants.

The naysayers have had their day but the weapons unveiled by Putin at last March’s State of the Union address changed the board state in a way that requires different tactics. I said so last March and it identified a shift narrative for all of us as to what Putin’s long-game was.

These new weapons represent a state change in weapons technology but, at the same time, are cheap deterrents to further escalation.  They fit within Russia’s budget, again limited by demographic and, as I pointed out in a recent article, domestic realities

…[They highlight] we’re not winning in technology.  So, all we can do is employ meat-grinder policies and force Russia and her allies to spend money countering the money we spend.

It’s a game that hollows everyone out.  And it’s easier for Putin to sell the defensive nature of his position to Russians than it is to sell our backing Al-Qaeda and ISIS to defeat them.  Because that reality has broken through the barrier to it.

And that’s why Europe is so unwilling to go along with Trump on the INF Treaty, Iranian regime change and even his Arab NATO plan. They are the ones being asked to be on the front lines, pay for and fight a war against their best interests.

And that’s why no one was willing to join the latest ‘coalition of the willing’ in Munich to perpetuate the conflict in Asia. They’ll go along with Trump’s plans in Venezuela, it doesn’t cost them anything strategically.

But even Merkel knows that in light of the events of the past three and a half years, the right move for Europe is to cut a deal with Russia and Iran while keeping their head down as the U.S. loses its mind.

*  *  *

To support more work like this and get access to exclusive commentary, stock picks and analysis tailored to your needs join my more than 235 Patrons on Patreon and see if I have what it takes to help you navigate a world going slowly mad. 

*  *  *

end

6. GLOBAL ISSUES

This should rock the diamond market: made in China diamonds which are indistinguishable from the real ones.

(courtesy zerohedge)

‘Made-In-China’ Diamonds Poised To Rock Global Market

A diamond in the rough can fetch over $2,000 per carat. These precious stones are mined deep within the Earth where they were forged in extreme pressure and heat over thousands of years. However, companies in mainland China have now mastered advanced technology to manufacture them en masse in several weeks or even in days, with products almost indistinguishable from natural ones, reported Xinhua News Agency.

China, a significant consumer of mined diamonds, has a decent chance of becoming a large supplier of synthetic gems and could reshape the entire global diamond industry, analysts warn.

By Chinese industry estimates, the country produces about 10 billion carats annually, but most are used in industrial applications, such as aeronautics, oil rigs, and electronic chips.

As competition swells and technology to manufacture synthetic gems matures, Chinese companies on the mainland have shifted from using diamonds in industrial applications to fine jewelry, a move that could upset Anglo American, De Beers Sa, Alrosa, and Rio Tinto.

Liu Yongqi, the general manager of Sino-Crystal, told Xinhua the company manufactures between 2 million and 3 million carats per year, with more than half of the carrots used for expensive jewelry.

“We began our transformation in 2014 to expand to gem-grade diamonds,” said Liu.

According to Paul Zimnisky, a diamond expert in New York, “It is important to understand that even if synthetic diamond production is initially lower quality, the diamonds can be ‘enhanced’ with processes that turn lower quality goods into higher-quality.”

He further explained that if a fraction of Chinese synthetic gems is upgraded to jewelry-quality diamonds, it will unleash a massive deflationary wave that could collapse diamond prices.

“China, and by extension Asia, is the main producer of synthetic diamonds,” Margaux Donckier, spokeswoman for Antwerp World Diamond Center, told Xinhua. “Synthetic goods only represent about 3-5% of the [consumer] market, but the share is growing rapidly.”

In the last several years, an ample supply of synthetic diamonds have flooded the global market, Chinese manufacturers said, mainly originating from De Beers, one of the largest players in the diamond space who popularized the saying, “a diamond is forever.”

Reversing its previous position on lab-made gems, De Beers did an about-face that shocked the diamond industry in 2018 by selling synthetic diamonds through its Lightbox Jewelry brand.

“Since De Beers embraced man-made diamonds, the market has been developing rapidly,” said Liu, citing expanding sales in Japan.

Synthetic diamond’s growth prospects are their increasing quality at declining cost. It is almost impossible to tell a fake diamond from a mined one with the naked eye.

Experts with high-tech computers can distinguish the two, but that distinction is so irrelevant to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the US, that the previously specified “natural” origin within the FTC’s definition of a diamond was removed last year.

In its handbook for Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, the FTC ruled “based on changes in the market, the final Guides eliminate the word ‘natural’ from the definition of diamond…because lab-created products that have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds are also diamonds.”

Regulations in China and many other countries require that synthetic gems and natural diamonds be clearly labeled so that consumers can understand the difference.

Man-made diamond jewelry is classified as “fashion jewelry” while natural diamonds are called “fine jewelry,” Zimnisky said.

While synthetic diamonds represent 3-5 % of the consumer market, the share is growing at an exponential rate, expected to grow 22% annually from $1.9 billion to $5.2 billion by 2023, Zimnisky projected.  The analyst added that Chinese companies could soon compete with De Beers.

Yonden Lhatoo, the chief news editor at the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, wrote in a recent column: “Anyone with a basic education should know by now that the ridiculous tradition of men having to buy diamond engagement rings for women before marriage was wholly concocted.”

“Diamonds are such a waste of money,” he wrote: “If you must buy a diamond, it makes much more sense to go for a lab-manufactured one.”

In a world where global wealth inequality is at extremes, made-in-China diamonds could be the best news American millennials have heard in a while, considering they are wrapped up in insurmountable debts with borrowing costs moving higher, have delayed marriage, i.e, they cannot afford a real diamond — until now.

end

A very dangerous situation for global trade if Trump launches car tariffs.  Canada and Mexico will be exempt from this as they will have the new NAFTA proclaimed. Germany will be a big loser if the EU and the uSA can not get together with their trade deal.  Japan will lose almost 1/2 of their total exports if tariffs are imposed on Japanese goods.

(courtesy zerohedge)

“Very Dangerous Cars”: Trump To Launch Car Tariffs?

Authored by Koen Verbruggen of RaboBank

Summary

  • The Commerce Department finished the report into whether automotive imports are a threat to the US national security
  • Although the conclusion of the report has not been released yet, it is likely that Trump now has 90 days to decide on imposing tariffs
  • We expect that Trump will wait with imposing tariffs and will use it as leverage in coming trade negotiations.
  • The most important car exporters to the US are likely to receive exemptions based on progress of ongoing trade talks or earlier agreements about trade (USMCA)
  • The economic impact from tariffs would be substantial for countries dependent on US car imports, such as Germany, Japan, Mexico and Canada

Very dangerous cars

Trump to proceed with car tariffs?

The Commerce Department concluded their investigation whether automotive imports are a threat to the US national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. The Commerce Department did not release any details on the findings. The report could allow President Trump to restrict imports that threaten to “impair the national security”. He now has 90 days to decide about imposing tariffs, making his decision to be due by 18 May. We expect Trump to impose tariffs on car imports, but several countries will be given an exemption. Trump is likely to take some time and not impose the tariffs immediately. After the release of a similar report on aluminium and steel tariffs last year, which was made publicly available a month after completion, he took one additional month to announce the import tariffs on aluminium and steel.

The most important trading partners of the US are Mexico, Canada, Japan and the EU. Mexico, Canada and the United States have agreed on a new trade deal (USMCA) and should receive temporary exemptions, until USMCA is ratified and then avoid them altogether. Japan and the EU are looking to start trade talks and the possible exemption is likely to be conditional on the progress in these negotiations. The 232-report should therefore mainly be seen as a possibility to give the US more leverage during these talks.

Trade relationships: The global car industry

As we have noted before, the trade relationships regarding the automotive industry between the US and the rest of the world are highly intertwined. Depending on the precise category the US is going to target the value of car imports will be around USD 250bn. Figure 1 shows that the US imports cars mainly from the Mexico, Canada, the EU and Japan. The share of car imports from China is relatively small. Within the EU the most dependent country on US imports is clearly Germany.

By imposing tariffs on automotive imports Trump aims to protect the domestic automotive sector, boosting their domestic market share and creating more jobs. This line of reasoning misses two important points. The first one is that the US car industry is highly reliant on intermediate inputs, tariffs would raise the cost of these parts making the domestically produced cars more expensive and hence lowering demand both in the US and from abroad. The second one is that the tariffs are likely to be met with retaliation, lowering the demand for US cars abroad even more. Taken together we think the effect on the US economy will be ambiguous at best and likely negative in the long run.

If Trump decides to move ahead, it is expected that the tariffs will be in the range of 20-25%. This would indicate a 22.5 percent tariff increase for cars and could lead to a one-third reduction in car exports to the US from the rest of the World. For the EU this would mean a reduction in exports of USD 17 bn. Calculations by the IFO institute indicate that in the long-run German car exports to the US could even fall by almost 50%. The car exports from Japan to the US are worth almost USD 50bn, which is more than one-third of total exports to the US. A US import tariff on this category could therefore seriously hit the Japanese economy, reducing the estimated exports by around USD 16.2 bn. The total impact is likely to be larger given the integrated supply chains and interconnectedness between the car sector and other sectors in the economy.

Retaliation

The EU has already communicated to be prepared to target USD 22.7bn of US exports with import tariffs if Trump decides to impose tariffs on automotive imports. Since we expect that the US will give an exemption to the EU, it is likely that the retaliation will not take place in coming months. A further escalation of the trade war between the US and the EU will remain conditional on the progress of the coming trade talks. The same will hold for the trade tensions between Japan and the US. It still seems likely that the US and Japan will reach something like a deal later this year, where the expectation is that Japan will meet US demands in the field of agriculture and the automotive sector.

Conclusion

Although we do not expect that Trump will impose the tariffs immediately, they will increase uncertainty and could make firms hesitant to make investment decisions. This will be an additional downside risk for the already slowing Eurozone economy. Especially Germany, which saw its economy slowing down significantly in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2018, is vulnerable to tariffs imposed on cars. It is fair to say that the tariffs come at an ill-timed moment for the Eurozone, which already has enough issues challenging the economy.

end
Canada
Big scandal in Canada as Trudeau’s government is in turmoil.  Trudeau is embroiled in controversy in that he supposedly told the Attorney General to back off in a criminal bribery case.  Now Trudeau’s top aide resigns.
(courtesy zerohedge)

Justin Trudeau’s Government In Turmoil After Top Aide Resigns Over Corruption Allegations

When he swept into office back in 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised supporters of a Liberal Party reinvigorated by a decade of conservative rule that he would bring about “real change” – both in Ottawa, and for a Liberal Party marred by allegations of corruption.

So far, he has largely failed at both, cozying up to the country’s energy industry while masking his maintenance of the pro-business status quo with legalized marijuana and a “progressive” agenda that has included banning misgendering and hiring the first cabinet in Canada’s history with an equal number of men and women.

Yet as Canada’s leader braces for what promises to be a bruising reelection campaign ahead of a vote in October, his office has been marred by a blossoming scandal surrounding reports that it pressured the former attorney general into dropping years-old corruption charges against Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian construction company with close ties to Trudeau’s party.

Justin Trudeau

In a sign that this scandal won’t easily disappear, no matter how many times Trudeau stands in front of a gaggle of reporters and breezily denies the allegations, one of his closest aids resigned on Monday over allegations that he or his staff pressured the former AG, who was abruptly demoted last month.

The aide, Principal Secretary Gerald Butts, denied the allegations, and said he was resigning to avoid distracting Trudeau from the hard work ahead. It’s unclear whether he will have any role on the Trudeau campaign. He is considered the second most influential official in Trudeau’s government after Chief of Staff Katie Telford.

Principal Secretary Gerald Butts issued a statement Monday, during a long weekend in much of Canada, announcing his resignation in order to prevent the issue from distracting “from the vital work the Prime Minister and his office is doing for all Canadians.”

A report this month by the Globe and Mail newspaper raised allegations the prime minister’s office pressured Trudeau’s former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to settle fraud and corruption charges against construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. The controversy escalated last week after Wilson-Raybould, who had been moved into a new ministry recently, quit cabinet.

In his statement, Butts said he “categorically” denied the allegation that he or any of his staff pressured her.

“My reputation is my responsibility and that is for me to defend,” Butts said in the statement. “It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away.”

In his statement to the Globe and Mail, Butts said he and Trudeau’s office “honored the role” of the attorney general.

“I categorically deny the accusation that I or anyone else in this office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould,” Mr. Butts said in a statement on Monday. “We honoured the unique role of the Attorney General. At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians.”

A Globe and Mail story on Feb. 7 said Ms. Wilson-Raybould came under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to instruct prosecutors to offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution deal when she was justice minister and attorney-general.

Trudeau also tweeted the full statement:

Justin Trudeau

@JustinTrudeau

Gerald Butts served this government – and our country – with integrity, sage advice and devotion. I want to thank him for his service and continued friendship. Please read his statement today:

He also said his decision to resign shouldn’t detract from Trudeau’s work. Trudeau has said that he spoke with the former AG, Jody Wilson-Raybould, in September about the SNC-Lavalin Group scandal, but claims he told her at the time that it was “her decision to make.”

But some of the government’s maneuvering that – incidentally or not – helped clear the way for the charges to be dropped would suggest that Trudeau may have been actively pushing for such a resolution. For example, Trudeau’s government successfully changed a law to allow for a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin. And many observers were surprised when Wilson-Raybould was demoted during a seemingly arbitrary reshuffle. She has since resigned and hired attorneys to advise her about what she can and cannot say about the affair.

Trudeau acknowledged last week that his government had discussed the issue of a resolution to the charges in an effort to avoid job losses at the company, which employs about 9,000 people in Canada.

But the timing of the firing is difficult to ignore. And as the scandal widens, many are beginning to wonder if Trudeau will even make it to October.

(((H.Kiliaan)))@hkiliaan

It’s not too late for Trudeau to resign, with a yet a little dignity. Soon that window may close too.

end

7  OIL ISSUES

Venezuela exports continue to contract as now Russia’s Lukoil halts oil swaps after USA sanctions were imposed

(courtesy OilPrice.com)

Russia’s Lukoil Halts Oil Swaps In Venezuela After U.S. Sanctions

Submitted by OilPrice.com

Litasco, the international trading arm of Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil, stopped its oil swaps deals with Venezuela immediately after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and state oil firm PDVSA, Lukoil’s chief executive Vagit Alekperov said at an investment forum in Russia.

Russia, which stands by Nicolas Maduro in the ongoing Venezuelan political crisis, has vowed to defend its interests in Venezuela—including oil interests—within the international law using “all mechanisms available to us.”

Because of Moscow’s support for Maduro, the international community and market analysts are closely watching the relationship of Russian oil companies with Venezuela.

“Litasco does not work with Venezuela. Before the restrictions were imposed, Litasco had operations to deliver oil products and to sell oil. There were swap operations. Today there are none, since the sanctions were imposed,” Lukoil’s Alekperov said at the Russian Investment Forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Another Russian oil producer, Gazprom Neft, however, does not see major risks for its oil business in Venezuela, the company’s chief executive officer Alexander Dyukov said at the same event.

Gazprom Neft has not supplied and does not supply oil products to Venezuela needed to dilute the thick heavy Venezuelan oil, Dyukov said, noting that the Latin American country hadn’t approached Gazprom Neft for possible supply of oil products for diluents.

Under the new wide-ranging U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha which it has typically used to dilute its heavy crude grades. Analysts expect that a shortage of diluents could accelerate beginning this month the already steadily declining Venezuelan oil production and exports.

Venezuela’s crude oil production plunged by another 59,000 bpd from December 2018 to stand at just 1.106 million bpd in January 2019, OPEC’s secondary sources figures showed in the cartel’s closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) this week.

end
As outlined above, Gazprombank freezes accounts of PDVSA as the noose is tighening on Maduro
(courtesy Voronova/Reuters)

Russia’s Gazprombank freezes accounts of Venezuela’s PDVSA: source

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under U.S. sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters on Sunday.

 

While many foreign firms have been cutting their exposure to PDVSA since the sanctions were imposed, the fact that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state is following suit is significant because the Kremlin has been among Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest supporters.

“PDVSA’s accounts are currently frozen. As you’ll understand, operations cannot be carried out,” the source said. Gazprombank did not reply to a Reuters request for a comment.

PDVSA brandished the story as “fake news” on its Twitter account in capital red letters, but did not reply to a request for comment.

Reuters reported this month that PDVSA was telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in its Gazprombank accounts, according to sources and an internal document, in a move to try to sideline fresh U.S. sanctions on PDVSA.

Washington says the sanctions, imposed on Jan. 28, are aimed at blocking Maduro’s access to the country’s oil revenue after opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president and received widespread Western support.

Gazprombank is Russia’s third biggest lender by assets and includes among its shareholders Russian state gas company Gazprom.

The bank has held PDVSA accounts for several years. In 2013, PDVSA said it signed a deal with Gazprombank for $1 billion in financing for the Petrozamora company. The source said that Petrozamora accounts were frozen, too.

Russian officials have said they stand by Maduro and have condemned opposition actions as a U.S.-inspired ploy to usurp power in Caracas.

But Russian firms find themselves in a quandary, caught between a desire to endorse the Kremlin line and back Maduro, and the fear that by doing so they could expose themselves to secondary U.S. sanctions which would harm their businesses.

Reporting by Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Christian Lowe, Mark Potter and Lisa Shumaker

end

8. EMERGING MARKETS

Venezuela/USA

Maduro continues to defy humanitarian aid into Venezuela .  Maduro expels a European delegation.  Guaido gives Maduro one month to accept humanitarian aid or else

(courtesy zerohedge)

Maduro Expels European Delegation As Showdown Over Humanitarian Aid Intensifies

In his latest act of defiance against the Western powers who are seeking to oust him from power, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday expelled a team of five visiting European lawmakers, according to AFP.

One member of the delegation, Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who was in charge of the delegation, took to twitter to warn that “our passports have been seized” and that “they have not informed us of the reason for the expulsion.” The group was invited to Venezuelan by opposition leader Juan Guaido, and had professed to be on a fact-finding mission to discern the true nature of the circumstances on the ground.

VENZ

Pons recounted the saga of traveling to Venezuela, having the delegations’ passports seized and then being expelled from the country, in a lengthy twitter thread.

He claimed that the only explanation for their rough treatment was that Maduro “doesn’t want us here.”

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

Hoy salgo hacia invitado por la Asamblea, con la intención de mantener una reunión de trabajo con @jguaido y ayudar en lo que podamos desde la Unión Europea a esta patria hermana que tantísimo está sufriendo. Mírenme para que pueda cumplir esta misión parlamentaria.

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

Today I leave in a @EPPGroup mission to invited by National Assembly. We will meet with @jguaido and will work on how EU can help this brotherly country that is suffering so much. Look at me so we can fulfill our parliamentary mission.

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

Altogether with me are @GabrielMatoA @Esther_De_Lange @PauloRangel_pt and Ignacio and Juan Salafranca. Our aim is not no provoke but to peacefully meet with can tell us the situation on in the ground. And yes ask for the release of all political prisoners.

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

We’re aware we may not be very welcome from those who doesn’t want Europe seeing what’s going on in . That’s why I’ll be tweeting how we are and if we’re allowed to work. Thank u and see u tonight!

Just landed in Venezuela.During our stopover in Santo Domingo, both EU & Spain ambassadors have informed us we will be either retained or expelled. We’re MEPs with an official invitation from National Assembly.

1

 

215 people are talking about this

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

If expulsion happens, it should be the final proof that options are over, and the EU shall withdraw from the Contact Group. Spain too

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

Be aware!Our passports have been taken and we’re being expelled from Venezuela. Bad manners and the only explanation is Maduro doesn’t want us here.

González Pons

@gonzalezpons

We are first international delegation invited by president @jguaido.We are being kicked out today.Tomorrow we will come back to a free Venezuela

As Maduro moves to block humanitarian aid shipments organized by the US, Guaido has been gaining the support of more members of the international community. Currently, roughly 50 countries recognize him as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela, including some 30 countries in Europe. Pons was expelled along with fellow Spanish MEPs Jose Ignacio Salafranca and Gabriel Mato Adrover, as well as Esther de Lange of the Netherlands and Paulo Rangel of Portugal. All are members of the conservative European People’s Party (PPE).

In response to the expulsions, Guaido blasted Maduro as “isolated and increasingly irrational” in a tweet.

Embedded video

Meanwhile, as piles of humanitarian aid – including food, hygiene kits and nutritional supplements – have been stockpiled across the border in Cucuta, Colombia, Guaido has set a deadline of Saturday – one month to the day since he declared himself the legitimate ruler of Venezuela – as a deadline for a showdown over the aid with Maduro.

 

end

Why the whole world is interested in Venezuela.  The answer is its oil and the potential for huge oil deposits.

(courtesy William Engdahl)

What’s Not Being Said About the Venezuela Oil War

By F. William Engdahl

17 February 2019

So far much of the discussion over what is driving the bizarre Trump Administration intervention into Venezuela centers around the comments of National Security Adviser John Bolton to claim it’s about oil. In a previous analysis we looked at the prospects of the huge Chavez Basin, formerly the Orinoco Basin, said to hold the world’s largest reserves of oil by some definitions. Now it’s becoming clearer that this de facto war is about far more than control of the heavy oil of the Chavez Basin in Venezuela. .

First it’s important to look at which oil companies were already staking various claims on the region’s oil prospects. Within Venezuela, Chinese oil companies led by China National Petroleum Corporation, and the Chinese government have been playing a major role since the Chavez era. In fact the role has become so great Venezuela’s government owes China some $61 billion. Because of the financial problems of the Maduro government, China has been taking debt repayment in form of oil. Since 2010 the Russian state oil company, Rosneft has been involved in joint projects with the Venezuela state PDVSA, mainly in the Orinoco/Chavez Belt. Some years ago Rosneft extended some $6 billion in loans to Venezuela to be also repaid in oil. A recent statement from Rosneft says that $2.3 billion is due by end of this year. Rosneft has participation in five oil projects and 100 percent in a gas project. In addition to CNPC and Rosneft, France’s Total SA, Norway’s Equinor, and US Chevron all hold minority stakes in Venezuela projects, with most vowing to stay despite the political crisis. That raises the question what they know beyond the well-documented heavy oil of Venezuela.

The real prize?

The real prize that these powerful international oil giants are eyeing likely lies well to the east of the Orinoco heavy oil fields where they now operate. The real prize is the ultimate control over one of the best-kept secrets in the oil industry, the huge oil reserves of a disputed area straddling Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. The region is called Guayana Esequiba. Some geologists believe the Esequiba region and its offshore could contain the world’s largest reserves of oil, oil of far better quality that the heavy Orinoco crude of Venezuela. The problem is that owing to the decades-long dispute between Venezuela and Guyana the true extent of that oil is not yet known.

http://www.williamengdahl.com/englishNEO17Feb2019.php

Your early morning currency/gold and silver pricing/Asian and European bourse movements/ and interest rate settings TUESDAY morning 7:00 AM….

Euro/USA 1.1283 DOWN .0029 REACTING TO MERKEL’S FAILED COALITION/ REACTING TO +GERMAN ELECTION WHERE ALT RIGHT PARTY ENTERS THE BUNDESTAG/ huge Deutsche bank problems + USA election:///ITALIAN CHAOS /AND NOW ECB TAPERING BOND PURCHASES/JAPAN TAPERING BOND PURCHASES /USA RISING INTEREST RATES /FLOODING/EUROPE BOURSES RED 

 

 

 

 

 

USA/JAPAN YEN 110.76  UP .169 (Abe’s new negative interest rate (NIRP), a total DISASTER/NOW TARGETS INTEREST RATE AT .11% AS IT WILL BUY UNLIMITED BONDS TO GETS TO THAT LEVEL…

GBP/USA 1.2914    DOWN   0.0009  (Brexit March 29/ 2017/ARTICLE 50 SIGNED/BREXIT FEES WILL BE CAPPED

USA/CAN 1.3255 UP .0019 CANADA WORRIED ABOUT TRADE WITH THE USA WITH TRUMP ELECTION/ITALIAN EXIT AND GREXIT FROM EU/(TRUMP INITIATES LUMBER TARIFFS ON CANADA/CANADA HAS A HUGE HOUSEHOLD DEBT/GDP PROBLEM)

Early THIS TUESDAY morning in Europe, the Euro FELL by 26 basis points, trading now ABOVE the important 1.08 level FALLING to 1.1269/ Last night Shanghai composite closed UP 1.29 POINTS OR 0.05%/

 

 

 

//Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 113.88  POINTS OR 0.42% 

 

/AUSTRALIA CLOSED UP .22%  /EUROPEAN BOURSES RED

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NIKKEI: this TUESDAY morning CLOSED UP 20.89  POINTS OR 0.10% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trading from Europe and Asia

1/EUROPE OPENED RED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/ CHINESE BOURSES / :Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 118.88 POINTS OR 0.42%

 

 

 

/SHANGHAI CLOSED UP 1.29 POINTS OR 0.05% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia BOURSE CLOSED UP 22%

 

Nikkei (Japan) CLOSED UP 20.89POINTS OR 0.10%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INDIA’S SENSEX  IN THE RED

Gold very early morning trading: 1329.65

silver:$15.83

Early FRIDAY morning USA 10 year bond yield: 2.66% !!! DOWN 0 IN POINTS from FRIDAY’S night in basis points and it is trading WELL ABOVE resistance at 2.27-2.32%. (POLICY FED ERROR)/

 

The 30 yr bond yield 3.00 UP 1  IN BASIS POINTS from FRIDAY night. (POLICY FED ERROR)/

USA dollar index early TUESDAY morning: 97.05 UP 15 CENT(S) from  FRIDAY’s close.

This ends early morning numbers TUESDAY MORNING

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And now your closing TUESDAY NUMBERS \12: 00 PM

 

Portuguese 10 year bond yield: 1.51% DOWN 5    in basis point(s) yield from FRIDAY/

JAPANESE BOND YIELD: -.03%  DOWN 1   BASIS POINTS from FRIDAY/JAPAN losing control of its yield curve/

 

 

SPANISH 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.21% DOWN 4   IN basis point yield from FRIDAY

ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: 2.78 DOWN 2    POINTS in basis point yield from FRIDAY/

 

 

the Italian 10 yr bond yield is trading 157 points HIGHER than Spain.

GERMAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: RISES UP TO +.11%   IN BASIS POINTS ON THE DAY//

THE IMPORTANT SPREAD BETWEEN ITALIAN 10 YR BOND AND GERMAN 10 YEAR BOND IS 2.68% AND NOW ABOVE THE  THE 3.00% LEVEL WHICH WILL IMPLODE THE ENTIRE ITALIAN BANKING SYSTEM. AT 4% SPREAD THERE WILL BE A MASSIVE BANK RUN…

 

END

IMPORTANT CURRENCY CLOSES FOR TUESDAY

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

Euro/USA 1.1301 UP   .0019 or 19 basis points

 

 

USA/Japan: 110.65 DOWN  0.0530 OR YEN DOWN 5 basis points/

Great Britain/USA 1.3033 UP.01105( POUND UP 110  BASIS POINTS)

Canadian dollar DOWN 17 basis points to 1.3253

 

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The USA/Yuan,CNY closed HOLIDAY AT 6.7587    0N SHORE

 

THE USA/YUAN OFFSHORE:  6.7632(  YUAN UP)

TURKISH LIRA:  5.2893

the 10 yr Japanese bond yield closed at -.03%

 

 

 

Your closing 10 yr USA bond yield DOWN 3 IN basis points from FRIDAY at 2.64 % //trading well ABOVE the resistance level of 2.27-2.32%) very problematic USA 30 yr bond yield: 2.98 DOWN 2  in basis points on the day /

THE RISE IN BOTH THE 10 YR AND THE 30 YR ARE VERY PROBLEMATIC FOR VALUATIONS

Your closing USA dollar index, 96.61 DOWN 29 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 TUESDAY: 12:00 PM 

London: CLOSED DOWN  39.37 OR 0.55%

German Dax : UP 10,01 POINTS OR .09%

Paris Cac CLOSED DOWN 8.02 POINTS OR  0.16%

Spain IBEX CLOSED DOWN 19.10 POINTS OR  0.21%

Italian MIB: CLOSED DOWN 101.64 POINTS OR 0.50%

 

 

 

 

WTI Oil price; 55.82 1:00 pm;

Brent Oil: 66.11 12:00 EST

USA /RUSSIAN /   ROUBLE CROSS:    65.86  THE CROSS LOWER BY 0.39 ROUBLES/DOLLAR (ROUBLE HIGHER BY 39 BASIS PTS)

 

TODAY THE GERMAN YIELD RISES UP TO +.11 FOR THE 10 YR BOND 1.00 PM EST EST

END

 

This ends the stock indices, oil price, currency crosses and interest rate closes for today 4:30 PM

Closing Price for Oil, 4:00 pm/and 10 year USA interest rate:

WTI CRUDE OIL PRICE 4:30 PM :  56.09

 

 

BRENT :  66.47

USA 10 YR BOND YIELD: … 2.66..

 

 

 

USA 30 YR BOND YIELD: 2.98

 

 

 

EURO/USA DOLLAR CROSS:  1.1342 ( UP 31    BASIS POINTS)

USA/JAPANESE YEN:110.60 UP .0080 (YEN DOWN 8   BASIS POINTS/..

 

.

 

USA DOLLAR INDEX: 96.50 DOWN 40 cent(s)/

The British pound at 4 pm: Great Britain Pound/USA:1.3066  UP 144 POINTS FROM FRIDAY

the Turkish lira close: 5.2843

the Russian rouble 65.77   UP .48 Roubles against the uSA dollar.( UP 48 BASIS POINTS)

 

Canadian dollar:  1.3210 UP 36 BASIS pts

USA/CHINESE YUAN (CNY) :  6.7582  (ONSHORE)/CLOSED FOR THE WEEK

USA/CHINESE YUAN(CNH): 6.7450  (OFFSHORE)

German 10 yr bond yield at 5 pm: ,0.11%

 

The Dow closed UP 8.88 POINTS OR 0.03%

 

NASDAQ closed UP 14.36 POINTS OR 0.19%

 


VOLATILITY INDEX:  14.73 CLOSED down .14 

 

LIBOR 3 MONTH DURATION: 2.643%  

 

 

FROM 2.693

 

 

 

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

TRADING IN GRAPH FORM FOR THE DAY/WEEKLY SUMMARY/FOLLOWED BY TODAY

Mester, “Magic” Lift S&P To Overbought As “Puzzling” Gold Surge Accelerates

It started out as yet another disappointing day, with Asian markets going nowhere and Europe in the doldrums, dragged lower by the Dax and European auto and bank stocks following poor HSBC earnings and fears about US auto tariffs on European car exports. However, the mood quickly reversed – in very thin volume with the S&P trading about 20% below its 30DMA – after Walmart’s stellar which pushed the stock to its 5th best day in the past 2 years …

… boosted consumer shares, even as Treasuries once again refused to confirm the stock bullishness, sending 10% yields as low as 2.635%, led by the belly of the curve, as the bond market – unlike stocks – remains concerned that the trade truce will end March 1 without a deal, resulting in fresh tariffs.

Stocks got a second, and then a third wind, after first Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester echoed what Lael Brainard said recently, when the former hawk urged an end to the Fed’s balance sheet unwind later this year, and then Trump spoke to reported, saying March 1 is not a magical date for the China trade deal, giving traders fresh hopes that trade talks with China could be extended and tariffs won’t automatically “spring” on March 1.

While today’s rally was relatively muted, it was sufficient to send the market into overbought territory, with the RSI rising above 70 for the first time since August, making further gains from here that much more questionable, especially if investors continue to sell stocks and equity ETFs as they have for the past 8 weeks.

Earlier in the day, China’s currency strengthened against the greenback after a Bloomberg report that the U.S. is pressing for a stable Chinese currency as part of negotiations, which in turn pushed the Aussie dollar to session highs as well.

And while Trump’s penchant to ignite momentum and trigger algo buying is well-known with the occasional trade-related keyword, one surprise today was gold’s spike with the precious metal surging above $1,340, the highest price since last April.

As we first discussed, and as Bloomberg later noted, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why gold is gaining today. There’s no new meltdown in international politics to drive haven flows, inflation is stable and the dollar, while weaker, isn’t moving all that much. Perhaps it really just comes down to the fact that the dollar is weaker. After all, copper is higher and oil is advancing. One obvious catalyst for gold’s surge was Kuroda’s dovish commentary overnight, in which the BOJ head said the central bank may ease more and buy more assets “if necessary”, although other factors cited included “uncertainty surrounding the EU parliament elections, the possibility of Brexit chaos and instability in Venezuela.”

Meanwhile, as we noted and as BBG’s Andrew Cinko picked up, “even more curious is the side-by-side rally of both gold and equities. Over the last four years, gold and the S&P 500 have had a negative 40-day correlation 72% of the time; the latest reading remains negative at -0.26.”

And today’s sizeable 1.6% gain in gold is typically not taken well by equities. When the precious metal has risen by that amount or more since the start of 2015, the S&P 500 was lower 64% of the time (18 of 28 instances), with stocks suffering an average loss of 0.4% (average of all 28 instances). Seeing both of them rise is an aberration — one that probably can’t last no matter what the rationale is for gold’s strength today.

Whatever the reason, and whether gold is no longer a safe asset, ever since the December lows, both gold and stocks have soared, and as many traders have noted, they can’t both be right (unless of course, more QE is imminent).

Meanwhile, as gold jumped, the dollar fell erasing an earlier loss, ahead of the FOMC minutes release tomorrow and speeches from Fed officials this week.

Not saying anything traders didn’t know, Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital, said that “there’s a lot going on out there and I think for the most part investors are looking at China and the trade talks. We’ve been down this road a couple of times before — not just this year, but last year as well — and this March deadline is really approaching quickly. That’s really where companies are focused, as we heard today on Walmart, but also investors.”

In other news, after getting hammered for the past few weeks, the pound rose to the highest leve in 2 weeks on reports U.K. and European officials are working on new legal text for the contentious Irish border backstop.

Meanwhile, as we continue to look for just who is buying the market, the SMART index – which collapsed into the end of 2018 – has continued it sharp rebound, and has been straight up virtually every day since December 24 when Steven Mnuchin called the PPT, prompting questions about the reversal in market trading patterns, as the overnight selloff is now more than matched with late afternoon buying, suggesting that pensions funds could be quietly accumulating positions in the late afternoon.

end

MARKET TRADING

ii)Market data/

Mish Shedlock points how that the Red book confirms Government data which suggests that December did have a retail collapse..

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

Redbook Index Confirms December Retail Collapse

Submitted by Mish Shedlock of MishTalk

Some economists were in disbelief regarding the huge collapse in retail sales in December. Other indicators now confirm.

Here is a tweet on the subject.

Jonathan Tepper

@jtepper2

Last week everyone said retail sales numbers had to be wrong because Redbook survey hadn’t declined.

This chart answers that question.

Mitch Nolen Retail@mitchnolen

A private survey of retail sales is showing a sharp 50% slowdown in y/y growth in the early weeks of 2019. The Redbook Index isn’t as large or as closely watched as the Commerce Dept. survey, but it isn’t providing optimism in the wake of the government’s weak December report.

View image on Twitter

That chart is weekly. Ideally, we need to see monthly and it wasn’t posted.

Redbook

The Johnson Redbook Index is a proprietary indicator of growth in retail sales, and provides advanced estimates of trends in retail sales ahead of official releases and company reports in an easy-to-read four-page report. The weekly indicator is made public every Tuesday morning, with clients receiving notice via conference call, e-mail or fax prior to public release.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Monthly is a comprehensive report of same-store sales data reported monthly by general merchandise and apparel retailers. Analysis is given on current month sales, year-on-year, quarterly and annual sales, historical sales data and company rankings. Retailers are tracked across categories: Apparel Specialty, Books, Toy & Hobby, Department, Discount, Footwear, Furniture, Drug, Home Improvement, Home Furnishings, Electronic, Jewelry, Sporting Goods, and Miscellaneous. The Johnson Redbook Same-store Sales Index (SSI), an index of year-on-year same-store sales growth is reported in each edition.

Shockingly Weak Retail Sales

Redbook ties in with my report Shockingly Weak Retail Sales: Down 1.2% in December, Sharpest Decline Since 2009

And its not just retail sales either.

Other Confirming Indicators

  1. Autos: Surge in Auto Loan Delinquencies: Auto Loans in High Gear
  2. Credit Card Stress: Household Debt Up 18 Consecutive Quarters to a New Record, Card Stress Rising
  3. Falling Imports: Trade Deficit Shrinks in November Primarily Due to Falling Imports
  4. Industrial Production: Industrial Production Dives, Wiping Out a Strong December and Then Some

Very Recessionary

Add it all up and it looks very recessionary. And the EU is already there. Eurozone Recession: Right Here, Right Now!

There is no reason to believe the US will be immune to a global slowdown. People thought that China would decouple in 2008. It didn’t. The US won’t either.

end

 

 

iii)USA ECONOMIC/GENERAL STORIES

this will be a game changer as Bill Barr takes over the reigns of Justice as Attorney general.  Here are 5 takeaways as to what to expect

(courtesy Morgan Chalfant/the Hill)

Five things to watch as Barr takes the reins of Justice, Mueller probe

Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general

William Barr was sworn in as President Trump’s second attorney general on Thursday, putting a new face atop the Justice Department who will assume oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Senate confirmed Barr in a largely party-line vote amid intense speculation that Mueller’s probe into links between the Trump campaign and Moscow is wrapping up.

The investigation – and Barr’s oversight of it – is likely to dominate his first weeks and possibly months as attorney general, depending on when Mueller submits his final report.

Here are five things to watch.

Mueller investigation

Barr, who already served a stint as attorney general under the George H.W. Bush administration, is taking over a sprawling agency with multiple divisions and more than 110,000 employees.

However, Mueller’s investigation is by far the most high-profile issue he will contend with in the immediate term.

During his confirmation hearing, Barr described it as “vitally important” that Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation and pledged not to allow “partisan politics” to interfere with it. Barr also said he would release as much information about Mueller’s final conclusions as possible consistent with the law – but he was careful not to commit to releasing the report in its entirety.

It remains an open question how Barr’s oversight of the probe will play out. His predecessor, Jeff Sessions, faced tremendous pressure from Trump over the probe, which the president regularly derides as a partisan “witch hunt.”

“His biggest issue is the Mueller probe,” said Seth Waxman, a former federal prosecutor in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office. “There’s only really two questions he has to answer: one, is he going to interfere, and two is he going to make the report public?”

Democrats have taken issue with a June 2018 memo Barr sent to the Justice Department and White House criticizing Mueller’s inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice, as well as Barr’s expansive views of presidential power. Some also suggested Barr should recuse himself from the Mueller probe because of his memo.

Republicans, meanwhile, were satisfied by Barr’s commitments about the investigation.

“He’s going to err on the side of transparency. I’m not going to take his discretion away from him. I trust him to make a good decision,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the Judiciary Committee chairman and a close ally of Trump, said recently in Senate floor remarks.

It will be up to Barr whether to release parts or all of Mueller’s report on his findings to Congress or the American public. Any report, legal and national security experts say, will be scrubbed of sensitive national security information and possibly grand jury material.

Leadership shakeup

Barr is expected to make major changes at Justice, beginning with his choice for deputy.

Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Mueller’s investigation, is expected to depart in the coming weeks after two years on the job. Barr told lawmakers last month that Rosenstein had informed him of those plans and that had agreed to stay on for the transition.

Various names have been floated as potential candidates for the role, which is subject to Senate confirmation. The New York Times reported that Barr intends to name Jeffrey Rosen, the current deputy secretary of transportation, to serve as his No. 2.

It is unclear whether Barr will keep on Matthew Whitaker, the controversial figure who Trump appointed acting attorney general following Sessions’ ouster. Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa who worked as Sessions’ chief of staff, quickly emerged as a top target of Democrats as a result of statements he made criticizing Mueller’s investigation before joining the Justice Department.

Whitaker tangled with House Democrats in a testy hearing earlier this month, during which he defended his decision not to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation and insisted he had done nothing to interfere with the probe. Whitaker also frustrated lawmakers by refusing to answer various questions about the investigation and his conversations with Trump.

Even if Barr does not decide to keep Whitaker, some say it’s possible he could find a new home in the White House.

“He had to navigate some pretty treacherous waters and he did that very skillfully and if the president is looking for someone else to serve the administration that brings some excellent experience under fire, then I think Matt would be somebody that would fit that description,” said Ian Prior, who worked with Whitaker as a department spokesman under Sessions.

The potential for clashes with Congress

If Whitaker’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee is any indication, House Democrats are gearing up for contentious hearings with Trump administration officials as they wield new powers in the lower chamber’s majority.

Democrats are almost certain to haul Barr in for a hearing – and soon – to pepper him with questions about the Trump administration’s policies and the Mueller investigation.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who was critical of Barr’s nomination, announced recently that his committee was hiring former White House lawyer Norm Eisen and white-collar criminal defense attorney Barry Berke as part-time counsels in the panel’s effort to “conduct the sort of oversight that has been completely absent over the last two years.”

Any effort by the Justice Department to withhold details of Mueller’s report — which department regulations state should be confidential and submitted to the attorney general — is sure to spell a fight with Congress, which can subpoena the report if lawmakers so choose.

Barr will also have to answer to the legislative branch on other controversial topics, such as the administration’s immigrant family separation policies, on which Whitaker was grilled earlier this month.

His relationship with Trump

Trump’s public statements about his incoming attorney general have only been positive. During remarks from the White House Rose Garden on Friday, Trump cheered Barr for his “tremendous reputation” and predicted he would do a “great job” as attorney general.

Trump had a notoriously difficult relationship with Sessions, a top Trump campaign surrogate who the president soured on after the attorney general chose to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

It’s possible Trump and Barr could also clash over the Russia investigation. Barr notably emphasized his independence from Trump during his confirmation hearing, describing Mueller’s investigation as legitimate and not a “witch hunt” and crediting Sessions for his recusal.

Some doubt, however, that the dynamic will play out the same way.

“It’s going to be very different than, I think, the dynamic between Sessions and Trump because that was early on in an administration that was just getting its sea legs,” said Prior. “I think now everyone is used to the ebb and flow of the Mueller investigation and is well prepared for its results.”

DOJ, FBI controversies

The Justice Department has faced an onslaught of scrutiny from both parties since the 2016 presidential election.

The department and the FBI have been central to seemingly every controversy, from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails to former FBI director James Comey’s ouster to the sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump and his Republican allies have spent the last two years attacking the Justice Department over the Russia probe, alleging that agents engaged in improper behavior in starting the original counterintelligence investigation.

Barr takes the helm of the department at a time that rank-and-file employees are in need of a boost in morale. And it will be up to him to restore trust in Justice and the FBI among lawmakers in Congress in the wake of political controversies.

In a memo to employees Friday, Barr acknowledged that the department has “faced ever-increasing scrutiny from all quarters as news cycles have shrunk from days, to hours, to nanoseconds.”

He also described the department as being filled with “talented and dedicated public servants” and pledged to ensure that it enforces laws “evenhandedly, without fear or favor, and – above all else – with the utmost integrity.”

Barr is poised to contend with Republicans’ continued allegations of misconduct at the department on the Russia probe. Roughly a year ago, Sessions tapped John Huber, a federal prosecutor in Utah, to investigate Republican allegations of surveillance abuses at the FBI, an inquiry that by all accounts is ongoing.

Last month, Graham asked Barr to promise to look into “what happened in 2016,” citing text messages unearthed by the Justice Department inspector general in which agents criticized Trump before the election. The inspector general ultimately found no evidence that investigative decisions were driven by political motivations.

“Yes, Mr. Chairman,” Barr replied.

end
My goodness, despite good all year round weather over 50% of residents wish to leave the state
(courtesy Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse Blog)

California Nightmare: Over Half Of Golden State Residents Wish They Could Leave

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

This just shows what can happen when you let crazy people run a state for several decades…

In the 1960s and 1970s, the possibility of moving to the west coast was “the California dream” for millions of young Americans, but now “the California dream” has turned into “the California nightmare”.  According to a brand new survey, 53 percent of those living in California are considering leaving the state, and there are certainly lots of reasons to hit the road and never look back.  The cities are massively overcrowded, California has the worst traffic in the western world, drug use and illegal immigration both fuel an astounding amount of crime, tax rates are horrendous and many of the state politicians appear to literally be insane.  And on top of all that, let us not forget the earthquakes, wildfires and landslides that are constantly making headlines all over the world.  Last year was the worst year for wildfires in California history, and these days it seems like the state is hit by some new crisis every few weeks.

But none of those factors are the primary reason why so many people are eager to leave.

According to a brand new survey by Edelman Intelligence, the main reason why so many are considering leaving the state is the high cost of living

A growing number of Californians are contemplating moving from the state — and not due to wildfires or earthquakes but the sky-high cost of living, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The online survey, conducted last month by Edelman Intelligence, found that 53 percent of Californians surveyed are considering fleeing, representing a jump over the 49 percent polled a year ago. The desire to exit the nation’s most populous state was highest among millennials, the survey noted.

Thanks to absolutely ridiculous construction restrictions, it has become increasingly difficult to build new housing units in the state.  But meanwhile, people from all over the world continue to move there because they are attracted by what they see on television.

As a result, the supply of housing has not kept up with demand, and prices have shot through the roof in recent years.  The following numbers come from CNBC

Statewide, the median home value in California was $547,400 at the end of 2018, while the U.S. median home value was $223,900. By comparison, the median home value in New York state stood at $289,000 and $681,500 in New York City; New Jersey was $324,700.

Yes, there are a lot of good paying jobs in California, but you better have a really, really good job to be able to afford mortgage payments on a home worth half a million dollars.

Of course many Californians find themselves greatly stretched financially by out of control housing costs, and so more of them than ever are moving in with roommates.  In fact, one recent report found that the number of married couples in the U.S. that are living with roommates “has doubled since 1995”

The number of married couples living with roommates has doubled since 1995, according to a recent report from real estate site Trulia. About 280,000 married people now live with a roommate — and that’s particularly true in pricey cities like those on the West Coast.

The reason: Housing costs a ton. In Honolulu and Orange Country, Calif., the share of married couples with roommates is between four and five times the national rate. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle also have sky high rates of married couples with roomies. Those same cities all have well above average rental and housing costs (Trulia notes that housing costs in all these markets have risen more than 30% since 2009), with residents of uber-pricey San Francisco requiring more than $123,000 in income to live comfortably, one study showed.

In addition to housing costs, many Californians are greatly frustrated by the oppressive levels of taxation in the state.

At this point, the state has the highest marginal tax rate in the entire country

At 12.3 percent, California led the 50 states in 2018 with the highest top marginal tax rate, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators. And that doesn’t include an additional 1-percent surcharge for those Californians with incomes of $1 million or more.

Ouch.

But at least the weather is nice.

Yesterday, I wrote an article entitled “Rats, Public Defecation And Open Drug Use: Our Major Western Cities Are Becoming Uninhabitable Hellholes”, and it sparked something of a firestorm.  More than 1000 comments have already been posted on that article, and a few hearty individuals actually tried to convince the rest of us that life on the west coast is not actually all that bad.

I’m sorry, but if your city has far more intravenous drug users than it does high school students, that is not somewhere that I would want to raise a family

According to a report from the Chronicle, San Francisco now has more intravenous drug users than high school students. San Francisco, which operates 15 high schools, currently has 16,000 students enrolled grades nine through twelve.

By comparison, the northern California city currently has 24,500 “injection drug users.” That is approximately 8,500 more drug users than high school students.

As I mentioned yesterday, the city of San Francisco gave out 5.8 million free syringes to drug users last year.

When you have such widespread drug use, people are going to commit a lot of crime and they are going to do some really weird things.  Just consider the following example

Authorities are searching for a man seen on security footage licking the doorbell of a California home and relieving himself in the family’s yard.

Police have identified the man as Roberto Arroyo, 33, and say that he spent three hours around the Salinas home of Sylvia and Dave Dungan.

The couple had been out of town, during the strange incident, but their children were sleep inside the family’s home. They noticed something amiss when they woke up to multiple alerts from their surveillance system, which notifies the homeowners whenever there is movement near the front door.

A lot of really good people used to live in California, but they left because of stupid stuff like this.

In fact, quite a few of my best friends are people that have moved out of the state within the last 10 years.

Over the past decade we have seen a mass exodus out of California.  And according to Kristin Tate, the author of a new book entitled “How Do I Tax Thee?: A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off“, the “upper-middle class” has been moving out of the state faster than anyone else…

The largest socioeconomic segment moving from California is the upper-middle class. The state is home to some of the most burdensome taxes and regulations in the nation. Meanwhile, its social engineering — from green energy to wealth redistribution — have made many working families poorer. As California begins its long decline, the influx outward is picking up in earnest.

Overall, approximately 5 million people have packed up and permanently moved out of California within the last 10 years.

Unfortunately, the entire nation is slowly becoming just like California, and if we don’t turn things around eventually there will be no place left to go.

end
An extremely important commentary from zero hedge.  The latest data from the FRBNY shows that student loan delinquencies have surged by 166.4 billion dollars out of a total of 1.46 trillion dollars loan s.  Remember that student loans initially are not part of the deficit because there is a corresponding asset…the money borrowed is owed to Uncle Sam.  When loans become delinquent..that is when it is added to the budgetary deficit.  Thus if the USA has an initial budgetary deficit of 1 trillion you can add close to 200 billion to the deficit.
(courtesy zerohedge)

$166 Billion In Student Debt Is Now Officially Delinquent

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest quarterly household debt report, student loan delinquencies surged last year, up to $166.4 billion in the fourth quarter. The report includes the total owed and the percentage of delinquent accounts past 90 days or in default.

The percentage of delinquent accounts figure has stood at 11% since about mid-2012, but the total amount of debt outstanding has increased to a stunning $1.46 trillion at the end of December 2018 – and unpaid student debt rose to its highest levels ever.

Delinquencies rose even as unemployment fell below 4%, telegraphing that the U.S. job market simply hasn’t generated the level of wage growth necessary to deal with the country’s growing debt load.

Bloomberg Intelligence interest-rate strategist Ira Jersey said: “Income levels for graduates are not necessarily high enough for debt payments overall. If you have a choice to pay your student loan or for food or housing, which do you choose?”

According to Jersey, the loans “probably won’t hurt the economy” because they are government-sponsored. Which is another way of saying taxpayers will once again come to the “rescue.”

“But incrementally, it does mean higher federal deficits if the loans are not repaid,”he conceded.

Echoing what we first said back in 2012, Bloomberg notes  that the total amount in arrears is twice the amount the U.S. Treasury paid to bail out the auto industry during the last recession.

Meanwhile, with the cost of higher education doubling over the last 20 years, even the St. Louis Fed was unsure as to whether or not “college was still worth it”, according to a blog posted on their website.

Another stunning observation: the age group that is transitioning to delinquency the fastest is not workers fresh out of college, but the 40 to 49 year old cohort, partly as a result of parents shouldering the load and borrowing to pay for their children’s expenses.

This has forced some schools to provide more support for those attending. For instance, Cornell increased tuition for 2019-2020 by “the lowest it has been in decades” and the school is “budgeting for a significant increase in financial aid”. Purdue University will also not boost room and board rates for 2019-2020, the seventh year in a row it has avoided hiking these prices.

On average, however, in-state tuition and fees for a public four year institution has risen by 3.1% beyond inflation over the last decade.

end
USA/China talks
Talks begin today with lower level guys first conversing then the big guys come.  Do not expect anything form these talks
(courtesy zerohedge)

7th Round Of US-China Trade Talks Begins Tuesday In Washington

With the US’s deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods swiftly approaching, a Chinese delegation has arrived in the US to begin another round of trade talks on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

What will be, by the FT’s count, the seventh round of talks since the trade tensions between the two countries first exploded into tit-for-tat tariffs nearly a year ago, will take place in Washington DC. Just like last week’s talks in Beijing, lower-level trade officials will begin preliminary talks on Tuesday, while the top trade officials will meet beginning on Thursday.

Americans

The talks follow a round of negotiations that ended in Beijing last week without a deal but which officials said had generated progress on contentious issues between the world’s two largest economies.

China Vice Premier Liu He will arrive in Washington for trade talks on Feb. 21 and 22. Higher level talks by US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer will begin on Thursday. It’s believed that the talks will focus on the “structural changes” to China’s economy, which have become a key area of contention for the two sides, while China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of goods from the US will also be in focus.

The White House said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro would also participate in the talks. Trump, who hinted last week that the deadline could be extended, said that the talks had been fruitful.

“We’re making a lot of progress. Nobody expected this was going to be happening,” Trump said.

If the talks fail, or the Trump administration refuses to extend the deadline, tariffs on a large swath of Chinese goods will rise from 10% to 25%. As of last week, the two sides were said to be close to a “memorandum of understanding” that would serve as a broad framework for a deal, but conflicting reports have proliferated.

end

Major storm will sweep across the USA in  the next 72 hours

(courtesy zerohedge)

More Than 200 Million In Path Of Major Winter Storm Sweeping Across The US

A monster storm that started Sunday in California will quickly transverse across the country over the next 72 hours, spreading snow, rain, ice and a wintery mix to more than 200 million Americans.

This is approximately 60% of the entire American population, AccuWeather reported.

“Parts of 39 of the 48 contiguous United States will be impacted by the massive storm, including every state east of the Mississippi River. The storm will have such a large impact on so many because it will reach parts of 26 of the 30 most populous states,” AccuWeather meteorologist Faith Eherts said.

As the storm gains momentum up the Tennessee and Ohio valleys by Wednseday, it will unleash snow and ice over the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast.

“Since this storm will have a great deal of moisture available to it from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a substantial amount of precipitation is likely,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

While the Deep South deals with heavy rainfall, temperatures will drop enough for wintry precipitation from northern Texas to Minnesota and Maine.

“As the moisture reaches the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, it will be cold enough for snow from Washington, D.C. to New York City.”

Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia metro areas can expect a quick burst of 3 to 6 inches of snow starting late Tuesday night into Wednesday, before the precipitation changes into ice then rain.

“Near the time of the change from snow to ice, it may be snowing at the rate of 1-2 inches per hour,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Accuweather warns that commuters in parts of the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic region could leave their homes in dry conditions on Wednseday morning but have a hellacious commute back.

“Any delay in the change to ice can result in substantially more snow, not only around Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia and central Maryland, but also perhaps across a large swath of Pennsylvania and perhaps areas farther to the northeast in New Jersey, southeastern New York state and New England,” Sosnowski said.

Parts of the Mid-Atlantic could see quarter to a half inch of ice

“There could be significant accumulation of ice across parts of western Virginia, West Virginia and southern and central Pennsylvania,” Roys said. “An ice storm is also possible across interior portions of southern New England Wednesday night into Thursday.”

With warmer air expected to enter the region, rain will be the last form of precipitation that will fall across much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday night into Thursday.

SWAMP STORIES

The FBI goes to great lengths to get Hillary off the hook for crimes she engaged in

(courtesy zerohedge)

FOIA Docs Reveal Obama FBI Covered Up “Chart” Of Potential Hillary Clinton Crimes

The top brass of the Obama FBI went to great lengths to justify their decision not to recommend charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, according to Judicial Watch, which obtained evidence that the agency created a ‘chart’ of Clinton’s offenses.

The newly obtained emails came in response to a court ordered Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the DOJ had previously ignored.

Via Judicial Watch(emphasis ours):

  • Three days after then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference announcing that he would not recommend a prosecution of Mrs. Clinton, a July 8, 2016 email chain shows that, the Special Counsel to the FBI’s executive assistant director in charge of the National Security Branch, whose name is redacted, wrote to Strzok and others that he was producing a “chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation [of Clinton’s server], and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute…”

[Redacted] writes: I am still working on an additional page for these TPs that consist of a chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation, and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute, hopefully in non-lawyer friendly terms …

Strzok forwards to Page, Jonathan Moffa and others: I have redlined some points. Broadly, I have some concerns about asking some our [sic] senior field folks to get into the business of briefing this case, particularly when we have the D’s [Comey’s] statement as a kind of stand alone document. In my opinion, there’s too much nuance, detail, and potential for missteps. But I get they may likely be asked for comment.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok, Page and others: The DD [Andrew McCabe] will need to approve these before they are pushed out to anyone. At the end of last week, he wasn’t inclined to send them to anyone. But, it’s great to have them on the shelf in case they’re needed.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok and Page: I’m really not sure why they continued working on these [talking points]. In the morning, I’ll make sure Andy [McCabe] tells Mike [Kortan] to keep these in his pocket. I guess Andy just didn’t ever have a moment to turn these off with Mike like he said he would.

Page replies: Yes, agree that this is not a good idea.

Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.

  • On May 15, 2016, James Rybicki, former chief of staff to Comey, sends FBI General Counsel James Baker; Bill Priestap, former assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division; McCabe; Page; and others an email with the subject line “Request from the Director.”

Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information.

It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction.

If need be, we can get it from NSD [National Security Division] and let them know that the Director asked for this personally.

Please let me know who can take the lead on this.

Thanks!

Jim

Page forwards to Strzok: FYSA [For your situational awareness]

Strzok replies to Page: I’ll take the lead, of course – sounds like an espionage section question… Or do you think OGC [Office of the General Counsel] should?

And the more reason for us to get feedback to Rybicki, as we all identified this as an issue/question over a week ago.

Page replies: I was going to reply to Jim [Rybicki] and tell him I can talked [sic] to you about this already. Do you want me to?

***

Recall that the FBI agents involved made extensive edits to former FBI Diretor James Comey’s statement exonerating Hillary Clinton – changing the language to effectively downgrade the crime of mishandling classified information so that they could recommend no charges.

According to a December, 2017 letter from Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok changed the language regarding Clinton’s conduct from the criminal charge of “gross negligence” to “extremely careless.”

“Gross negligence” is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, gross negligence is “A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard,” and “Blatant indifference to one’s legal duty, other’s safety, or their rights.” “Extremely careless,” on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, “extremely careless” is in fact a defense to “gross negligence”: “What my client did was ‘careless’, maybe even ‘extremely careless,’ but it was not ‘gross negligence’ your honor.” The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase “gross negligence” had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” specifically uses the phrase “gross negligence.” Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

And now, thanks to the Judicial Watch FOIA, we know that the FBI also went to great lengths to justify letting Clinton off the hook with a “chart” of her offenses.

end
It seems that two cabinet officials (in the new Trump cabinet) were ready to support the 25th amendment “coup”with Rosenstein in the supposed lead.
If true, this would be treason…
(courtesy zerohedge)

Two Trump Cabinet Officials Were “Ready To Support” 25th Amendment ‘Coup’ As Rosenstein Tallied Votes

Two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” a DOJ scheme to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump, according to Fox News, citing closed-door testimony from the FBI’s former top lawyer, James Baker – who said that the claim came from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book. –Fox News

While Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials, he says that McCabe and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page approached him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including their discussions of the 25th Amendment scheme.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me — that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the Congressional committees.

The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of a sitting president from office through various mechanisms – including the majority of a president’s Cabinet agreeing that the commander-in-chief is incapable of performing his duties.

Rosenstein – who is slated to leave the Justice Department in the near future, has denied the claims.

Former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker

Baker said McCabe was cool, calm and collected throughout the discussions, telling lawmakers: “At this point in time, Andy was unbelievably focused and unbelievably confident and squared away.  I don’t know how to describe it other than I was extremely proud to be around him at that point in time because I thought he was doing an excellent job at maintaining focus and dealing with a very uncertain and difficult situation.  So I think he was in a good state of mind at this point in time.”

McCabe, meanwhile told “60 Minutes” in an interview set to air Sunday night that Rosenstein was concerned about Trump’s “capacity.”

According to McCabe, Rosenstein “raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort,” adding that Rosenstein was “definitely very concerned about the president, about his capacity and about his intent at that point in time.”

“Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president?” asks CBS News anchor Scott Pelly, to which McCabe replied: “That’s correct. Counting votes or possible votes.

The New York Times first reported last year that McCabe alleged in memos that Rosenstein had talked about using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump — or wearing a wire to surreptitiously monitor the president — in the hectic days in May 2017 after Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director. At the time, Rosenstein disputed the reporting. –WaPo

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the 25th Amendment scheme a “bureaucratic coup” led by enemies of President Trump. On Sunday morning, Graham said he would subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein “if that’s what it takes” to get to the bottom of the 25th Amendment claim.

 

Face The Nation

@FaceTheNation

.@LindseyGrahamSC says he’ll subpoena Fmr. Acting FBI Dir. McCabe & DAG Rod Rosenstein if “that’s what it takes” to get them to testify regarding McCabe’s claim that Rosenstein brought up the 25th amendment.

On Thursday, the DOJ issued a statement claiming that Rosenstein rejects McCabe’s version of events “as inaccurate and factually incorrect,” and also denied that Rosenstein ever approved wearing a “wire” to record Trump.

“The deputy attorney general never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” reads the DOJ statement. “As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”

McCabe, meanwhile, walked back some of his “60 Minutes” statements. On Friday a spokeswoman for the former Deputy Director said: “Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,” adding “To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.”

Baker acknowledged during his testimony that he was not directly involved in the May 2017 discussions, rather, McCabe and Page approached him contemporaneously following a meeting with Rosenstein in the days following former FBI Director James Comey’s firing.

“I had the impression that the deputy attorney general had already discussed this with two members in the president’s Cabinet and that they were…onboard with this concept already,” said Baker.

Question: “Do you know what direction that went? Was it Mr. Rosenstein seeking out members of the Cabinet looking to pursue this 25th Amendment approach or was it the other way around?”

Baker: “What I recall being said was that the Deputy Attorney General had two members of the Cabinet.  So he – how they came to be had, I don’t know, but…”

Question: “So he had two members, almost like he was taking the initiative and getting the members?”

Baker: “That would be speculation on my part.” –Via Fox News

Baker also suggested that “Lisa and Andy” did not know the names of the Cabinet officials who were on board with the 25th Amendment scheme.

Baker testified in October that the alleged discussions took place during an uncertain and anxious time at the FBI and DOJ after Comey’s termination, and that the mood was “pretty dark”:

Question: “Did people tell you that the DAG (Deputy Attorney General) was upset?”

Baker: “Yes.”

Question: “Did they tell you that he was making jokes?”

Baker: “No.”

Question: “Did they tell you that…”

Baker: “This was not a joking sort of time. This was pretty dark.” –Via Fox News

Pretty dark indeed.

end

Trump correctly slams McCabe over its treasonous plot to overthrow the President of the uSA

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Slams McCabe & Rosenstein Over “Treasonous”, “Very Illegal” Plan To Secretly Record President

During an interview that aired in full on CBS last night, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – who was famously fired just hours before qualifying for his pension due to what the DOJ inspector general described as “unauthorized leaks to the press” – McCabe insisted that Rod Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” when he asked senior Trump administration officials to clandestinely record their conversations with the president in preparation for removing him under the 25th amendment – a plan that has been derided as an attempted coup by family members and allies of the president.

McCabe

Clearly displeased with McCabe’s revelations, Trump lashed out at again on Twitter, accusing him of telling a “deranged” story and plotting “a very illegal act”.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught…..

Trump added that McCabe has “a lot of explaining to do to the millions of people who had just elected a president who they really like”. He added that this was “the illegal and treasonous” insurance policy “in action…”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….There is a lot of explaining to do to the millions of people who had just elected a president who they really like and who has done a great job for them with the Military, Vets, Economy and so much more. This was the illegal and treasonous “insurance policy” in full action!

…Before doubling down on accusations that McCabe and Rosenstein participated in an “illegal coup attempt.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“This was an illegal coup attempt on the President of the United States.” Dan Bongino on @foxandfriends True!

Readers can watch the full interview here.

end

Now Schiff is stating that there is no “compelling” evidence of criminal Russian collusion in the election

Schiff is a real nut case:

(courtesy zerohedge)

Schiff-ting The Goal Posts: House Intel Chairman Claims Trump-Russia Collusion “Compelling” But Not Necessarily “Criminal”

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the most visible purveyors of the narrative that Trump and his associates engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to rig the 2016 election, apparently no longer believes that Trump committed a crime by “colluding” with the Russians.

During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Schiff ticked off a litany of suspicious activities involving Trump and his associates that he said suggest that collusion did take place – but instead of labeling the behavior as evidence of a criminal conspiracy, Schiff declared that “there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt” and that it would be “up to Mueller” to determine whether Trump or senior members of his campaign team broke the law.

CNN Politics

@CNNPolitics

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff: “You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt”

Schiff was responding to a question about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent decision to wind down its probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr – whom, as CNN said, hasn’t “exactly been a rapid partisan” on this topic – declared that the committee didn’t find sufficient evidence of collusion.

Though Schiff said that both he and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner disagreed with this assessment, he conceded that it would be “up to Mueller” to reach a final conclusion.

BASH: This week, the chair, your counterpart in the Senate, the Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, said that his committee has found nothing to suggest collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

You said – quote – “That’s not our view in the House.”

But, you know, Burr hasn’t exactly been a rabid partisan on this. Until the last couple of weeks, he’s been working very closely with the Democrats. So, why do you think he’s wrong?

SCHIFF: Well, it’s not just that I think he’s wrong. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Intel Committee in the Senate, also disagrees with that assessment.

But, look, you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.

But Mr. – Chairman Burr must have a different word for it, because, when you look, for example, at the e-mails to set up the meeting in Trump Tower, it was offered to the Trump campaign, to the president’s own son, dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as the Russian government’s effort to help Donald Trump in the campaign.

And the response from the campaign was, we would love to have the help.

Now, that’s an offer of help. That’s an acceptance of help. There’s an overt act in the Trump Tower in furtherance of that. And, of course, that’s not even contemplating the discussions with George Papadopoulos or the information about the efforts that Mike Flynn made to work with the Russian ambassador secretly to undermine sanctions and then lie about that.

All of this is evidence of collusion. And you either have to look the other way to say it isn’t, or you have to have a different word for it, because it is a corrupt dealing with a foreign adversary during a campaign.

But, again, it will be up to Mueller to determine whether that amounts to criminal conspiracy.

As CNN producer Marshall Cohen pointed out in a tweet, Schiff’s phrasing suggested he was “moving the goalposts a bit” as Mueller prepares to wind down his investigation.

Marshall Cohen

@MarshallCohen

Schiff is moving the goalposts a bit here as Mueller winds down, saying there is proof of collusion but not not necessarily in a criminal sense.

CNN Politics

@CNNPolitics

Replying to @CNNPolitics

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff: “You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt” #CNNSOTU

Embedded video

Schiff’s comments followed the revelation by Mueller that his team had come into possession of copies of Stone’s correspondence with Wikileaks, which hadn’t been concluded in the original indictment. When asked about this, Schiff said that it’s just more evidence that there’s more going on behind the scenes in the Mueller probe than has been revealed in the indictments.

But whether that includes any actual evidence of criminal wrongdoing will likely remain a mystery until Mueller’s final report is released.

end
There is going to be a Congressional challenge to block the Emergency Declaration of Trump and this will be the first ever veto
(courtesy zerohedge)

Resolution To Block Border Emergency Likely To Pass, Forcing First-Ever Trump Veto

Now that a handful of influential Senate Republicans started expressing their reservations about President Trump’s decision to call a national emergency to secure another $7 billion in funding for his promised border wall (or “barrier”…or “fence”…), it’s becoming increasingly clear that a Congressional challenge to order will likely clear both the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, provoking the president to issue what would be the first veto of his presidency, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing remarks made on Sunday news shows.

Both Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said on ABC’s “This Week” that they expect a resolution in Congress to terminate Trump’s order would have enough votes to pass both the House and the Senate by simple majorities, thanks to Republicans who fear Trump’s order would deprive the military of essential funds.

Trump will redirect $3.6 billion in military construction funding toward the border project, and will also take separate executive action repurposing about $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug-interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset-forfeiture fund. Officials said the goal is to ultimately build roughly 234 miles of barriers along the border, including bollard-style wall. The funding is on top of roughly $1.4 billion earmarked to build 55 miles of barrier as part of the border security compromise passed last week.

Trump

But the resolution will likely run into trouble if Trump issues the veto, because it’s doubtful that the Democrats could muster enough votes in the Senate to override it.

Embedded video

ABC News Politics

@ABCPolitics

Sen. Tammy Duckworth told @martharaddatz she believes the Senate has enough votes for a joint resolution to terminate Pres. Trump’s national emergency declaration: “Now whether we have enough for an overriding veto, now that’s a different story.” https://abcn.ws/2DNBtIr

Embedded video

ABC News Politics

@ABCPolitics

Rep. Jim Jordan on Congress’ bill offering less money than Pres. Trump suggested for the proposed border wall: “The point is there is money that he can use that doesn’t require an Executive Order… then he’s also going to use the emergency declaration.” https://abcn.ws/2DMUCKw

And, assuming the resolution does pass, Stephen Miller implied during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that President Trump would veto it, saying that the president would “protect his emergency order” and adding that the order itself wasn’t unconstitutional because Congress had passed the National Emergency Act, which enabled the president to take this step.

Embedded video

FoxNewsSunday

@FoxNewsSunday

Chris asks Stephen Miller if Trump would veto a resolution of disapproval

“He is going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed,” Miller said. Jordan added that once a veto is issued, “I don’t think there’s any chance the veto would be overridden.”

Of course, Trump’s national emergency declaration is also facing a challenge from several states’ attorneys general (including likely New York and California), and presumably lawsuits from interest groups will follow. To that end, Congressman Adam Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s admission during his press conference that he “didn’t need to do this” could doom his order in the courts.

But for now, at least, the vote to block the order could backfire on the Dems, as Trump will likely use it as blatant politicking and one more example of Democratic obstructionism which he has sought to tie to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

end

Roger Stone is nuts!! He is going to be hauled into court to explain his “death threat” against the judge who is presiding over his case, Obama appointee, Amy Berman

(courtesy zerohedge)

Roger Stone Hauled Into Court To Explain ‘Death Threat’ Against Judge

Roger Stone has been ordered to appear in a D.C. courtroom on Thursday to explain an Instagram photo of the judge overseeing his case next to what appear to be crosshairs – in what many interpreted as a veiled threat.

The photo of Jackson is accompanied by a caption which reads: “Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson , an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again [sic] Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime.”

Jackson dismissed legal action against Clinton by the parents of two of the four Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, as well as a related claim that Clinton had defamed the parents by lying about them in the press.

Stone, who was arrested in a January pre-dawn raid at his Florida home in connection with Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, is at risk of losing his bail just days after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order preventing Stone from saying anything that might bias potential jurors. He was charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the Russia investigation.

Tom Winter

@Tom_Winter

NEW: Judge Amy Berman Jackson has scheduled a “show cause” hearing in the Roger Stone case after his Instagram post yesterday.

She says she wants to see if his post violated the gag order and / or his conditions of his release which could be modified or revoked.

The longtime Trump adviser issued an apology for the post, writing “Please inform the court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted.”

Stone also posted on Instagram: “A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misinterpreted,” adding “This was a random photo taken from the internet. Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the judge or disrespect court is categorically false.”

He will have to explain on Thursday how his post did not violate his gag order.

SWAMP STORIES/MAJOR STORIES//THE KING REPORT
and special thanks to Chris Powell of GATA for sending this down for us:

The FT: US-China trade talks end with little sign of progress

Mr Lighthizer’s team, however, was sceptical about such promises. “China’s system is so opaque that you would have to take their word that the WTO notification is complete,” a member of his team said…

https://www.ft.com/content/c2783d84-30ce-11e9-8744-e7016697f225

The above FT story also reported that WH officials were livid about a Bloomberg report that Trump was considering extending the March 1 deadline by 60 days.

CNBC’s @onlyyoontv: “We are willing to adopt a cooperative approach to resolve and promote an agreement acceptable to both sides. However, cooperation requires certain principles.” – President Xi’s reminder to the U.S. that China has its own bottom line in trade talks, says state media @XHNews

      U.S. negotiator says “very difficult issues” remain after U.S.-China trade talks @AFP

Fed’s Balance Sheet to Shrink by Whopping $43.5BN Today [Friday]

Today’s “reverse POMO” is a whopper, with some $43.5BN in US Treasurys on the Fed’s balance sheet set to mature, which means the Fed will allow $23.3BN of excess liquidity to shrink.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-15/feds-balance-sheet-shrink-whopping-435bn-today

The Fed balance sheet increased $2.081B for the week ended last Wednesday.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h41/current/

However, the ECB and Trump, abetted by expiration, engineered a massive rally in ESH that commenced as European bourses opened.

ECB’s Coeure opens door to new cash boost for banks

European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure said the ECB was discussing the idea of issuing new multi-year cheap loans to banks, which in some countries face a funding cliff-edge next year when previous loans must be repaid… He later added: “There might be scope for another TLTRO.”…

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-coeure/ecbs-coeure-opens-door-to-new-cash-boost-for-banks-idUKKCN1Q41OL

China trade talks to resume next week, Trump hints at extension

Trump, speaking at a White House news conference, said the United States was closer than ever before to “having a real trade deal” with China and said he would be “honored” to remove tariffs if an agreement can be reached… “There is a possibility that I will extend the date…”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/15/steven-mnuchin-says-us-had-productive-trade-meetings-with-china.html

The ugly Industrial Production for January and the downward revision for December induced economists to reduce their GDP estimates for Q4 2018 and Q1 2019.

NY Fed on Friday: The New York Fed Staff Nowcast [GDP] stands at 2.23% for 2018:Q4 [2.41% last week] and 1.1% for 2019:Q1 [2.17% last week]…   https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/policy/nowcast.html

China Unleashes Gargantuan Credit Injection to Start 2019

Chinese financial institutions made a record 3.23 trillion yuan of new loans… the most in any month back to 1992, when the data began, and represented a whopping 13.4% yoy increase in January

    Aggregate Financing… exploded nearly threefold from December’s 1.59 trillion to an unprecedented 4.64 trillion ($685 billion) in the month of January, smashing expectations of 3.31 trillion, and printing far above the highest forecast from 26 economists of 3.9 trillion…

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-15/here-comes-shanghai-accord-20-china-unleashes-gargantuan-credit-injection-start

Dershowitz: If McCabe’s Interview Is True It Clearly Shows an Attempted Coup d’Etat of Trump Administration     https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/02/dershowitz-if-mccabes-interview-is-true-it-clearly-shows-an-attempted-coup-detat-of-trump-administration-video/

Two Witnesses [FBI lawyers] Back Account Rosenstein Considered Taping Trump

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-17/two-witnesses-back-account-rosenstein-considered-taping-trump

Former top FBI lawyer: 2 Trump Cabinet officials were ‘ready to support’ 25th Amendment effort

[Per Rosenstein] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/former-top-fbi-lawyer-2-trump-cabinet-officials-were-ready-to-support-25th-amendment-effort

@paulsperry_: McCabe said Rosenstein sought out Comey’s advice on who to appoint as special counsel…  In effect, Comey picked his old pal Mueller, along with Mueller’s old briefer, McCabe.

A McCabe spokeswoman on Friday tried to retract McCabe’s statements to “60 Minutes”.

“At no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.  He was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment.”

https://twitter.com/mschwartz3/status/1096449137564962848

@PoliticalShortL: Andrew McCabe has “said over and over again, if I go down, I’m taking everybody else with me.” [Can you image the ‘singing’ if indictments occur for Deep State actors?]

Ex-Bill & Hillary Clinton advisor @Mark_Penn: So we have now spent years on this Russia investigation essentially because McCabe and Rosenstein could not get over the firing of James Comey even after Rosenstein wrote the memo to fire him. So they hired their own special counsel to get rid of the president. It’s clear now.

Trump quotes Rush Limbaugh’s claim that Mueller’s investigators ‘ought to be in jail’

‘The Mueller investigation, I believe, is a cover-up of all of that. It’s to distract everybody’s attention,’ [From Deep State crimes] Limbaugh claimed on Sunday.     

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6715021/Trump-quotes-Rush-Limbaughs-claim-Muellers-investigators-ought-jail.html

Rep. Jim Jordan @Jim_JordanL: Schiff meets with Glenn Simpson in Colorado.  Schiff tried to block Congress from getting bank records of Simpson’s company Fusion GPS. Those bank records showed Clinton campaign (working through Perkins Coie) was paying Fusion for the dirty Dossier.

GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy: Serious Questions for Schiff

  • Along with this Aspen Security Forum meeting, how many other meetings did Chairman Schiff have with Mr. Simpson over the past three years?…
  • Why did Chairman Schiff go to such great lengths, including supporting Chuck Schumer’s former staffer who was representing Mr. Simpson – even going to court – to keep secret who was behind paying for the political attack piece on then candidate Trump?
  • Why did Chairman Schiff seek investigatory guidance and suggestions from Mr. Simpson, a witness whose credibility has been called into question but whose bias is unmistakably anti-Trump?… https://www.republicanleader.gov/adam-schiff-fusion-gps-aspen/

Senate panel probing meetings between Russians and Obama economic officials

Ms. Butina and Alexander Torshin, a former top official for the Russian Central Bank, met in 2015 with Stanley Fischer, then-Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Nathan Sheets, then-Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, to discuss “U.S.-Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration.”… [Sen. Grassley preparing the table for 2020]

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/16/senate-panel-probing-meetings-between-russians-and/

Trump declares emergency on border, eyes $8B for wall as he plans to sign spending package

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are at least 30 “national emergencies” in effect…  https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-eyes-8b-border-wall-funding-emergency-declaration

Former-DJT supporters are savaging the president for signing the government funding & border security bill and for his staff preventing Angel Moms from meeting with Trump at the WH.

@RyanGirdusky: @RyanGirdusky: Democrats know they won big time on the border fight… Shelby surrendered on multiple issues outright. Trump hated it…

     Trump is talking about the benefits of giving drug dealers the death penalty… Trump literally signed a crime bill months ago to let drug dealers out of jail early.  This is why you shouldn’t have people who disagree with you running your legislative agenda – especially when they’re your child and son-in-law

      Trump recognized the Angel Moms – His staff did everything they could to stop the angel moms from meeting with him. – Especially Kellyanne Conway and Mercedes Schlapp…  According to two sources, the order was coming right from Mulvaney to stop a meeting w/ the angel moms… Trump went around, asking them how illegal aliens stole their loved ones… they said after that they were happy he granted them the time but was disappointed they couldn’t change his mind on the border bill….

@AnnCoulter: How about letting your new AG read the bill before signing it, @realDonaldTrump? Jared may have missed some nuances… The GOP “negotiators” on this bill were imbeciles, patsies and people actively hostile to the wall

 

Ann Coulter: “The Only National Emergency Is That Our President Is an Idiot”

“It was one thing, the promise he made every single day at every single speech…” said Coulter…

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-16/only-national-emergency-our-president-idiot-ann-coulter

@IngrahamAngle: This bill is tantamount to an illegal immigration “stimulus” — de facto amnesty to any “sponsor,” family member or “potential sponsor” of an unaccompanied minor.

@Gingrich_of_PA: Laura, this is simply not true. It means if, huge IF, someone arrives at the detention center to claim an unaccompanied minor, they may not be held & processed themselves by ICE for deportation. How many undocumented people will risk this? Very few. Also, must have clean record.

Chicago is most corrupt big city, Illinois third most corrupt state in country, study finds

https://www.foxnews.com/us/chicago-is-most-corrupt-big-city-illinois-third-most-corrupt-state-in-country-study-finds

The MSM, celebs, Pelosi, AOC, Booker and Kamala quickly exploited Jussie’s MAGA attack allegations.  They thought it had 2020 implications.  It does; but it’s opposite of they had hoped.

Fox’s Greg Gutfeld: “America is less racist than the media wants us to be.”

@SteveKrak: Twitter is a disaster for journalists. Before Twitter, the public would just read the reports and assume a bias, but not have such absurd proof.

Fox Contributor @LisaMarieBoothe: The Covington Kids and Jussie Smollett stories are the same. The media chose to believe the narrative that was most damaging to Trump supporters, even in the absence of facts or logic. This is why there is animus towards the media and why fakenews resonates.

I WILL SEE YOU WEDNESDAY NIGHT
HARVEY
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