Let Them Eat (Yellow)Cake – Where The Uranium Comes From

Uranium is in high demand, as it is used as fuel in nuclear power plants around the world. Statista’s Dyfed Loesche notes that according to the German Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources BGR, Kazakhstan is the biggest producer of the radioactive metal. The central Asian country produced around 24,600 metric tons of the substance in 2016. This is a share of close to 40 percent of the worldwide production.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.

Russian Anger Builds In Town Next To Leaking Nuclear Plant

Earlier this week, we noted that Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy agency had taken baby steps toward recognizing the dangers posed by an aging nuclear storage facility in Chelyabinsk, a town located on Russia’s southern border with Kazakhstan, when it officially acknowledged the extraordinary high levels of radiation in the area. Though the government refused to admit culpability, as many believe the radiation leaked out of the Mayak nuclear power plant, which has a history of serious nuclear accidents.
Still, a month after the mysterious radiation cloud was first observed over Europe, Russian authorities have said little other than admitting the spike in radiation – a troubling trend that’s making some locals nervous and angry.
As the Financial Times points out, 76 years after radiation first began seeping from Mayak into the surrounding rivers, lakes and atmosphere, Russian authorities admitted that the nearby town of Argayash was at the center of a radiation cloud containing ‘exceptionally high’ levels of radioactive isotope ruthenium-106, which spread so far west that it reached France.
But residents of the town are demanding more information from authorities, whom they blame for putting the health of locals at risk.
The FT described Argayash is a cynical, mistrustful town. Apparently, decades of being lied to by the government about being down the road from a leaking nuclear plant does that to a place. So too does watching generations of people dying of radiation-related ailments while officials assure them nothing is amiss.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Russia Confirms Toxic Cloud Of “Extremely High” Radiation; Source Remains A Mystery

This Part of Russia is Literally Exposed to 1000x the Normal Radiation Rate pic.twitter.com/AKbOJqUrhh
— News Cult (@News_Cult) November 21, 2017

One month after a mysterious radiation cloud was observed over Europe, whose source remained unknown last week speculation emerged that it may have been the result of a “nuclear accident” in Russia or Kazakhstan, on Tuesday Russian authorities on Tuesday confirmed the previous reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains. In a statement, the Russian Meteorological Service said that it recorded the release of Ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as “extremely high contamination.”
Earlier this month, France’s nuclear safety agency earlier this month said that it recorded a spike in radioactivity, and said that “the most plausible zone of release” of this radioactive material “lies between the Volga and the Urals” from a suspected accident involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material. The agency noted, however, that it is impossible to determine the exact point of release given the available data. Luckily, it said the release of the isotope Ruthenium-106 posed no health or environmental risks to European countries.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

Radioactive Cloud Over Europe May Have Come From “Nuclear Accident” In Russia Or Kazakhstan

About a month ago, we noted reports from the French nuclear watchdog ISRN that a spike in airborne radioactivity had been detected in the air in Western and Central Europe: “Ruthenium-106 has been detected by several European networks involved in the monitoring of atmospheric radioactive contamination, at levels of a few milliBecquerels per cubic meter of air.”
According to IRSN calculations, the very low levels of atmospheric contamination of ruthenium 106 observed by European monitoring networks had no environmental or health consequences but several agencies across Europe were actively seeking answers on the origin of the contamination.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Gold Coins and Bars Saw Demand Rise 17% to 222T in Q3

– Gold coins and bars saw demand rise 17% to 222t in Q3, driven largely by China
– Chinese investors bought price dips, notching up fourth consecutive quarter of growth
– Jewellery, ETF demand fell while gold coins and bars saw increased demand
– Central banks bought a robust 111t of gold bullion bars (+25% y-o-y)
– Russia, Turkey & Kazakhstan account for 90% of 111t of central bank demand
– Turkey increased gold purchases and saw broad based physical gold demand
– Gold demand in Q3 at eight-year low as ETF inflows slowed sharply
– Gold demand saw 9% year-on-year (y-o-y) drop in to 915 tonnes (t)
– Total global gold supply fell 2% in Q3
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
By first impressions the latest World Gold Council report could make for pretty dismal reading if one were to consider the headlines that followed its release.
Much of the focus was on the fact that record and reported gold demand was at its lowest last quarter since Q3 2009 and down 9% year-on-year.
This was predominantly down to ETF demand which fell from the very high levels seen last year. ETF gold holdings climb by just 18.9t and jewellery demand which fell by 3%.

This post was published at Gold Core on November 10, 2017.

Gold Coins and Bars See Demand Rise of 11% in H2, 2017

– Gold coins, bars see demand rise of 11% in H2, 2017 to 532 tonnes according to WGC Gold Demand Trends
– Gold investment demand strong in China, India & Turkey
– Demand in Turkey surges on double digit inflation
– Total gold demand declines in Q2 on slower U. S. ETF inflows
– Gold held in ETFs in Europe reached all time high of 978t
– U. S. ETF inflows slowed from last year’s record
– Central banks continue to buy – 94t of declared purchases
– Turkey joined Kazakhstan & Russia in buying gold
– Well balanced market: ETF inflows continue and jewellery, technology and bar & coin demand up
– Important to note this is all official, transparent and recorded demand. There is demand and flows of gold that cannot be and are not recorded – especially into the Middle East, India, Russia and of course China

This post was published at Gold Core on August 3, 2017.

You Can Always Hide in Kazakhstan — Nick Giambruno/Doug Casey

Kazakhstan is gigantic. Over a million square miles – the size of Western Europe, or the U.S. east of the Mississippi – but with only 17 million people. In the east, on its 2,000-mile-long border with China, the Himalayas rise up out of the plains, but most of the country is just vast, desolate grasslands, or steppe. Two-thirds of the people are central Asians – tall, rangy looking Orientals who speak languages in the Turkic group; one third are Russians.
That’s information you can get out of any world atlas, and it’s not worth much, because nothing that everyone knows is worth much. What I want to do is tell you what I think it means. What’s going to happen in Central Asia in the near term and long term, and what you may want to do about it.
My friend Rick Maybury coined the term “Chaostan” for this whole part of the world. It’s populated by dozens of tribes and ethnic groups, most of them ex-nomads speaking different languages.
Perversely, the main things tying them together are a veneer of Soviet culture and the Russian language. And one other thing: an ingrained dislike of Russians. These folks have just never learned to appreciate the Russians conquering them, purging them, taxing them, destroying their indigenous cultures, and drafting them for their armies. They rather resent having been used as pawns in what used to be known as “The Great Game,” which was largely played between the Russians and the British in the 19th century.

This post was published at International Man

Key Events In The Holiday-Shortened Wee

In this holiday-shortened week (markets closed for Good Friday), focus turns to several inflation prints in G10 in the week ahead, with US and UK inflation data likely to get the most attention. In addition, there are a few scheduled speaking engagements by Fed officials, including a speech by Fed Chair Yellen on Monday.
Away from the US, the street expects the Bank of Canada to remain on hold, keeping the overnight rate target at 0.5%. Despite recent improvement in some economic data, slack remains in the economy and there is no evidence of demand pressure on prices. More interesting for the markets will be the message that the BoC chooses to send through the combination of the interest rate announcement, the monetary policy report and the press conference.
In Emerging Markets there will be monetary policy meetings in Brazil, Chile, Korea, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Brazils BCB is expected to cut the selic rate 100bp. Chiles BCCH will likely cut the monetary policy rate by 25bp.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 10, 2017.

Meet China’s Biggest Oil Trader: At 39, He Generated $38 Billion In Revenue

Ye Jianming isn’t a name that rings many bells… yet. But, according to SCMP, it will, considering what he’s achieved so far in a country where the state firms take all. As Fortune recently wrote, when it ranked Ye #2 in its “40 Under 40” list, he runs a $42-billion-a-year oil business in China, (No. 229 on the Fortune Global 500), yet few in China know anything about the mysterious tycoon or the firm he created, CEFC.
Ye bought a collection of oil assets in his twenties and secured loans from state-owned banks to expand abroad, a privilege for a private company. CEFC has oil agreements in Kazakhstan, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Chad and has gone into ventures with state-owned giants to transport oil to China, making him a rare powerful private player aligned with the Chinese government.
Little else is known about Ye: as of this moment, he is the sole private entrepreneur to win a stake in an Abu Dhabi onshore oil concession (whose lifespan is 40 years) with 4%. British Petroleum and China National Petroleum Corp got 10% and 8% respectively.
Why would state giants like CNOOC and Sinopec Group tolerate that? Simple: Ye holds a ‘full’ licence in China’s financial industry – covering insurance, brokerage, banking, trusts, commodities and asset management, alongside state-owned Citic Group and China Everbright Holdings. Yet what’s so different here from the hundreds of firms that are queuing up for an insurance license?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 24, 2017.

This Country Wants Everyone to Have 100 Grams of Gold

A landlocked nation perched between China and Kazakhstan is embarking on an experiment with little parallel worldwide: shifting savings from cattle to gold.
One of the first post-Soviet republics to adopt a new currency and let it trade freely, Kyrgyzstan’s central bank wants every citizen to diversify into gold. Governor Tolkunbek Abdygulov says his ‘dream’ is for every one of the 6 million citizens to own at least 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of the precious metal, the Central Asian country’s biggest export.
‘Gold can be stored for a long time and, despite the price fluctuations on international markets, it doesn’t lose its value for the population as a means of savings,’ he said in an interview. ‘I’ll try to turn the dream into reality faster.’
In the two years that the central bank has offered bars directly to the population, about 140 kilograms of bullion have been sold, Abdygulov, 40, said by phone from the capital, Bishkek.
‘We are hopeful that our country’s population will learn to diversify its savings into assets that are more liquid and — more importantly — capable of retaining their value,’ he said. In rural areas, cattle is still the asset of choice for investors and savers, according to Abdygulov.

This post was published at bloomberg

More gold flows into GLD — Lawrie Williams

What a turnaround. After the world’s largest gold ETF, SPDR Gold Shares had been seeing mostly outflows since July 6 last year – indeed, since that date, up until the end of January 2017 the amount of gold held by the ETF had fallen by a massive 183.65 tonnes. But, since the end of January this year, GLD’s gold holdings have turned around and increased every day, with the ETF having added 33.51 tonnes of gold so far this month. The latest day’s rise in the holding was 5.63 tonnes.
GLD’s current total gold holding, though, is still some 150 tonnes short of last year’s peak and a massive 520.8 tonnes below its all-time high of 1,353.35 tonnes achieved back in 2012. Whether it can reach that kind of level again is open to doubt as the peak liquidations out of GLD were largely countered by flows of gold into China, and virtually all that goes into China doesn’t come out again – at least not under current Chinese legislation.
But there is still scope for further increases at the kinds of levels we have been seeing of late. The latest figures out of GFMS suggest a supply surplus of around 1,176 tonnes in 2016 given a fall-off in Chinese and Indian retail demand during the year, but GFMS tends to ignore some demand elements – notably demand by the Chinese financial sector which could be as much as several hundred tonnes.
Net central bank purchases were also lower last year, in part due to a sharp reduction in announced Chinese central bank purchases, but also due to gold liquidations by Venezuela to provide funding to mitigate some of its foreign debt problems. Turkey was also a substantial net seller according to IMF statistics, but this could be seen as misleading as Turkey includes holdings of gold by its commercial banks in its official reserve figures and these are subject to some considerable fluctuation. Kazakhstan remained a consistent buyer with its central bank adding 32.9 tonnes over the year while the Russian central bank was the largest buyer again taking a little over 200 tonnes of gold into is reserves.

This post was published at Sharps Pixley

Turkey’s “Long Arm” In Europe

Submitted by Burak Begdil via The Gatestone Institute,
Turkey has finally won the title of having the world’s first spook-imams. Turkey is exporting its political wars and tensions to Europe. That is not a good sign for the Old Continent. Officially, Turkey’s General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies. In practice, Diyanet’s understanding of “offering institutional religious services” can be different from what the term should mean. Recently, the office of Istanbul’s mufti, an official of Diyanet, described the location of a mosque as “… it was [in the past] a filthy Jewish and Christian neighbourhood.” After press coverage, the depiction was removed from the web page.
Diyanet’s “institutional religious services” may sometimes even overlap with what in other countries people call intelligence. In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Glen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15. As if it is the most normal thing in the world, Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 1, 2017.

Oil Tankers Used to Store Millions of Barrels as European Land Sites Fill

Oil companies booked tankers to store as many as 9 million barrels of crude in northwest Europe amid signs that space in on-land depots is filling up, a ship-operator said. The glut could get bigger still, given the region is scheduled to load the most cargoes in 4 1/2 years next month.
There are 14 to 16 Aframax-class tankers now storing crude in the region, Jonathan Lee, chief executive officer of Tankers International, operator of the world’s biggest pool of supertankers, said by phone Friday. Standard cargoes are normally almost 600,000 barrels. Lack of on-land capacity to hold the oil is the most likely cause of the buildup, he said.
Those ships are the industry’s biggest supertankers, holding 2 million barrels a piece. The vessels in the North Sea would normally carry about 70 percent less oil.
North Sea producers are among a long list of suppliers adding barrels just as OPEC prepares to try and eliminate a surplus. Pressure on the exporter club is piling up because its own members are pumping like never before while nations outside the group including Brazil, Kazakhstan, Canada and Russia are producing more than ever or pumping from new fields.

This post was published at bloomberg

Central Bank Gold Demand continues in Q3

Dedollarization and Uncertainty drive Central Bank Demand for Gold
Central banks added 81.7t to their gold reserves in the third quarter Total central banks purchases in the year-to-date reach 271.1t. Fellow-SCO member Kazakhstan and Belarus also had to holdings 90% of reserve managers intend to increase or maintain gold reserves. ‘The case for gold remains compelling for reserve managers’ state WGC Unconventional monetary policies will underpin gold demand in coming years. ***
Central banks added 81.7t to their gold reserves in the third quarter, bringing total purchases in the year-to-date to 271.1t. This was a fall from 168t purchased in the previous quarter. Much of this has gone unnoticed by the mainstream media, something which seems shortsighted given the monetary and geopolitical implications both this and recent elections results may lead to.
The World Gold Council described recent buying as a ‘more measured’ approach to previous years. Between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015 407.7t were purchased by central banks. The data was slightly skewed last year as China contributed their gold reserve data for the first time since 2009.

This post was published at Gold Core on November 10, 2016.

Central bank gold buying – what the media reports don’t really tell you — Lawrie Williams

There’s been a fair amount of media coverage of the reduction in net central bank gold purchases seen so far this year, but the writers of these seem to treat all central banks as one. The implied suggestion as a whole is that this group of gold holders are all cutting back on purchases. But this has, in reality, been the case all along. There have only been three central banks which have consistently added to their gold reserves on a regular basis over the past year – Russia, China and, to a smaller but significant in total effect, extent Kazakhstan. Since China began publishing its monthly gold purchase data in July last year it has, according to IMF data, added 174 tonnes of gold, while Russia has added even more at 230 tonnes. Kazakhstan has added some 35 tonnes.
While observers will point out that the number of central banks adding gold into their reserves has diminished, this is largely irrelevant as, apart from the three central banks mentioned above, movements of gold into other individual central bank reserves has been minimal over the past two to three years.
While Russia’s and China’s monthly reserve additions appear to have been being cut back of late, one can’t really read too much into this in terms of a concerted reduction in central bank gold buying given the somewhat erratic nature of their month by month reserve increases in the past. Russian monthly reserve increases, for example, have varied from zero in January and February 2015 to 34.5 tonnes in September last year. China too has demonstrated sharp ups and downs in its reported reserve increases – from zero in May this year to just short of 21 tonnes in November last. Of course prior to June last year China was officially reporting zero month by month additions for the prior 6 years before announcing a massive 604 tonne increase that month.

This post was published at Sharps Pixley

China’s New Silk Road to Make a Big Move in Gold

According to recent press reports in Asia, China’s $40 billion New Silk Road Fund is likely to make a bid for a gold mine in Kazakhstan.
The Vasilkovskoye mine is owned by Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss mining company. It produced 380,000 ounces of gold last year. The New Silk Road Fund is considering buying it for $2 billion.
This is just the beginning…
China will continue to build new infrastructure for the New Silk Road. And continue to accumulate lots more gold.

This post was published at International Man

Sovereign Debt Downgrades Accelerate in 2016

The three main rating agencies – Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s – all went on a downgrading spree in the first half of 2016. So far this year, Standard and Poor’s has downgraded 16 sovereigns, Moody’s has downgraded 24, and Fitch’s has downgraded 15. All of these represent significant increases over downgrades for 2015, and with many countries on negative watch and marked as proximate downgrade risks, 2016 could well see more negative rating activity on sovereigns than 2011 did (the last high-water mark).
Most of the countries whose debt has been downgraded are commodity producers such as Brazil, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. Lower prices for oil and other commodities are still putting pressure on their finances. Developed markets have not escaped, however, with downgrades from various agencies going to the U. K. after its vote to leave the E. U., as well as to Austria, France, and Finland. When Fitch released its mid-year report, the company noted:

This post was published at FinancialSense on 07/22/2016.

Russia adds another 15.6 tonnes of gold to reserves in April — Lawrie Williams

The Russian central bank is continuing to buy gold at a faster rate than China with a purchase of 500,000 ounces (15.6 tonnes) of gold in April according to figures put out on Friday. The amount is interesting as it the same sized addition as in the previous month and while the February increase was smaller at 9.3 tonnes, January was larger at 21.8 tonnes so the increase for January and February combined was thus at the equivalent of 15.6 tonnes a month. Does this now mean that the Russian central bank has set itself a gold reserve increase target of 500,000 ounces (15.6 tonnes) a month. If this rate of buying persists through the year then it could be that it is aiming to build its reserves by 187 tonnes in 2016.
Russia has thus been buying significantly more gold than the No. 2 buyer China so far this year with purchases totalling 62 tonnes so far against the 46 tonnes so far reported by The Peoples Bank of China. If both continue purchases at the current rate that would suggest an increase of central bank gold holdings from these two countries alone of over 320 tonnes.
The only other central bank which appears to be buying gold on a regular basis is that of Kazakhstan which has been adding to its gold reserves at about 2.7 tonnes a month. We will have to wait until the IMF publishes its next report on global gold reserves to see if there are any other significant purchasers or sellers.

This post was published at Sharps Pixley

News Flash: China and Russia Continue to Add to Gold Reserves

Last week we reported that central banks were jettisoning US debt and buying gold.
Figures released by the IMF this week indicate central bank gold hoarding has not abated.
Russia and China both extended their prolonged buying spree in April. Russia added 16.2 tons to its reserves. China increased its holdings by 10.9 tons. Another major buyer was Kazakhstan. The former Soviet Republic raised its tonnage by 3.2 tons. Turkey added 2.6 tons to its stash.
Not only is the Chinese central bank continuing to expand its gold reserves, the country is steadily becoming a major player in the world gold market.

This post was published at Schiffgold on MAY 25, 2016.


Gold: $1,229.30 down $1.10 (comex closing time)
Silver 15.21 down 5 cents
In the access market 5:15 pm
Gold $1262.60
silver: 15.62
In the words of Bill Murphy of GATA today on remarking on gold’s huge advance in the access market: ‘Houston, we have a problem’
The Fed’s credibility has now been shot as Yellen backs away from increasing rates due to global disturbances.
At the gold comex today, we had a poor delivery day, registering 0 notices for nil ounces and for silver we had 230 notices for 1,150,000 oz for the active March delivery month.
Several months ago the comex had 303 tonnes of total gold. Today, the total inventory rests at 211.33 tonnes for a loss of 92 tonnes over that period.
In silver, the open interest fell by 2055 contracts down to 166,180 with silver down by 9 cents yesterday. In ounces, the OI is still represented by .831 billion oz or 119% of annual global silver production (ex Russia ex China).
In silver we had 230 notices served upon for 1,150,000 oz.
In gold, the total comex gold OI fell by 6,624 contracts to 493,086 contracts as the price of gold was DOWN $14.00 with yesterday’s trading.(at comex closing). The fall in OI in gold should relieve a little pressure on our bankers.
We had another big change in gold inventory at the GLD, a deposit of 2.09 tonnes/ thus the inventory rests tonight at 792.23 tonnes. The appetite for gold coming from China is depleting not only gold from the LBMA and GLD but also the comex is bleeding gold. Our 670 tonnes of rock bottom inventory in GLD gold has been broken. It looks to me that China has taken the last amounts of physical gold from the GLD. I guess the only place left for China to receive physical gold, after they deplete the GLD will be the FRBNY and the comex. In silver,/we had no changes in inventory/ and thus the Inventory rests at 325.868 million oz
First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on March 16, 2016.