WTI Algos Confused As Crude Production Drops For First Time In 2 Months

WTI/RBOB had roundtripped off initial API gains into the DOE data this morning which confirmed the sixth weekly crude draw, gasoline build in a row. Production dropped for the first time in 2 months, but WTI limped lower after the data.
Bloomberg Intelligence Energy Analyst Vince Piazza notes that attention turns to 2018 after a relatively quiet holiday season. Concerns for production growth with stout hedging likely places a ceiling on WTI in the $60 range. Domestic storage remains elevated heading into a benign 1Q, even with the tailwind of crude exports.
It’s difficult to appreciate how it gets much better for global crude with the OPEC/Russia accord in the rear view and North Sea and Canadian pipeline issues largely transitory curtailments. Regime intrigue in Saudi Arabia and broader geopolitical concerns in the region aid uncertainty and boost risk premiums, but the WTI benchmark is likely to be range bound next year on higher domestic upstream production.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/28/2017 –.

What Happens When A Russiagate Skeptic Debates A Professional Russiagater

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
Have you ever wondered why mainstream media outlets, despite being so fond of dramatic panel debates on other hot-button issues, never have critics of the Russiagate narrative on to debate those who advance it? Well, in a recent Real News interview we received an extremely clear answer to that question, and it was so epic it deserves its own article.
Real News host and producer Aaron Mat has recently emerged as one of the most articulate critics of the establishment Russia narrative and the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, and has published in The Nation some of the clearest arguments against both that I’ve yet seen. Luke Harding is a journalist for The Guardian where he has been writing prolifically in promotion of the Russiagate narrative, and is the author of New York Times bestseller Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.
In theory, it would be hard to find two journalists more qualified to debate each side of this important issue. In practice, it was a one-sided thrashing that The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill accurately described as ‘brutal’.
The term Gish gallop, named after a Young Earth creationist who was notoriously fond of employing it, refers to a fallacious debate tactic in which a bunch of individually weak arguments are strung together in rapid-fire succession in order to create the illusion of a solid argument and overwhelm the opposition’s ability to refute them all in the time allotted. Throughout the discussion the Gish gallop appeared to be the only tool that Luke Harding brought to the table, firing out a deluge of feeble and unsubstantiated arguments only to be stopped over and over again by Mat who kept pointing out when Harding was making a false or fallacious claim.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

In August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: ‘Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.’ (‘Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.’)
The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to ‘teach the Hun a lesson.’ Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, ‘millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.’
Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.
The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

BRICS the Rise & Fall

The first thing to go when a country is moving into economic crisis is the arts. This is intermixed with various social programs. As the economic crisis broadens, demand for taxing the rich rise. However, all this accomplishes is to cause capital to hide and hoard even more refusing to invest or spend and this then adds to the economic decline.
The BRICS were touted as the new rage in the world economy. The BRICS were even holding their own summits and they were supposed to surpass the G7, were all the forecasts. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa became known as the ‘BRIC’ nations back in 2001 which was a term coined by of course Goldman Sachs.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 27, 2017.

The Integrated Non-USD Platforms

The many new integrated non-USD platforms devised and constructed by China finally have critical mass. They threaten the King Dollar as global currency reserve. Clearly, the USDollar cannot be displaced in trade and banking without a viable replacement for widespread daily usage. Two years ago, critics could not point to a viable integrated system outside the USD realm. Now they can. The integration of commercial, construction, financial, transaction, investment, and even security systems can finally be described as having critical mass in displacing the USDollar. The King Dollar faces competition of a very real nature. The Jackass has promoted a major theme in the last several months, that of the Dual Universe. At first the USGovt will admit that it cannot fight the non-USD movement globally. To do so with forceful means would involve sanctions against multiple nations, and a war with both Russia & China. Their value together is formidable in halting the financial battles from becoming a global war. The United States prefers to invade and destroy indefensible nations like Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and by proxy Yemen. The USMilitary appears formidable against undeveloped nations, seeking to destroy their infra-structure and their entire economies, in pursuit of the common Langley theme of destabilization. In the process, the USMilitary since the Korean War has killed 25 million civilians, a figure receiving increased publicity. The Eastern nations and the opponents to US financial hegemony will not tolerate the abuse any longer. They have been organizing on a massive scale in the last several years. Ironically, the absent stability can be seen in the United States after coming full circle. The deep division of good versus evil, of honest versus corrupt, of renewed development versus endless war, has come to light front and center within numerous important USGovt offices and agencies.
The shape of the US nation will change with the loss of the USDollar’s status as global currency reserve. The starting point for the global resistance against the King Dollar was 9/11 and the onset of the War on Terror. It has been more aptly described as a war of terror waged by the USGovt as a smokescreen for global narcotics monopoly and tighter control of USD movements. Then later, following the Lehman failure (killjob by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) and the installation of the Zero Interest Rate Policy and Quantitative Easing as fixed monetary policies, the community of nations has been objecting fiercely. The zero bound on rates greatly distorted all asset valuations and financial markets. The hyper monetary inflation works to destroy capital in recognized steps. These (ZIRP & QE) are last ditch desperation policies designed to enable much larger liquidity for the insolvent banking structures. Without them, the big US banks would suffer failure. They also provide cover for the amplified relief efforts directed at the multi-$trillion derivative mountain. In no way, can the global tolerate unbridled monetary inflation which undermines the global banking reserves.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 December 2017.

Asian Stocks Slide On iPhone X Demand Fears; US Futures Flat In Thin Holiday Trading

For the second day in a row, most Asian markets – at least the ones that are open – were dragged lower by tech stocks and Apple suppliers, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down 0.2% led by Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing in response to the previously noted report that Apple will slash Q1 sales forecasts for iPhone X sales by 40% from 50 million to 30 million. Most Asian equity benchmarks fell except those in China. European stocks were mixed in a quiet session while U. S. equity futures are little changed as markets reopen after the Christmas holiday.
Away from Asia, stocks remained closed across the large European markets, as well as in parts of Asia including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand. Japanese benchmarks slipped from the highest levels since the early 1990s, helping to pull the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down, while shares in Dubai, Qatar and Russia were among the big losers in emerging markets. S&P 500 futures were flat as those for the Dow Jones slipped. The euro edged lower with the pound – although there were no reverberations from Monday’s odd EURUSD flash crash which was only observed on Bloomberg feeds, while Reuters ignored it even if the FT did note it…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Nigeria, Venezuela, & USA – “We’re Worse Off Today Than 50 Years Ago”

Fifty years ago, the world was a very different place.
PCs and smartphones were the stuff of Sci-Fi and numerous nations found themselves at crucial crossroads in their evolution.
While Russia and US could arguably be back in another Cold War, Pew Research asked 43,000 around the world whether life is better (or worse) now than 50 years ago.
The results may surprise you…

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

The Year Of The Headless Liberal Chicken

Authored by CJ Hopkins via Counterpunch.org,
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2017 has been the Year of the Rooster. Myself, I’ve decided to designate it the Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken.
***
I don’t mean that to be insulting … or, all right, I guess I do, a little. But my heart goes out to liberals, seriously. At this point, the amount of utterly baseless, contradictory propaganda, mass hysteria, and just flat out insanity the ruling classes have demanded they swallow is more than any human mind, no matter how medicated, could possibly handle. Is it any wonder so many of them of lost it and started seeing Nazis and Russians coming out of the woodwork?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.

The Dangerous Dream of Secession

A fundamental requirement for lasting peace and prosperity is to reject government by coercive monopolies such as we have had for all of human history. How anyone can expect a government invested with a monopoly on violence to restrain itself from bullying people whenever it can get away with it is difficult to understand. Most people apparently refuse to explore alternatives to statism and hope their particular government doesn’t go the way of Zimbabwe or Venezuela – or Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.
As I’ve detailed in my book The Fall of Tyranny, The Rise of Liberty we have two strong trends working in our favor: the inevitable blowup of state finances, coupled with the exponential growth of digital technologies. The result of these forces – state bankruptcy and exponential tech growth – will put individuals and voluntary associations front and center in everyday life.
Recently, and paradoxically, mankind’s number one futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted that nation states will become the horse and buggy of our future, while assuring the world a universal basic income (UBI) will emerge from the sick beds of declining states. Come again? Kurzweil and his billionaire pal Mark Zuckerberg, who’s also touting a UBI and saying ‘People like me should pay for it,’ ought to look more closely at their positions.
The exponential pace of technology is evolving into a merger of humans with their technology as miniaturization on an atomic scale enables an enhancement or replacement of our biological substrate. As Kurzweil notes in The Singularity is Near, ‘all of these technologies quickly become so inexpensive as to become almost free.’ Humans enhanced with nanotech won’t need a UBI even if states were able to provide it.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Sunday, 17 December 2017.

16/12/17: Remember the Russian Attack on the Internet?

In 2016, a bot, named Mirai, wrecked havoc over the global internet with massive waves of DoS attacks on anything, from French telecoms, to U. S. web services, to Russian banks, to African airports and beyond. Per Wired, “As the 2016 US presidential election drew near, fears began to mount that the so-called Mirai botnet might be the work of a nation-state practicing for an attack that would cripple the country as voters went to the polls.”
Of course, the minute there is any suspicion of the ‘nation-state’ actors behind the attack, we know that is the code word for ‘the Russians’. And, of course, given the sheer number of ‘security research’ lackeys eagerly awaiting for the U. S. or UK or EU dollars/pounds/euros in grants and subsidies, the ‘Russian’ spectre loomed large in the wake of Mirai havoc. Here’s a snapshot:

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, December 16, 2017.

Watch Live: Rosenstein Takes The Hot Seat As Republican Fury Over FBI Bias Heats Up

Moments from now Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has the unfortunate role of overseeing Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation, will take the hot seat before the House Judiciary Committee to get grilled by Republicans on what increasingly appears to be a hopelessly conflicted FBI.
As we’ve pointed out repeatedly over the past week (see here for the latest: “Trump Should Go F Himself” – Texts Leak From FBI Agents On Russia Probe, Hillary Emails Investigation), Mueller’s lead FBI agent, Peter Strzok, was completely exposed as a political hack after anti-Trump text messages between he and his mistress were revealed. The text messages allegedly resulted in his sudden dismissal back in August even though they were not revealed to the public until recently.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 13, 2017.

Public Enemy No. 1: Walls Closing In On Peter Strzok As Questions Arise Over His Involvement In FISA Application

Over the past 10 days we’ve learned a lot about FBI agent Peter Strzok, a man who very likely would have lived the remainder of his life in relative obscurity as an FBI counterintelligence agent but for his sudden dismissal from Special Counsel Mueller’s “Russian Collusion” investigation.
As we noted on December 2nd (see: Mueller’s Top FBI Agent Probing Clinton Emails, Russian-Collusion “Removed” After Anti-Trump Texts Found), Strzok’s life became far more complicated when it was revealed that his dismissal from Mueller’s team was linked to the discovery of multiple “anti-Trump text messages” shared with a colleague…a colleague with whom he happened to be having an extramarital affair.
Of course, like most twisted Washington D. C. scandals, his overt political bias and anti-Trump text messages were only the tip of the iceberg as it was subsequently discovered that Strzok not only held a leading role in the Hillary email investigation but potentially single-handedly saved her from prosecution by making the now-infamous change in Comey’s final statement to describe her email abuses as “extremely careless” rather than the original language of “grossly negligent.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.

Russia May Turn To Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency To Challenge Sanctions & The Petrodollar

The gradual acceptance of digital currencies, with major exchanges about to launch bitcoin futures trading, may prompt some oil producing nations to ditch the US dollar in crude trade in favor of cryptocurrencies, an oil analyst says.
***
As RT reports, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have more than one thing in common.
All three are major oil producing nations dependent on the dollar since the global crude market is traditionally dominated by contracts denominated in US currency.
Moscow, Tehran and Caracas are also facing US sanctions; penalties which are proving effective since the sanctioned countries are dependent on the US dollar to sell their crude.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

The $10 Trillion Investment Plan To Integrate The Eurasian Supercontinent

Authored by Federico Pieraccini of Strategic Culture
The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), by lending out money using an alternative currency to the dollar, opens up huge spaces for investment and the strategic transformation of the region.
The overland integration of the BRI, led by China and Russia, aims to create different transit routes for goods as well as different areas of economic development along the new Chinese Silk Road. A great opportunity is thereby opened up for Chinese banks and for private investors interested in creating infrastructure or developing potential industrial poles in the countries involved in this grand Chinese initiative.
Hong Qi, president of China Minsheng Bank, recently said during an economic forum held in Beijing regarding investments in the BRI that there is potentially about $10 trillion worth of investments in infrastructure in the countries that make up the BRI, such as in railways, urban development, logistics and cross-border e-commerce.
At this point, more than $10 billion has already been committed in investments, thanks to companies already present in over thirty countries and regions along the BRI, with the ongoing intention of financing these loans through China’s public and private sectors. According to data from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, a total of nine Chinese banks are involved in the financing of projects, with 62 branches having been opened in 26 countries. A further $10 billion could come from European countries as a result of investments stemming from the China-CEEC forum.
Despite a delay in investment, and especially in the development of such projects, analysts believe that the BRI is the ideal ground for making regional cooperation agreements based on trust and win-win prospects for future integration of the region. Thus, not only are public and private banks involved in investments but the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund are also part of the financial package that should lay the foundation for the accelerated development of the Chinese BRI. Confirming a new approach to the development of the BRI, Chinese investors during the first ten months of 2017 proposed projects totalling $11 billion in the 53 countries involved.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 9, 2017.

Is Oil About to Collapse?

US producers simply don’t play along with OPEC and Russia.
WTI really does look like it is about to collapse. Let’s be clear, I am not necessarily talking about a return to the sub-$30 of the beginning of 2016 here, but a return to the more recent lows around $42 before too long is distinctly possible, and if that happens, who knows where we go from there? There are, as I have noted in the past, reasons to believe that the long-term path of oil is still upward, but more immediately there is one dominant factor that keeps adding downward pressure, large and still growing supply from North American shale producers.
Some say, as in this FT piece, that there are signs that U. S. shale production has peaked, but then that was also supposed to be the case in 2015 and 2016. I am sure that if I could bother to go back further I would find that the same thing was said in previous years too. The fact is though, that as the EIA chart below shows, after dropping off as price declined at earlier this year, U. S. crude production is growing again and will be higher this year than last and is expected to be higher again in 2018.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Martin Tiller ‘ Dec 9, 2017.

Wisconsin Governor Pushes Forward With Plan To Drug Test Food Stamp Recipients

After yesterday’s latest botched hit job by CNN on president Trump, which came exactly one week after the fiasco where erroneous ABC reporting on the Flynn affair sent the market tumbling, it was only a matter of time before Trump lashed out at the news network whose credibility and influence is evaporating with every fabricated story.
A little after 8am on Saturday, he did just that slamming CNN of making a “vicious and intentional mistake” over the network’s effective retraction, when it was forced to correct an erroneous news report related to the Trump/Russia probe. Having been on the receiving end of three “fake news” stories in the past week, betwee the ABC Flynn debacle, the Bloomberg Deutsche Bank subpoena, and now CNN, Trump demanded that CNN fire “those responsible,” and commented that an ABC reporter who was suspended for a separate erroneous report should be fired as well.
“Fake News CNN made a vicious and purposeful mistake yesterday. They were caught red handed, just like lonely Brian Ross at ABC News (who should be immediately fired for his ‘mistake’),” Trump wrote. “Watch to see if @CNN fires those responsible, or was it just gross incompetence?” It is worth noting that Ross was not fired but rather suspended for 4 weeks.
In a second tweet, the president suggested CNN change their slogan after the report to “the least trusted name in news.”
“CNN’S slogan is CNN, THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS. Everyone knows this is not true, that this could, in fact, be a fraud on the American Public. There are many outlets that are far more trusted than Fake News CNN. Their slogan should be CNN, THE LEAST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS!” the president tweeted.
Fake News CNN made a vicious and purposeful mistake yesterday. They were caught red handed, just like lonely Brian Ross at ABC News (who should be immediately fired for his ‘mistake’). Watch to see if @CNN fires those responsible, or was it just gross incompetence?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 9, 2017.

Trump Lashes Out At “Fake News” CNN For “Vicious And Purposeful” Mistake, Demands Terminations

After yesterday’s latest botched hit job by CNN on president Trump, which came exactly one week after the fiasco where erroneous ABC reporting on the Flynn affair sent the market tumbling, it was only a matter of time before Trump lashed out at the news network whose credibility and influence is evaporating with every fabricated story.
A little after 8am on Saturday, he did just that slamming CNN of making a “vicious and intentional mistake” over the network’s effective retraction, when it was forced to correct an erroneous news report related to the Trump/Russia probe. Having been on the receiving end of three “fake news” stories in the past week, betwee the ABC Flynn debacle, the Bloomberg Deutsche Bank subpoena, and now CNN, Trump demanded that CNN fire “those responsible,” and commented that an ABC reporter who was suspended for a separate erroneous report should be fired as well.
“Fake News CNN made a vicious and purposeful mistake yesterday. They were caught red handed, just like lonely Brian Ross at ABC News (who should be immediately fired for his ‘mistake’),” Trump wrote. “Watch to see if @CNN fires those responsible, or was it just gross incompetence?” It is worth noting that Ross was not fired but rather suspended for 4 weeks.
In a second tweet, the president suggested CNN change their slogan after the report to “the least trusted name in news.”
“CNN’S slogan is CNN, THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS. Everyone knows this is not true, that this could, in fact, be a fraud on the American Public. There are many outlets that are far more trusted than Fake News CNN. Their slogan should be CNN, THE LEAST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS!” the president tweeted.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 9, 2017.

Here’s Why Trump’s Lawyer Is Denying that Deutsche Bank Got a Subpoena

A lawyer who is part of President Donald Trump’s legal defense team, Jay Sekulow, has denied the news reports that Deutsche Bank has received a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for banking records related to Trump and his family members.
In a statement to Reuters, Sekulow stated:
‘We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false. No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.’
But in the same article that relayed that statement from Sekulow, Reuters’ reporters Arno Schuetze and Karen Freifeld undercut the credibility of Sekulow’s statement by writing the following:
‘A U. S. federal investigator probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U. S. presidential election asked Deutsche Bank for data on accounts held by President Donald Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday, but Trump’s lawyer denied any such subpoena had been issued.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 7, 2017.

The One Indicator OPEC Must Watch

Authored by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com,
‘We will not let go of our current approach until we reach a balanced market,’ Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih saidMonday at a news conference in Riyadh.
OPEC ended months of speculation last week when it decided to extend its production cuts through the end of 2018, easing concerns that the limits would be lifted before the oil market was ready. But while it put some uncertainty to rest, the next question is what OPEC does when the oil market becomes ‘balanced’? What is the exit strategy?
There isn’t one at the moment, and we can assume OPEC doesn’t know what comes next. But we do know that the group has one key metric in mind: inventories. The target is to bring global oil inventories back down to the five-year average.
Oil inventories exploded between 2014 and 2017, hitting record levels that left the world awash in oil. That metric, arguably more than any other, exemplified the glut of supply that led to the crash of prices.
It has been a stubborn thing, getting those inventories back down to average levels. A wave of shale bankruptcies didn’t do it, the vanishing rig count didn’t do it either. That led OPEC and a handful of non-OPEC countries led by Russia to limit their production. But even that deal didn’t seem to be doing the trick at the start of 2017, as inventories remained stuck at elevated levels. The euphoria that followed the announcement of the initial deal gave way to a renewed sense of gloom, which pushed WTI back down into the low-$40s by mid-2017.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

“Astonishing And Disturbing” Email Exposes Mueller Deputy As Anti-Trumper

The rumblings that Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation is perilously compromised by political bias are about to grow a whole lot louder.
Just a couple of days after it was revealed that FBI veteran, Peter Strzok, was removed from Mueller’s team due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (whom he happened to be having an extra-marital affair with), and hours after the WSJ editorial board called for Mueller to step down for being “too conflicted”, Judicial Watch has released emails obtained via FOIA that reveal another agent and a Mueller deputy, Andrew Weissmann, praising former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ efforts to defy a direct order from President Trump on the enforcement of his travel ban executive order.
“I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.