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.

Serially Charged Deutsche Bank Gets a Subpoena from Mueller

If Deutsche Bank is trying to remove itself from scandalous headlines, it’s not doing a very good job at it.
The German language newspaper, Handelsblatt, reported yesterday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed bank records from Deutsche Bank relating to President Trump and his family members. Handelsblatt writes that ‘The former real-estate baron has done billions of dollars’ worth of business with Deutsche Bank over the past two decades, and First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are also clients.’ The central focus of the Mueller probe is the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
On May 23 of this year, Congresswoman Maxine Walters and other House Democrats sent John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank, a letter regarding its ties to the Trump family and Russia. The letter began:
‘We write seeking information relating to two internal reviews reportedly conducted by Deutsche Bank (‘Bank’): one regarding its 2011 Russian mirror trading scandal and the other regarding its review of the personal accounts of President Donald Trump and his family members held at the Bank. What is troubling is that the Bank to our knowledge has thus far refused to disclose or publicly comment on the results of either of its internal reviews. As a result, there is no transparency regarding who participated in, or benefited from, the Russian mirror trading scheme that allowed $10 billion to flow out of Russia. Likewise, Congress remains in the dark on whether loans Deutsche Bank made to President Trump were guaranteed by the Russian Government, or were in any way connected to Russia. It is critical that you provide this Committee with the information necessary to assess the scope, findings and conclusions of your internal reviews.
‘Deutsche Bank’s failure to put adequate anti-money laundering controls in place to prevent a group of traders from improperly and secretly transferring more than $10 billion out of Russia is concerning. According to press reports, this scheme was carried out by traders in Russia who converted rubles into dollars through security trades that lacked any legitimate economic rationale. The settlement agreements reached between the Bank and the New York Department of Financial Services as well as the U. K. Financial Conduct Authority raise questions about the particular Russian individuals involved in the scheme, where their money went, and who may have benefited from the vast sums transferred out of Russia. Moreover, around the same time, Deutsche Bank was involved in an elaborate scheme known as ‘The Russian Laundromat,’ ‘The Global Laundromat,’ or ‘The Moldovan Scheme,’ in which $20 billion in funds of criminal origin from Russia were processed through dozens of financial institutions.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 5, 2017.

Dismissed FBI Agent Is One Who Changed Hillary Email Scandal Language From “Grossly Negligent” To “Extremely Careless”

Over the weekend we noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top FBI investigator into ‘Russian meddling’, agent Peter Strzok, was removed from the probe due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (a colleague whom he also happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
Not surprisingly, the discovery prompted a visceral response from Trump via Twitter:
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

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

Mueller Goes After Trump’s Bank Accounts, Subpoenas Deutsche Bank

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, demanding that it disclose details of transactions and documents on accounts help by President Trump and members of his family as the “Russian collusion” probe now turns its attention to Trump’s bank accounts. According to Handelsblatt, which first reported the news, the bank received the subpoena several weeks ago. Trump has had a banking relationship with Deutsche Bank dating back nearly two decades and the German lender’s $300 million loan accounts for nearly half of his outstanding debt (based on a July 2016 analysis by Bloomberg). Trump’s debt to Deutsche includes $170m relating to a Washington hotel.
The media is taking the Deutsche Bank news as a sign that Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 alleged campaign is ‘deepening’. However, it was clear that a subpoena was coming more than four months ago (see below) and, besides Michael Flynn, Mueller’s investigation has included interviews with three other former Trump aides recently, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg, according to people familiar with the investigation.
As Bloomberg adds, “the news comes as Mueller’s investigation appears to be entering a new phase, with Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleading guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents, becoming the fourth associate of the president ensnared by Mueller’s probe. More significantly, he also is providing details to Mueller about the Trump campaign’s approach to Flynn’s controversial meeting with a Russian envoy during the presidential transition.”

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

More Anti-Trump Messages Reportedly Sent By Members Of Mueller’s Team: “A Lot More Is Going To Come Out”

Days after it emerged that former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok was fired from Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe in August for sending anti-Trump text messages to his mistress while the two were working together on the Clinton email investigation, Sara Carter of Circa told a Fox News panel that there are more anti-Trump messages sent by Mueller’s team floating around.
Carter previously emerged as one of the handful of people to review documents obtained by an undercover FBI informantembedded in the Russian uranium industry. Appearing on Hannity’s show Monday night, Carter was asked about rumors of more anti-Trump sentiment expressed by Mueller’s team:
Sean Hannity: I’m hearing rumors all over the place Sara Carter that there are other anti-Trump text-emails out there. And we know about them. Sara Carter: I think you’re hearing correctly Sean and I think a lot more is going to come out. In fact, I know a lot more is going to come out based on the sources I’ve spoken to.

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

USAToday: If Michael Flynn’s ‘Crime’ Is All Robert Mueller Has… It’s Time To Move On

Transitions include the president-elect talking to foreign officials. That’s not treason; that’s the job description.
***
On Friday, President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a perfectly legal conversation he had during the presidential transition with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn should not have lied, and why he chose to remains a mystery, but the substance of the single-count indictment against Flynn shows that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has strayed far from its original purpose.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

Anti-Trump FBI Agent Changed Language Of Hillary Email Scandal From “Grossly Negligent” To “Extremely Careless”

Over the weekend we noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top FBI investigator into ‘Russian meddling’, agent Peter Strzok, was removed from the probe due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (a colleague whom he also happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
Not surprisingly, the discovery prompted a visceral response from Trump via Twitter:
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

“Accusing Someone You Disagree With Of Being A Russian Troll Is Admitting You Have No Argument”

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
I shouldn’t have to write this article. And yet, here we are…
***
I don’t care who you are or how much Palmer Report you read: accusing someone who disagrees with you of conducting psyops for a foreign government is never, ever a normal or acceptable way of conducting political discourse.
I tweeted the above yesterday after noticing another uptick in the bizarre habit establishment loyalists have of labeling anyone who disagrees with them as Russian trolls. And, though I didn’t address it to her and made no mention of her, Louise Mensch took it personally.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

3/12/17: Russian and BRICS debt dynamics since 2012

Back in 2014, Russia entered a period of recessionary economic dynamics, coupled with the diminishing access to foreign debt markets. Ever since, I occasionally wrote about the positive impact of the economy’s deleveraging from debt. Here is the latest evidence from the BIS on the subject, positing Russia in comparative to the rest of the BRICS economies:

This post was published at True Economics on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

FX Weekly Preview: Tax Cuts, Rising Debt, Fed Hikes And More “Fake” News; USD Vol Rising

After a week when little other than politics has been ‘running’ the currency and rates markets, we expect more of the same but with the (now) backdrop of tier one data in the US to look to towards the latter end of this week. US payrolls is something which will be put on the back-burner as traders and investors alike size up the reaction to the Senate vote on the tax (cut) bill, which will be exacerbated by the retraction of the ABC story on Michael Flynn. The initial release on Friday reported the former national security adviser was ready to testify that Donald Trump had directed him to contact the Russians whilst a running candidate, but this was corrected to president elect which is standard procedure in foreign policy. The reporter, Brian Ross has since been dismissed by ABC, much to the satisfaction of the president, who continues to fight the good fight against fake news.
There will in all likelihood, be many more twists and turns, and no doubt more news – fake or otherwise – but next week will likely see US equities testing higher again, followed by the carry trade, but to a lesser degree. USD/JPY took a sharp downturn from near 113.00 levels, before dip buyers contained the sell off to the mid 111.00’s, and ending the week above 112.00 is likely to see a return to the highs before the market then starts to evaluate the effective gains of the tax cut bill, which has yet to meet agreement between House and Senate. The president expects to sign off this legislation by year end.
Back to the economy, where we will need to see continued improvement in order to underpin the 3 Fed hikes anticipated next year, and US factory orders on Monday kick off the week, followed by the ISM non manufacturing indices on Tuesday. Then it’s all eyes on the Nov payrolls report on Friday, where the consensus is for a 200k rise in the headline number, but hourly earnings seen tailing off from the 0.5% seen in Oct. We continue to see 2.50% capping 10yr yields, and as a such, the upper end of the USD/JPY range looks even less likely to exceed 115.00. Japanese GDP for Q3 due out on Thursday, but at 1.5% expected, is hardly going to light the fire under the JPY. Growth is picking up pace however, and provides food for thought further down the line when considering longer term (JPY) undervaluation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

Flynn Flush Rescues ‘VIX Elephant’ As ’50 Cent’ Backs Up The Truck

The ‘VIX Elephant’ has awakened. And ’50 Cent’ is back.
That’s the mysterious-sounding ointroduction to a notable market insight from Bloomberg this mornig as they note the turmoil surrounding Mike Flynn headlines – spiking VIX and slamming stocks – provided two big options market ‘whales’ with some relief and room to move…
First, the trader who’s known as the Elephant for making big moves in the VIX — but who’s been surprisingly quiet in recent weeks — returned with a vengeance to start December, buying and selling more than 2 million contracts Friday to continue betting on a modest rise in the Cboe Volatility Index. That’s three times the average daily volume for all VIX options.
The Elephant caught a major break thanks to the sharp retreat in the S&P 500 Index following reports that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would implicate members of President Donald Trump’s transition team in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The VIX spiked to as high as 14.58 as equities tumbled.
Pravit Chintawongvanich, head of derivatives strategy at Macro Risk Advisors, said the investor had been poised to lose $20 million to $30 million on the December leg of this trade before Friday, but was able to escape with a loss of less than $2 million in closing up those positions.
‘They got really lucky with the selloff today,’ Chintawongvanich said.
‘They were down a lot on the December position, and this allows them to get out of it without too much of a loss.’

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

WTI Slumps Despite OPEC ‘Deal’ As Russia Questions Remain

Both WTI and RBOB prices are tumbling this morning after OPEC member agree to limit oil output through the end of 2018. While this is bullishly longer-than-expected (6-9mo was expected), OPEC members now rely on Russia to agree to these terms, and it appears the market is questioning that. Furthermore, despite US shale output at record highs, Saudi officials are shrugging off any impact.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, OPEC members agreed in principle Thursday to keep limiting their output through the end of 2018, according to people familiar with the matter, providing assurance for an oil industry still struggling through a fragile recovery.
The accord signals that the world’s biggest oil-producing countries believe that a global oversupply of oil is still weighing down oil prices, even a year after they struck their first agreement to cut crude production. Oil in storage – a proxy for the global glut – remains well above historical averages, national oil ministers said.
Any agreement OPEC strikes will be contingent on support from a group of producers outside the cartel led by Russia, which pumps more crude than any country in the world. The Russia-led delegations are meeting with OPEC to hash out a final agreement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

The US Aristocracy’s Smear-Russia Campaign: Big Brother At Work

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Billionaires, both liberal and conservative ones, own, and their corporations advertise in and their ‘charities’ donate to, America’s mainstream (and also many ‘alternative news’) media.
They do this not so as to profit directly from the national ‘news’media (a money-losing business, in itself), but so as to control the ‘news’ that the voting public (right and left) are exposed to and thus will accept as being ‘mainstream’ and will reject all else as being ‘fringe’ or even ‘fake news’, even if what’s actually fake is, in fact, the billionaires’ own mainstream ‘news’, such as their ‘news’media had most famously ‘reported’ about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ (but the’news’media never changed after that scandal – even after having pumped uncritically that blatant lie to the public).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.