• Tag Archives Scotland
  • Fun on Friday: World Gold Panning Championships

    As we’ve reported before, panning for gold is a fast-growing hobby. I get it. I can see the fun in getting out into nature with family and friends. You get to experience the beauty of the great outdoors, enjoy some physical activity, and of course, there’s always the possibility of striking it rich – however unlikely that might be.
    But in my opinion, some people have taken this gold panning craze a little too far. They’ve turned it into a competitive sport. No kidding. This year marks 40th anniversary of the World Gold Panning Championships.
    This year, Moffatt, Scotland will host the championships. They’ve actually been doing this since 1977. The first World Gold Panning Championships were held in Finland.
    I don’t want to offend any of you competitive gold panners out there, but I just don’t get it.
    Here’s how the competition works, as reported by the BBC.
    There are a range of different categories in which 30 competitors at a time each receive a bucket of sand and gravel containing a few flakes of gold. They race against the clock to find as many pieces as they can with the quickest progressing to the next round. The winner on finals day is then crowned world champion.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on AUGUST 18, 2017.


  • The Ambergris Factor

    In the American whaling industry, which got underway during the eighteenth century, whalers slaughtered the giant Sperm whale for sperm oil, which came from the head and blubber and was important as a fuel for lamps. Another type of oil, called spermaceti from the head, became the chief ingredient in candles. While boiling up the blubber and parts of the Sperm whale, whalers occasionally noticed a very pleasing fragrance. It turns out this was a third oil-like substance, located in the intestines of the whale. Called ambergris, it became the basis for very expensive perfume. The problem was that the whalers found ambergris in very few of the whales they killed; nevertheless, the substance brought them a good income because the perfume manufacturers paid extremely high prices for it. So the whalers killed a lot of Sperm whales looking for those chosen few who had the right stuff.’ – The Fall of 1st Executive, by Gary Schulte
    Must Read Puplava: We’re in the Final Phase of Another Market Bubble
    Ladies and gentlemen, investing is a lot like whaling. Investors are constantly searching for that whale of a stock with the ‘right stuff’ . . . aka the ‘ambergris factor.’ Indeed, there have been many such ‘whales’ on the Street of Dreams since the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘sell everything’ advice at the January/February of 2016 stock market lows. The problem with some of these ‘whales’ is that they have become so large they are going to have a tough time continuing to grow at their previous rate; and, that’s the key, G-R-O-W-T-H. On Wall Street ‘growth’ is the pleasing fragrance that brings in buyers and makes stocks go up and way up! Moreover, growth and growth rates are what legendary investor Peter Lynch looked for in selecting stocks. As he explained in his book One Up On Wall Street, it’s all based on the arithmetic of compound earnings. To wit:

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 08/07/2017.


  • 2017 – The Year Without an Arctic Summer?

    They are calling this in the Year without an Arctic Summer. The Greenland Ice Sheet is gaining near record amounts of ice this year. Very little melting has occurred this summer, which is about to start coming to an end. Europe has been unusually cool once again after last year ice wiped out crops all the way down into Spain creating shortages of vegetables. With the sun activity declining and the North Pole reversing direction in 2000 heading toward Europe rather than Canada, things are not exactly supporting the Global Warming crowd. Since 1860, the magnetic pole shift has more than doubled every 50 years. That is rather significant. In geological terms, this is extremely rapid and could be the prelude to a pole shift nobody understands.
    Still, during the past 150 years, the pole shift has been in the same direction. The most astonishing fact is that since 2000, the magnetic North Pole has shifted nearly half of the total distance of the past 50 years! In other words, the pole shift has apparently picked up speed so much so that they have had to re-calibrate airports and their GPS signals so planes can still find them. Europe is getting colder. Friends in Scotland have relayed that had a spectacular summer this year – it lasted a whole two days! The earth is changing rapidly. We are overdue for a major pole shift (see Maya Report). The poles flip on the Sun every 11 years. We have no idea what the net result will be on Earth since the last flip was well before recorded history.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Aug 6, 2017.


  • Asian Metals Market Update: July-17-2017

    It was quite a week last week. For the bears of gold and silver, it was the distance between the slip and the lip. Trump’s Russia connections and a hawkish Federal Reserve came to the rescue of gold and silver bulls. Low inflation will reduce the pace of interest rate hikes. Interest rates in the USA will rise at a faster pace if and only if the Federal Reserve ignores inflation and focusses on other macro factors of the US economy. Global central banks and not just the Federal Reserve do not have room to reduce liquidity by much. If they increase interest rates at a quicker pace till next year, then a lot of so called ‘too large to fail’ banks could be get. There are also certain sectors in every nation which are nearing bubble zone and could get busted due to quicker interest rate hikes. Gold and silver will zoom once traders perceive that interest rate hikes have formed a medium term top.
    China is on a land encroachment spree with most of its neighbors. Other than its northern borders with Russia China is unofficially increasing its land boundaries. Some nations have succumbed to China while others like India under an able political leadership are now trying to counter China. War/skirmishes with China are imminent as far as India is concerned. Chinese land encroachment policy will result in increase in the pace of rise in physical gold demand from Asia. Chinese government policies ensure that gold buying reaches to each and every strata of its people. (Unlike Indian government which is trying to take all steps to dissuade Indians to buy gold).
    The effects of the Islamization of Europe are being felt in a big way. In my view the UK more or less has a state support to Islamic terrorists. All global terror organizations openly raise funding in the UK. The Scotland Yard knows the terrorists and supports the global Islamic terrorists as long as they are able to use them. So called British exit from the EU will be more peaceful for the Eurozone as UK terror imports will reduce. Europe’s daily rise in terror threats will ensure that gold and other safe havens demand will be on the boil over the coming years.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 July 2017.


  • RBS Pays $5.5 BIllion To Settle US Mortgage-Backed Securities Probe

    Another day, another British bank fined billions of dollars for its past-life transgressions.
    Moments ago Royal Bank of Scotland announced it has agreed to pay $5.5 billion to the U. S. Federal Housing Finance Agency to settle a probe into its sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities ahead of the financial crisis, part of what it says was a ‘heavy price’ paid for over-expansion before the financial crisis. The settlement targets $32 billion in debt issued by housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    “This settlement is a stark reminder of what happened to this bank before the financial crisis, and the heavy price paid for its pursuit of global ambitions” said RBS CEO Ross McEwan, adding that it was an ‘important step forward in resolving one of the most significant legacy matters facing RBS’. There was some good news: RBS is eligible for a $754 million reimbursement under indemnification agreements with third parties.

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


  • In America’s Richest State, the Capital Flirts With Bankruptcy

    The hedge-fund enclave of Greenwich, on the Connecticut Gold Coast, is about 100 miles and a world away from the state capital.
    But the fiscal crisis in Hartford, the historic center of the American insurance industry, is fast becoming more representative than mansions or yachts of the wealthiest state in the U.S. The city is edging closer than ever to the breaking point, waiting for the financially troubled state government to step in.
    It may seem crazy that a place as rich as the Nutmeg State, which counts among its residents hedge-funds masters like Ray Dalio and Steven A. Cohen and legions of Wall Street bankers, could be in such fiscal trouble. Last year, the per-capita income there was $71,033, the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    For all that, state-worker pensions have been underfunded for decades. Tax increases aimed at closing deficits have put a strain on an economy struggling from the loss of high-paying finance jobs, leaving it among the few that still haven’t recovered from the recession. The hedge fund industry fell on hard times, with about 1,060 shuttering globally last year. UBS Group AG abandoned the world’s largest trading floor in Stamford after the financial crisis, and the Royal Bank of Scotland downsized its office there. Pension, debt and health-care costs just kept growing.
    ‘There’s a limit to how much you can tax and there’s a limit to how much you can cut before you damage the viability and attractiveness of the city,’ Mayor Luke Bronin said in May. ‘Right now, from a fiscal standpoint, you have a capital city fighting with its hands behind its back.”

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • The Treasonous Secession Of Climate Confederacy States

    After President Trump rejected the Paris Climate treaty, which had never been ratified by the Senate, the European Union announced that it would work with a climate confederacy of secessionist US states.
    Scotland and Norway’s environmental ministers have mentioned a focus on individual American states. And the secessionist governments of California, New York and Washington have announced that they will unilaterally and illegally enter into a foreign treaty rejected by the President of the United States.
    The Constitution is very clear about this. ‘No state shall enter into any treaty.’ Governor Cuomo of New York has been equally clear. ‘New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions.’
    Cuomo’s statement conveniently comes in French, Chinese and Russian translations.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.


  • Metal detectorist to receive 2m reward for discovering Britain’s biggest Viking hoard

    Derek McLennan, 50, a retired businessman, found the remarkable 10th century artefacts in a field on church land in the south west of Scotland in 2014.
    The haul included silver bracelets, brooches and ingots, a gold ring, an enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin.
    He has since complained about the time taken to make a decision on what should happen to the treasure, but has now learned that he stands to receive 1,982,200.
    Sharon McKee, Mr McLennan’s partner, who is also involved in his treasure hunting, wrote on Facebook that that they felt ‘honoured and feel privileged to have saved this internationally significant treasure’.

    This post was published at The Telegraph


  • When Robots Take All of Our Jobs, Remember the Luddites

    If you don’t think the transformation we’re embarked upon is a profound one, consider this: Within two decades, half the jobs in this country may be performed by robots. What then of our unemployment rate and social safety net? Opinion is divided: Will the next technological wave further skew the wealth distribution toward the uber-rich, or will it ultimately create more entrepreneurial and job opportunities than it destroys?
    There is an interesting historical precedent for our situation, an era during which the technological firmament shifted just as abruptly as it is here and now. In the United Kingdom in the year 1800, the textile industry dominated economic life, particularly in Northern England and Scotland. Cotton-spinners, weavers (mostly of stockings), and croppers (who trimmed large sheets of woven wool) worked from home, were well compensated, and enjoyed ample leisure time.
    Ten years later, that had all changed. Clive Thompson, the author of today’s Outside the Box, tells us what happened:
    (I)n the first decade of the 1800s, the textile economy went into a tailspin. A decade of war with Napoleon had halted trade and driven up the cost of food and everyday goods. Fashions changed, too: Men began wearing ‘trowsers,’ so the demand for stockings plummeted. The merchant class – the overlords who paid hosiers and croppers and weavers for the work – began looking for ways to shrink their costs.
    That meant reducing wages – and bringing in more technology to improve efficiency. A new form of shearer and ‘gig mill’ let one person crop wool much more quickly. An innovative, ‘wide’ stocking frame allowed weavers to produce stockings six times faster than before: Instead of weaving the entire stocking around, they’d produce a big sheet of hosiery and cut it up into several stockings. ‘Cut-ups’ were shoddy and fell apart quickly, and could be made by untrained workers who hadn’t done apprenticeships, but the merchants didn’t care. They also began to build huge factories where coal-burning engines would propel dozens of automated cotton-weaving machines….

    This post was published at Mauldin Economics on MAY 3, 2017.


  • Scotland Wants a Second Referendum to Exit UK

    The Scottish government wants a second referendum on independence from the UK. The Parliament in Edinburgh will decide as soon as next week, as the Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. The referendum could take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. Of course, this would really be a brain-dead action if Scotland believes it should remain inside the EU. That would be trading one benevolent union to a totalitarian one.
    Armstrong Economics

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 29, 2017.


  • Global Stocks Drop Ahead Of Fed Rate Decision; Dollar Rises As Sterling Tumbles

    European stocks declined for first session in five ahead of Wednesday’s Dutch elections, debt ceiling expiration and the conclusion of the Fed’s 2-day meeting where it is expected to raise rates by 25 bps. Tightening concerns emerged, also dragging down Asian shares and S&P futures, while the dollar continued its rise for a second day. Crude oil has ended its six-day drop. The pound tumbled 0.8% to the lowest since mid-January in a delayed reaction after Theresa May won permission to trigger the country’s departure from the EU. On today’s US calendar, we get the Producer Price Index although most NYC-based traders are likely taking a snow day off or trading from home.
    A quick reminder of the key events this week:
    The Fed’s 26 bps increase is expected on Wednesday. The Bank of England, Swiss National Bank, Bank of Japan and Bank Indonesia are expected to keep monetary policies unchanged on Thursday. The Dutch go to the polls on March 15. G-20 finance ministers will gather in Germany for a series of meetings. Trump is expected to unveil his budget In a relatively quiet session, the standout move was the plunge sterling which dropped on Tuesday after Britain’s parliament paved the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to launch divorce talks with the European Union. Curiously, on Monday, sterling had jumped 0.4 percent after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon demanded a new independent referendum in late 2018 or early 2019, once the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU are clearer with the delayed selloff coming largely on priced-in news.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 14, 2017.


  • Brexit Might Pave the Way for an Independent Scotland

    The BBC reports today that Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she’ll seek a new referendum on Scottish independence to be held in late 2018 or early 2019:
    That would coincide with the expected conclusion of the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU. … She will ask the Scottish Parliament next Tuesday to request a Section 30 order from Westminster. …The order would be needed to allow a fresh legally-binding referendum on independence to be held.
    These “Scottish interests” to which Sturgeon refers stem from the long-asserted position by Scottish politicians that a majority of Scottish voters opposed Brexit, and wish to remain part of the European Union. In response to the successful referendum to withdraw from the EU, Scotland has instead said it must somehow be allowed to be a part of both the EU and the UK:
    But speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a “hard Brexit” and becoming an independent country.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on March 14, 2017.


  • Scotland’s Sturgeon To Seek Second Independence Referendum, Expects Vote After Fall 2018

    As discussed earlier, moments ago Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she would seek steps to set out a new independence referendum. Sturgeon, speaking from Bute House, the first minister’s official residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said ‘it is important that Scotland is able to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide our own path.”
    STURGEON: WILL TAKE STEPS TO LET SCOTS DECIDE ON INDEPENDENCE STURGEON: WILL SEEK SCOT PARLIAMENT NEXT WEEK FOR SECTION 30 SCOTLAND TO TAKE STEPS TO NEW INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM NEXT WEEK STURGEON: EARLIEST POINT FOR VOTE IS NEXT AUTUMN – BBG STURGEON SEES SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE VOTE FALL ’18 TO SPRING ’19 Of the headline above, perhaps the most important is that Sturgeon sees the next Scottish independence vote to take place between fall 2018 and spring 2019, thus providing a substantial time buffer from when the UK is expected to submit Article 50, which could come as soon as this week.
    Sturgeon said ‘What Scotland deserves is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way’ and added that “I will now take the steps necessary to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process.”
    She also said the Scottish National Party’s mandate for a second referendum ‘is beyond doubt’ after the result of last June’s Brexit vote, in which 62 per cent of Scottish voters backed remain.

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


  • U.K. government-backed Royal Bank of Scotland reports almost 7 billion loss for 2016

    The Royal Bank of Scotland has posted a 6.96bn loss for 2016, a sharp rise from the 2.7bn recorded in the previous year.
    The bank which is 72 per cent owned by the Government has been hit by 6.7bn in conduct and legal costs including a 3.1bn provision for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities in the US. It also spent 2bn on restructuring its operations.
    RBS has lost more 50bn since it received a 45bn bailout from taxpayers at the height of the financial crisis.
    Chief executive Ross McEwan said: ‘The bottom-line loss we have reported today is, of course, disappointing but, given the scale of the legacy issues we worked through in 2016, it should not come as a surprise.”
    ‘These costs are a stark reminder of what happens to a bank when things go wrong and you lose focus on the customer, as this bank did before the financial crisis.’

    This post was published at The Independent


  • Pound Tumbles On Report Scotland May Hold Second Independence Referendum

    As recently as two weeks ago, a repeat Scottish independent referendum seemed improbable.
    As Reuters reported on February 10, according to a senior British minister, Britain saw no need for a second Scottish independence referendum and the devolved Scottish government should focus on improving the economy and tacking domestic issues rather than “flirting with secession.”
    Meanwhile, an opinion poll published in early February showed support for Scottish independence rose after PM Theresa May proposed making a clean break with the European Union, stoking speculation that Scotland could demand another secession vote. Such a move would present yet another major challenge for the ruling Conservative party as a demand for a second independence referendum from Scotland’s devolved government would throw the United Kingdom into a constitutional crisis just as PM May seeks to negotiate the terms of the Brexit divorce with the EU’s 27 other members.
    May had repeatedly said she does not believe there is any need for a second independence vote in Scotland as 55.3% of Scots voted to stay in a 2014 referendum. In that vote, 44.7% of Scots voted for independence.

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


  • Five Reasons for Central Banks: Are They Any Good?

    In a time when Federal Reserve reforms are discussed more openly than ever before, it seems appropriate to also think about the more fundamental question of whether central banks are needed in the first place. In 1936, Vera C. Smith (later Lutz) published her doctoral dissertation The Rationale of Central Banking written under Friedrich A. von Hayek at the London School of Economics. Smith reviewed the economic controversies around central banking from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century in France, Belgium, Germany, England, Scotland, and the United States.
    Smith made very clear that central banks are not the result of natural developments in the banking sector, but come into existence through government favors.
    So what are the justifications for central banks? Smith identified five main arguments for central banks from an economic point of view. Although Smith has written with a gold standard as the underlying monetary system in mind, it is interesting to look at these arguments with the benefit of hindsight more than 80 years later. Has any one of the arguments actually made a strong or even conclusive case for central banking?

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on February 22, 2017.


  • Gold Price Over $1240, Regains ‘Trump Dump’ in Euros as ‘Disunity’ Spreads in France, Italy, Scotland

    Gold prices rose to $1240 per ounce in London on Wednesday, regaining almost half of their post-US election slump as Euro stock markets slipped and government bond prices rose amid fresh fears over the currency union’s 2017 political outlook.
    With France’s establishment presidential candidate Franois Fillon urging voters to reject anti-Euro “disunity” contender Marine Le Pen amid a scandal over gifting public funds to his wife, rioting spread for a fourth night in the high-unemployment Department 93 suburbs of north-eastern Paris on Tuesday after police were accused of viciously assaulting a young man, visited in hospital yesterday by current President Franois Hollande in a bid to calm the situation.
    Calling for a referendum on Italy’s membership of the Euro meantime, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is polling neck-and-neck with the ruling PD Party ahead of this year’s national elections, while 3rd largest party the right-wing Northern League is calling for ‘Italexit’ from the European Union entirely.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 02/08/2017.


  • Calexit: Record Number Of Californians Support Secession, New Poll Finds

    According to a new Reuters / Ipsos poll, a record number of disaffected, Hillary-supporting Californians now support secession from the United States because they’re just so “triggered” by Trump’s victory. If successful, California would become the single largest “safe space” in the world.
    Per the poll, 1 in every 3 Californians now support a “peaceful withdrawal from the union,” which is a substantial increase from the 20% who favored such a withdrawal the last time a similar poll was conducted in 2014.
    One in every three California residents supports the most populous U. S. state’s peaceful withdrawal from the union, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, many of them Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s ascension to the country’s highest office.
    The 32 percent support rate is sharply higher than the last time the poll asked Californians about secession, in 2014, when one-in-five or 20 percent favored it around the time Scotland held its independence referendum and voted to remain in the United Kingdom.


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


  • JP Morgan, Barclays fined in separate Swiss rate-rigging probes

    Switzerland handed out about $100 million in antitrust fines against seven U.S. and European banks for participating in cartels to manipulate widely used financial benchmarks.
    JPMorgan Chase & Co. was fined 33.9 million francs ($33 million) for operating a cartel with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc for more than a year, with the aim of influencing the Swiss franc Libor benchmark, which is tied to the London interbank offered rate, Switzerland’s competition commission said in a statement Wednesday. RBS received immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, which operated between March 2008 and July 2009.
    ‘RBS and JPMorgan tried to distort the normal course of the pricing of interest-rate derivatives denominated in Swiss franc,’ the commission wrote. ‘They occasionally discussed the future Swiss franc Libor rate submissions of one of the banks and at times exchanged information concerning trading positions and intended prices.’
    Regulators across the globe have been probing banks’ manipulation of Libor and similar benchmarks that are used to calculate interest payments for trillions of euros of financial products including mortgages. The investigations have so far triggered about $9 billion in fines for a dozen banks in the last four years while more than 20 traders have been charged.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • Brussels to fine three banks over Euribor rate rigging

    Brussels on Wednesday will hit HSBC, JPMorgan, and Credit Agricole with multimillion-euro fines for rigging the Euribor interest rate benchmark, closing a five-year cartel probe into a scandal that shook the financial world.
    The three banks held out against a 2013 settlement with the European Commission that imposed almost E1 billion of fines on Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, and Royal Bank of Scotland.
    Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is expected to unveil fines on the trio of banks ranging from tens of millions of euros to the low hundreds, according to people familiar with the case.
    The decision is an example of the long shadow that still hangs over the industry from alleged misconduct during the years of the financial boom. …
    Ms. Vestager is still developing a cartel case against multiple banks for allegedly manipulating the $5.3 trillion forex market. Given the extent of evidence in the hands of investigators, officials expect any forex fines to exceed those imposed during the rate-rigging probes.

    This post was published at Financial Times