Monday, May 20, 2019

Venezuela Officially Defaults; Annual Inflation 2689 Percent: When Does the Military Take Over?

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by Mish Shedlock, MishTalk.com

Electricidad de Caracas, a Venezuelan state-owned electric company, officially defaulted on a $650 million bond payment. The company was already a month late on its payment before the trustee, Wilmington Trust, issued a statement. Meaanwhile, Professor Steve Hanke notes annual inflation is 2689{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

CNBC reports Venezuela Utility Defaults as Judgment Day Looms for State Oil Giant.

Venezuela’s Electricidad de Caracas — a state-owned electric company — has defaulted on a $650 million bond payment, Wilmington Trust said Friday.

The default comes as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) prepares to decide next Monday whether state-run oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) experienced a credit event earlier this month.

PDVSA missed a $1.12 billion bond payment on Nov. 2. If ISDA decides that PDVSA did experience a credit event, that could lead bondholders to declare a default, which could trigger an avalanche.

“We expect if holders do declare a default then that could be used to trigger cross default across the whole US$28bn of PDVSA bonds,” Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at Exotix Capital, said in a note. He noted, however, that bondholders “may simply give the government more time to make the payment, as the intention seems to be there, but coordinating a large group of holders with different incentives could prove challenging.”

Food Shortages

CNN reports Venezuela’s Dreams are Dying.

President Nicolas Maduro erased any remnants of democracy in late July, stripping political opponents of power and establishing a new legislature filled with his cronies.

But Maduro’s cemented regime still faces the same problems it started years ago: An exodus of its educated class combined with mass shortages of food, medicine, money and — most importantly — time.

Shortages of basic medicine and proper medical equipment are common. More than 750 women died during or shortly after childbirth in 2016, a 66{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase from 2015, according to the Venezuelan health ministry. Nearly 11,500 infants died, a 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} jump. Malaria cases soared to 240,000, a staggering 76{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase. That last one is especially telling: Venezuela had already eradicated malaria more than 50 years ago. I met three paramedics in a week who all said they’re low or out of gauze, gloves and bandages.

Nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans polled said they had lost at least 19 pounds last year, one poll found.

A domino effect has created a worthless currency. On July 24, the day I arrived in Venezuela, a dollar equaled 8,820 bolivars. As I write this on September 6, a dollar fetches nearly 20,000 bolivars. In other words, the bolivar is worth less than a hundredth of a penny.

Read More @ MishTalk.com

A Letter From Iraq – Grief, Forgiveness, and 20 Million Pilgrims

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by Pepe Escobar, Russia Insider:

RI contributor Pepe Escobar with an exclusive, on-the-scene report, with original photography from a region gradually liberating itself from ISIS.

TIKRIT and NAJAF, Iraq – Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you to revive, on the spot, the memory of what will go down in history as ISIS / Daesh’s most horrid killing field in Iraq or Syria since the death cult stormed across the border in the summer of 2014; the Speicher massacre of June 12, 2014 – when almost 2,000 Iraqi army recruits were assassinated in and nearby a former Saddam Hussein palace on the banks of the Tigris near Tikrit.     

As Dylan would sing it, “ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet”. In 2003, a few days after Shock and Awe and the fall of Baghdad, I took the road to Tikrit for Asia Times to survey Uday Hussein’s bombed palace as well as his father’s birthplace, only to return 14 years later to one of those palaces turned into a house of horror.  

The Speicher killing field was gruesomely staged – and filmed – by Daesh only a few days after the fall of Mosul. Daesh’s Salafi-jihadi goons were feted as “liberators” by many a Sunni tribe around Trikrit just as 10,000 Iraqi Army recruits from different provinces, mostly Shi’ites, were being trained at an Air Force academy nearby.

With Daesh fast advancing and the Iraqi Army at the time dissolving by the minute, the youngsters were ordered to switch into civilian clothes, leave their weapons behind, and go home. As they were literally walking back to their home provinces they ended up falling in a lethal Daesh trap. Bearing echoes of the Nazi era, the youngsters were divided into Sunnis and Shi’ites – with the Shi’ites bundled in trucks described as their “transportation” home. Instead they were taken to what would become a killing field framed by decaying Saddamist architecture.   

The horror, the horror

It’s late evening on a windless Monday – and I’m standing at the eerily silent exact spot of one of the killing field’s sites, captured by a Daesh propaganda video in part of this harrowing footage. Hayder Atamiri, the official representative of the Tikrit massacre committee, almost in tears, swears, “all the tribes in the area took part in this”. He’s convinced the massacre took place in “an icon of Saddam” and it was “revenge for Saddam’s death”.   

Daesh leaders presided over a gruesome ritual from a balcony as three jihadis summarily killed the recruits with a bullet in the back of the head. Today, discreet shrines with pictures of the dead surround the balcony. So far 1907 victims have been catalogued – many from Iraq’s Shi’ite-majority and/or poorer provinces (for instance, 382 from Babylon, 254 from Diwaniya, 132 from Karbala, 119 from Diyala, 99 from Najaf.)     

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com

Saudi “Deep State” Prince Bandar Among Those Arrested In Purge: Report

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from ZeroHedge:

According to a new report by Middle East Eye, Prince Bandar bin Sultan – Saudi Arabia’s most famous arms dealer, longtime former ambassador to the US, and recent head of Saudi intelligence – was among those detained as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) so-called “corruption purge” that started with the initial arrests of up to a dozen princes and other top officials last weekend.

If confirmed, the arrest and detention of Bandar would constitute the most significant and high profile figure caught up in the purge – even above that of high profile billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal – given Bandar’s closeness to multiple US administrations and involvement in events ranging from Reagan’s Nicaraguan Contra program (including direct involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal), to making the case for the Iraq War as a trusted friend of Bush and Cheney, to directing US-Saudi covert operations overseeing the arming of jihadists in Syria.

  Famous photograph of George W. Bush and his close confidant Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Famous photograph of George W. Bush and his close confidant Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Middle East Eye issued the report based on multiple contacts “inside the royal court” and indicates further that the scale of MBS’ aggressive crackdown is much larger than previously reported, and even involves the torture of “senior figures” among those detained:

Some senior figures detained in last Saturday’s purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal.  People inside the royal court also told MEE that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.

And shockingly, those sources say that the longtime Saudi ‘deep state’ power broker and liaison with the West, Prince Bandar, is among the detained:

One of the most famous is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington and confidant of former US President George W Bush.  There is no word on his fate, but Saudi authorities said that one of the corruption cases they are looking at is the al-Yamamah arms deal, in which Bandar was involved.

While no doubt Bandar’s very well-known role in Saudi “oil for arms” programs which have come to define Saudi relations with the West over the past decades is a trumped up and “selective” charge (insofar as the highest levels of the state have overseen such shady dealing) the al-Yamamah deal in particular – which goes back to the mid-1980’s – has been an historical embarrassment to both the UK and Saudi governments (BAE Systems was the prime British contractor involved) for the astounding level of fraudulent accounting exposed in UK courts. 

Concerning Prince Bandar’s role in the al-Yamamah deal, Middle East Eye continues

Bandar bought an entire village in the Cotswolds, a picturesque area of central England, and a 2,000-acre sporting estate with part of the proceeds from kickbacks he received in the al-Yamamah arms deal, which netted British manufacturer BAE £43bn ($56.5bn) in contracts for fighter aircraft.

As much as $30m (£15m) is alleged to have been paid into Bandar’s dollar account at Riggs Bank in Washington and the affair led to corruption probes in the US and UK, although the case was dropped in the UK in 2006 after an intervention by then-prime minister Tony Blair.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

What You Need to Know About the Saudi Purge

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by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:

So it is extremely unlikely that this purge will be the end of this particularly turbulent chapter in the history of the House of Saud. It may just be the beginning.

Saudi Arabia, May 2017. A private yacht sails into the port at Jeddah under heavy guard. The yacht’s identity is hidden even from the port authorities. Only a handful of people are allowed near it. They deliver several boxes and the yacht sails away.

The boxes contained cash. $1 billion cash. A “gift” from the inner circle of Saudi Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

And the mysterious yacht? It belonged to The Trump Organization, and the whole mysterious incident took place while Trump was busy bowing to MBS’ father, King Salman.

An incredible story, to be sure. Phenomenal, even. Trump bribed by the Saudi Crown Prince to the tune of $1 billion? The beloved POTUS selling out his country in return for some cold hard cash? It could be the scandal of the century, and it seems to explain so much.

After all, Trump’s genuflections toward the Saudi royals (literal as well as figurative) and his profusions of “great confidence” in those same royals even as they commit a chaotic and bloody purge stand in stark contrast to the rhetoric of candidate Trump. Lest we forget, it was just over one year ago that Trump was railing against Clinton for accepting money from those gay-killing, women-enslaving Saudi fiends and openly ruminating about Saudi connections to 9/11.

…But is it true? Was there really a private yacht in Jeddah Port? A team of shadowy men from MBS’ inner circle? The billion dollars in cash? Who knows!

The story comes from @mujtahidd, an anonymous Twitter user who has two million followers and claims to have sources close to the royal palace. And, true or not, it’s being reported on by “reputable” outlets. And why not? It’s salacious. It’s tantalizing. And it makes just enough sense to be not entirely implausible.

In a sense, the yacht story is a good window into the chaotic “anti-corruption” purge taking place in Saudi Arabia right now, which has so far netted 201 people (and, not incidentally, 1700 bank accounts). There’s so much uncertainty from so many quarters that even the most outlandish stories are being taken seriously.

Did a Saudi prince die in a shootout while being swept up in the Kingdom’s recent purge, as many outlets reported, or is it all a hoax, as Saudi officials claim? Was the dramatic downing of a helicopter during the purge a deliberate act? Heck, was the Vegas shooting actually an attempt to assassinate MBS? Who knows!

But don’t worry, all is not lost in these chaotic times. There are some things that we do know about what’s going on, and as it turns out, these things are pretty important. So let’s examine the things we know (or need to know) about the Saudi purge.

1 – Kushner just made an unannounced trip to Riyadh

So guess who was in Riyadh paying an unannounced visit to his good friend MBS just days before the purge madness took place. Go on, guess.

If you guessed arch-Zionist Jared Kushner, aka meddler-in-chief of Middle East affairs, aka Mr. Ivanka Trump, then give yourself a cookie!

As Politico reported late last month, without any word from the White House, Kushner took a commercial flight to the Kingdom (along with national security adviser Dina Powell and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt) and returned before anyone was the wiser. But don’t worry, the dutiful lapdog MSM intimated that the sudden, unannounced and completely secret trip was about…peace! Apparently Jared is just so concerned about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that he’s apt to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice and fly to…Saudi Arabia? And then fly directly back?

If that seems even more unbelievable than the Jeddah yacht story, you’re right. Remember, this is the same Kushner who was personally responsible for putting together the infamous $110 billion Saudi arms deal earlier this year. And—as I reported in these pages in June—this is the same Kushner who was revealed to be “in almost constant phone and email contact” with Yusef Al Otaiba, the shady UAE Ambassador who was caught helping a neocon think tank run a smear campaign against Qatar.

And also keep in mind that the remarkable Saudi-led campaign to isolate Qatar earlier this year was also directly preceded by a Trump visit and enthusiastically supported by a Trump tweet. (And you thought the orb was just a joke!)

So it’s impossible to imagine that Kushner’s visit was unconnected to the incredible purge that took place just days later. The only real question is who was giving the briefing and who was being briefed? (Fun speculation: Trump’s support for the purge was the price for the billion dollar bribe).

2 – Saudi Arabia is facing an existential crisis

Take a look at these headlines from the last two years and a startling picture emerges of the vicarious state of the Saudi “oil kingdom” in the wake of the great oil price drop:

Weak oil prices squeezing Saudi Arabia’s coffers

Saudi plans spending cuts, reforms to shrink budget deficit

Saudi Arabia seeks $6B-$8B bank loan to shore up state coffers

Oil Price Swings Spark Cigarette Taxes In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia to increase domestic petrol prices by 80 percent

Cigarette taxes, rising gas prices and state debt may seem like mundane stuff to most of the world, but it’s hard to overestimate how important these types of stories are for the House of Saud. They say that revolutions never happen during periods of prosperity, and Saudi Arabia has proven to be no exception to that rule. Steady funds from the country’s plentiful supply of black gold has allowed the ruling royals to essentially buy the support of their population with subsidized gas prices, lavish welfare and 0{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} income tax. But as the oil price shock of 2014 set in and the country started taking out loans, slashing subsidies and welfare programs, and unveiling austerity budgets, many are now openly pondering whether the House of Saud will be able to keep the lid on the tribal dissent that has long threatened to divide the nation.

The events of this past week are one of the ways that this existential crisis is playing out in the faltering oil kingdom, and if oil revenues continue to dry up, this might be just a taste of the chaos we can expect there in the coming months and years.

So how on earth will Saudi Arabia deal with these tough times?…

3 – Saudi Arabia is being rebranded

Enter MBS, aka Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He’s the grandson of Abdulaziz ibn Saud, founder of the modern Saudi state, and King Salman’s surprise decision earlier this year to put him next in line to the throne foreshadowed the turmoil we’ve seen unfolding over the last week.

To his boosters, MBS is “Mr. Everything,” a “reformer” whose “ambitious plans” to modernize the state will be the only way to save the country from utter ruin in the “post-carbon” era. “His” (read: his stringpullers’) much ballyhooed Vision 2030 plan to transition the country away from oil and become a dynamic 21st century technocratic marvel of the modern age includes a number of suitably outlandish ideas:

Selling off bits of the national oil and gas company (the largest company in the world, no less)? Sure, why not!

A $500 billion mega-city in the desert? Let’s go for it!

Granting citizenship to a robot? Just watch us!

Hey, maybe we’ll even let women drive! Talk about visionary!

The epitome of this gee-whiz hype about MBS and the bold new direction he’s taking the country in was the Guardian’s ridiculous editorialization of the unfolding purge: Saudi arrests show crown prince is a risk-taker with a zeal for reform.

Cooler heads, however, have noted that MBS’ remarkable rise to King-in-waiting is in fact an ominous sign. This is the same MBS, after all, who presided over the brutal (and so far futile) Saudi war crimes in Yemen. The same MBS who masterminded the failed boycott of Qatar. The same MBS who watched as Iran’s influence throughout the region continued to grow despite the Saudi’s best efforts.

This is the “visionary reformer” who’s going to lead the Saudis to the promised land of mega-cities and citizen robots? And he’s going to do so by rounding up 11 of his own cousins and seizing their bank accounts? This sounds less like a vision for the future and more like…

4 – Game of Thrones, Saudi style

I know you’ve heard it before but this is Game of Thrones, Saudi edition.

Well, OK, to be perfectly honest I’ve never seen (or read) Game of Thrones. But this is what I imagine it looks like.

One of the people who paints the picture most vividly is Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times, who frames these latest machinations as a pre-emptive counter-counter-coup by MBS against the forces who would prefer him not to be next in line to the throne. Forces that happen to include the CIA.

Read More @ TheInternationalForecaster.com

Warnings From the “China Beige Book”

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Leland Miller, a good friend of mine, is the founder and proprietor of an economic research service called the “China Beige Book.”

The name “beige book” was borrowed from the surveys conducted by regional Federal Reserve banks of economic conditions in their regions. (In the days before the internet, the Fed issued hard-copy booklets with different-colored covers based on subject matter. The economic conditions booklet had a beige-colored cover. Hence the name.)

Lee does in China what the Fed does in its regions, except he covers the entire country. He has a diverse network of over 3,000 companies and entrepreneurs in all business sectors. He gets his information straight from the source and bypasses government channels. It’s like a private intelligence service.

In fact, Lee’s network is better than the CIA’s when it comes to economic data. The CIA actually turns to Lee for advice.

The detailed research service costs about $100,000 per year for one subscription. But Lee publishes summaries on a quarterly basis, and they are freely available. His latest summary doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

The China Beige Book, CBB, says that China had been covering up and smoothing over problems related to weak growth and excessive debt in order to provide a calm face to the world in advance of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which took place last month.

CBB also makes it clear that the much-touted “rebalancing” of the Chinese economy away from investment and manufacturing toward consumption and spending has not occurred. Instead China has doubled down on excess capacity in coal, steel and manufacturing and has continued its policy of wasteful investment fueled with unpayable debt.

It’s become obvious that the first cracks are starting to appear in China’s Great Wall of Debt.

The Chinese debt binge of the past 10 years is a well-known story. Chinese corporations have incurred dollar-denominated debts in the hundreds of billions of dollars, most of which are unpayable without subsidies from Beijing.

China’s debt-to-equity ratio is over 300{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, far worse than America’s (which is also dangerously high) and comparable to that of Japan and other all-star debtors. China’s trillion-dollar wealth management product (WMP) market is basically a Ponzi scheme.

New WMPs are used to redeem maturing WMPs, while most of the market is simply rolled over because the underlying real estate and infrastructure projects cannot possibly repay their debts.

A lot of corporate lending is simply one company lending to another, which in turns lends to another, giving the outward appearance of every company holding good assets, but in which none of the companies can actually pay its creditors. It’s an accounting game with no real money behind it and no chance of repayment.

All of this is well-known.

What is not known is when it will end. When will confidence be lost in such a way that the entire debt house of cards crumbles? When will a geopolitical shock or natural disaster trigger a loss of confidence that ignites a financial panic?

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

GOLD DROPS $13.00 AND SILVER FALLS BY 11 CENTS AS THE BANKERS UNLOAD A HUGE $4 BILLION NAKED COMEX GOLD SHORT

by Harvey Organ, Harvey Organ Blog:

BITCOIN DROPS A HUGE $718.00/CHINA WILL NOW OFFICIALLY ALLOW FOREIGNERS TO TAKE CONTROL IN CHINA OF BANKS, INVESTMENT HOUSES AND INSURANCE COMPANIES: THE REAL REASON IS TO BAIL THEM OUT OF THEIR HUGE DEBT

GOLD: $1274.00  UP $13.00

Silver: $16.89 DOWN 11  cents

Closing access prices:

Gold $1276.20

silver: $16.91

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX:  FIRST FIX  10 15 PM EST  (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX:  2:15 AM EST  (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1293.33 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME:  $1285.70

PREMIUM FIRST FIX:  $7.63

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1292.60

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1284.45

Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$8.15 

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LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX:  5:30 am est  $1284.45

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1284.90

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX  10 AM: $1284.30

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1284.30

For comex gold:

NOVEMBER/

NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR OCT CONTRACT MONTH: 14 NOTICE(S) FOR  1400  OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 989  FOR 98,900 OZ  (3.0762TONNES)

For silver:

NOVEMBER

 

 2 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

 

10,000  OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 871 for 4,355,000 oz

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bitcoin: BID  $6874 OFFER /$6899    DOWN $266.00  (MORNING)

BITCOIN CLOSING;  BID $6421 OFFER: 6446 //  DOWN $718.00

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest FELL BY A CONSIDERABLE  1349 contracts from 201,944 DOWN TO 200,595 WITH  YESTERDAY’S  TRADING IN WHICH SILVER FELL 11 CENTS. IT LOOKS LIKE WE GOT A FEW MORE COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE. 

RESULT: A GOOD SIZED DROP IN OI COMEX  WITH THE   11 CENT PRICE FALL. COMEX LONGS EXITED OUT OF THE COMEX AND NO DOUBT WERE ISSUED EFP’S  FOR A DELIVERABLE CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS. 

 In ounces, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e.  1.002 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 144{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT OCT MONTH/ THEY FILED: 2 NOTICE(S) FOR 10,000  OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest FELL  BY 1348 CONTRACTS DESPITE THE GOOD SIZED RISE IN PRICE OF GOLD ($3.25) WITH YESTERDAY’S TRADING . ORIGINALLY I THOUGHT THAT WE HAD SOME MINOR BANKER SHORT COVERING IN GOLD. HOWEVER JUDGING BY THE RAID TODAY, THAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.  THUS THE DROP IN OI WAS DUE TO EFP’S ISSUED BY THE CROOKED BANKERS.The new OI for the gold complex rests at 535,042. 

WE MAY HAVE HAD SOME SMALL EFP’S  ISSUED FOR THE DECEMBER CONTRACT MONTH (COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING OVER TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE)

Result: A TINY SIZED  DECREASE IN OI DESPITE THE RISE IN PRICE IN GOLD ($3.25). WE HAD COMEX LONG TRANSFERS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE.  

we had: 14 notice(s) filed upon for 1400  oz of gold.

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

GLD:

No changes in gold inventory at the GLD/

Inventory rests tonight: 843.09 tonnes.

SLV

TODAY WE HAD NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV

INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.074 MILLION OZ

 

end

.

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

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver FELL  BY 1,349   contracts from 218,944  DOWN TO 200,595 (AND now A LITTLE FURTHER FROM THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) WITH THE FALL IN SILVER PRICE (A LOSS OF 11 CENTS). OUR BANKERS PROBABLY USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE PRIVATE EFP’S FOR DECEMBER(WE DO NOT GET A LOOK AT THESE CONTRACTS) WHICH GIVES OUR COMEX LONGS A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON. THIS IS QUITE EARLY FOR THESE EFP ISSUANCE..USUALLY WE WITNESS THIS ONE WEEK PRIOR TO FIRST DAY NOTICE AND THIS CONTINUES RIGHT UP UNTIL FDN. I ORIGINALLY THOUGHT THAT WE COULD HAVE  HAD SOME BANKER SHORT COVERING AT THE LOWER SILVER PRICE.  HOWEVER GOLD’S RISE (AND INCREASING DEMAND) AND THE RAID TODAY LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT WE HAD THE FORMER.

RESULT:  A GOOD SIZED DECREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX WITH THE 11 CENT FALL IN PRICE  (WITH RESPECT TO YESTERDAY’S TRADING). WE PROBABLY HAD MORE EFP’S ISSUED 

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

 

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY:  Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

)Late THURSDAY night/FRIDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 4.87 points or .14{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} /Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 15.65 pts or 0.05{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} / The Nikkei closed DOWN 187.29 POINTS OR 0.82{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN  at 6.6430/Oil UP to 57.15 dollars per barrel for WTI and 63.90 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED  RED  .  ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AGAINST THE DOLLAR AT 6.6430. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED WEAKER TO THE ONSHORE YUAN AT 6.655  //ONSHORE YUAN  WEAKER AGAINST THE DOLLAR/OFF SHORE WEAKER TO THE DOLLAR/. THE DOLLAR (INDEX) IS STRONGER AGAINST ALL MAJOR CURRENCIES. CHINA IS NOT  VERY HAPPY TODAY.

Read More @ HarveyOrganBlog.com

A Direct Threat to the West, the Bond Between China and Russia Strengthens – Nathan McDonald

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by Nathan McDonald, Sprott Money:

Whether the financial elites of the West know it or not, they are sending us down the path of defeat. Will this happen next week, next month, or even next year? This is highly unlikely, but what is most certainty assured, is the slow decline of the West’s power and its geopolitical influence over the rest of the World.

As I have written about numerous times in the past, our financial and political leaders in the West are creating an unholy alliance between Russia and China, two super powers that now have the ability to oppose the West, flip the switch and de-throne the King Dollar whenever they want. The question is not if, but when at this point.

Through sanctions, negative rhetoric and abuse of the powers that the United States have been bestowed through being blessed with the ability to print the World’s reserve currency out of thin air, whenever and in whatever quantity it wants, the West has ensured that other countries will act in their own best interest and eventually attempt to overthrow the rotting fiat based system that we live under.

Perhaps this is for the best? Perhaps it is not, and we are looking at a future that is both abysmal and filled with tyranny. Despite the many faults of the Western political system, it is still relatively free, especially when compared to that of the Chinese and Russian based systems.

Sadly, it appears that it is unavoidable at this point that the torch will eventually be passed from the West to the East, as Western governments continue to spit in the face of the “golden rule”, while the Eastern officials embrace it. He who holds the gold, makes the rules.

It almost seems weekly now, that another news article is released, proving that the alliance between Russia and China continues to not only grow, but flourish. Therefore it comes as no surprise to learn once again that these two countries have entered into another partnership that will strengthen their bond that much more.

As Bloomberg reports:

Russia’s state-owned Far East Development Fund is in talks to create a $1 billion joint venture to invest in the country’s mining industry with China National Gold Group, a government controlled producer of the precious metal. 

Read More @ SprottMoney.com

Media Silent as Syrian Forces Finally Defeat ISIS, Finding Cache of Made In USA Weapons

by Rachel Blevins, The Free Thought Project:

As Syrian Forces continue to defeat ISIS strongholds, they are finding an alarming number of drones, machine guns and Humvees left behind by the militants.

When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria began to dominate headlines in 2014, it was made out to be the most horrifying, ruthless terrorist group in existence—now any coverage the group receives tells a story of defeat, and the discovery of American weapons and equipment has gone virtually unnoticed.

ISIS was forced to withdraw from its last major stronghold in Syria on Thursday, after Syrian troops declared victory in Albu Kamal. A report from The Guardian noted that “Albu Kamal had long been crucial to the ferrying of jihadists from Syria into Iraq during the American occupation, and vice versa during the war in Syria.”

A statement from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights declared, “Forces loyal to the regime … have advanced in the Albu Kamal border city and established complete control after the withdrawal of the remaining [Isis] fighters to areas under their control in the countryside.”

This latest defeat is just one example in a series of clashes that have resulted in the Islamic State shrinking in size and power. As a result, Syrian forces have gained insight into the weapons and equipment the Islamic State fighters possessed.

When the Syrian Arab Army liberated another ISIS stronghold, Al-Mayadeen, in October, a report from Al-Masdar News noted that the terrorist group’s withdrawal “could not have been more disastrous, as they left a large amount of weapons and ammunition inside this city in the Deir Ezzor Governorate.”

From machine guns to drones, the Syrian Army seized the large weapons cache Al-Mayadeen after liberating Al-Mayadeen from the Islamic State terrorists that once occupied the city,” The report claimed.

A second report from Al-Masdar News noted that the Al-Mayadeen operation also resulted in the seizure of up-armored tanks, Humvees, improvised armored personnel carriers and heavy artillery pieces” from the ISIS militants.

The idea that the Islamic State—a terrorist group that appeared from virtually nowhere—has access to machine guns, Humvees and even drones should raise some serious red flags, and should lead to questions all around about who is supplying the group with such state-of-the-art supplies.

Along with the news that ISIS has been virtually destroyed in Syria, comes a report that the United States and its coalition members have sent a large number of armored vehicles to the Deir ez-Zor Governorate in order to aid the Syrian Democratic Forces in their ongoing operation.”

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Sicily votes 81{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} against the EU Status Quo – It Begins!

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by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

The contagion from Catalonia is indeed spreading to Italy. The Democratic Party (PD) led by former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has suffered a severe defeat in Sicily. The Eurosceptic parties have won the election sending yet another warning sign to Brussels that they refuse to accept demand reform. 

The Democratic Party has lost the regional elections in Sicily in a very DRAMATIC way. Renzi’s party came in third place with just 19{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the vote. The candidate, supported by Silvio Berlusconi, has won around 40{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. I have written before that RELIABLEsources revealed that the EU had staged a coup in Italy to overthrow Berlusconi because he was proposing back then to exit the Euro.

Brussels refuses to listen and reform anything.  Berlusconi proudly announced: “Sicily has chosen the path of change, as I have demanded,” in his video message on Facebook. Sicily is one of the poorest provinces in Italy. Youth unemployment is alarmingly high and many people migrate out of lack of prospects to the north or abroad.

Brussels is not interested in the people of Europe. This is now all about saving the jobs of the politicians in Brussels. They have no job without the Euro.

Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com