Monday, December 22, 2014

Before the invasion of Afghanistan oil was $12 a barrel. It then shot up to over $148 a barrel by 2008. After falling back to around $25 it then climbed back to well over $100 a barrel.
Oil is by no means a scarce resource, as is now evident by the fact that despite the massive concerted effort by the global energy monopolist Hofjuden over the last 15 years to artificially inflate the oil price by manipulating our puppet governments into illegal and senseless wars and scam us all via AGW fraud, the price of crude is once again in free-fall.
The world is awash with oil, always has been and always will be.
We all need to demand access to cheap reliable energy. As we have evolved to use energy as a fundamental part of our way of life, it is now a human rights issue.
Energy monopolists destroy regional and global economies with their untold, relentless greed and must be dealt with in the severest terms....OPEC has had a 'ball' at the expense of the planets population for decades by 'pushing the price higher & higher' ... now their days are over & to flog & transport their oil will cost them dearly! ... after all we are only talking 116 actual individuals that own 81% of the global oil stocks (then) & artificially kept the prices so high ... now there's black gold everywhere & their 'ransom days are finished!'. 
OPEC is a price-fixing cartel (an entity that is illegal in some of its member countries) and the United States has found a way to be less dependent on some of its more ........ objectionable members. Ergo, the price of oil has fallen and the OPEC members in the Middle East have less leverage in American politics.
Oh dear. How sad. Never mind, eh?
It'll rebalance itself fairly soon as the global price of oil makes American fracking uneconomic. So wipe your tears with your keffiyehs, lads. It's only a temporary situation....Oil price falling ???...GOOD, Don't suppose it will last, but it may slow down the buying up of Central London by odious, over-privileged, non-working Arab parasites.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

To be sure, the European Union is better prepared now than in 2010, when a 20 billion-euro hole in the Greek budget evolved into a continental crisis that claimed Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus as victims, and nearly splintered the now 18-nation euro.   Back then, aid funds like the European Financial Stability Facility and European Stability Mechanism didn’t exist. Neither did the European Commission’s intrusive monitoring system, designed to flash red when a country is headed for economic or fiscal trouble.   Most important, European leaders bred to see the euro as permanent and indissoluble were blindsided by the crisis. Don’t “overrate” Greece’s woes, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in December 2009 as the budgetary bad news was trickling out of Athens. “There are deficits in other parts of the world as well.”   Europe’s stewards received a lesson in crisis management and the whims of markets, and can point to success stories since. Ireland, Portugal and Spain have been weaned off aid, and the sums in dispute with Greece -- roughly 7 billion euros -- are small change compared to what it swallowed before.
Speaking of the EU ....

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The new European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, appears to be staking a lot of credibility on an ambitious €315bn (£250bn; $392bn) scheme to boost private investment in European infrastructure projects. It is the top item in the Commission's 2015 work programme, which he presented to the European Parliament on Tuesday.  But so far the reactions have been mostly cautious or skeptical.  There may be more enthusiasm for the plan at the EU summit on Thursday, where government leaders will consider how to make it work.  Many countries, including Germany, have delayed infrastructure improvements. There is an EU-wide need for better transport links, power grid connections, super-fast broadband, and school and hospital improvements.  The Commission is trying to allay any fears about expensive new EU "white elephant" projects, or special favors for pushy politicians. The Commission promises a rigorous cost-benefit analysis by investment professionals, in which growth potential - including job creation - will outweigh any special-interest lobbying.  One difficulty is that the Commission can put relatively little cash upfront, as national leaders are aware that most voters will not stomach much new EU-level spending in these times of economic hardship.  The "seed money" to launch the investment programme will total €21bn - that is, just €8bn of new EU cash, plus €8bn of existing EU budget funds and €5bn from the European Investment Bank (EIB).  The EIB, which has a top AAA rating, will use that money to provide guarantees to investors, the idea being that the EIB will cover the riskiest parts of any project. That is meant to reassure institutional investors and unlock some €315bn of private cash over three years.   The 28 member states have already submitted a huge wish list of projects totaling €1.3 trillion. Some of those submissions are not eligible. A project must be a public-private partnership, not one that is 100% publicly funded.  But at a time of national budget cuts some will ask whether the EIB should be doing this. Some national leaders might treat it as an excuse not to spend public money, relying instead on the EIB to do the heavy lifting.

Friday, December 19, 2014

In an ideal world Europe should do one of two things. Either move toward full political union and effectively ditch the nation state, with a main central EU wide government based in Brussels, major pan european parties that seek a mandate there and from which the ELECTED leaders of the EU are drawn. Just writing it down shows how impossible that is going to be.  Alternatively, Ditch the EU and retain the nation state and national parliaments and abolish the euro. This is enormously difficult and would cause immense short term damage and disruption but has a good chance in the middle term of reaching a situation with autonomous freely trading economies and currencies and one could rely on market mechanisms to restabilise the EU economy. EU states could continue to function as a political semi- entity (shared econ development, shared foreign policy, shared defense) if they wished with the commission coordinating this effort. Hopefully eventually the EU could get back to the dynamic entity that it was prior to the euro.   This view, it seems to me is only somewhat further along the road that the Cameroons want to progress. But the UK will be a be bystander because the tories have been such willful and inconstant EU players. And I don't know why we bother to send anyone from UK.   The reality is that we are going to get some awful Kludge which won't address the underlying issues and will try further to ride roughshod over democracy and inflict yet more austerity onto the unwilling , a road which will lead sooner or later to EU breakup...   It’s funny how history repeats itself. The inconclusive general election in 2010 took place when the economy appeared to be on the mend and against the backdrop of a crisis in the eurozone prompted by Greece. As things stand, we could be in for a repeat performance in May 2015.  Be in no doubt, what’s happening in Europe matters to Britain. The eurozone is perhaps one crisis and one deep recession away from splintering. The more TV pictures of rioting on the streets of Athens or general strikes in Italy between now and the election, the better support for Nigel Farage’s UK Independence party will hold up.  Stronger support for Ukip will encourage the Conservatives to adopt a more Eurosceptic approach, hardening their stance on the concessions required for them to continue supporting Britain’s membership of the EU. Meanwhile, a permanently weak eurozone economy will push Britain’s trade balance into the red. The economic debate in the current parliament has been about sorting out the budget deficit; the debate in the next parliament will also be about sorting out the current account deficit.  Let’s start with Greece, which was where the eurozone crisis began all those years ago. The French statesman Talleyrand once said of the Bourbons that they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing. The same applies to the bunch of incompetents in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt responsible for pushing Greece towards economic and political meltdown.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

No one in Brussels or other EU capitals is surprised to learn that Jean-Claude Juncker’s Luxembourg was, and is, a tax haven. And no one doubts that the new president of the European commission, a crafty survivor whose political longevity is peerless in Europe, knew enough about the vast tax avoidance schemes practised there, even if he did not bother to master all the fine print.
The question is whether Juncker, a little more than a month into a five-year term as head of the EU executive, can weather the storm and credibly perform a poacher-turned-gamekeeper role of setting up an EU regime to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.  There are few leaders in Europe who understand the workings of the EU as well as the former prime minister of Luxembourg. With the exception of Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, Juncker is the only leader left who took part in the negotiation of the Maastricht treaty more than 20 years ago which dealt with the impact on the EU of German reunification and the process to create the euro.  He has been attending EU summits uninterruptedly for 20 years. No one at the summit table can boast that record. He knows everyone. He has friends everywhere. A fixer, a mediator between France and Germany (needed right now as much as ever); the consummate EU insider, he also knows where the EU’s skeletons are buried.  Asked about the impact of the Luxleaks on Juncker’s credibility and the authority of the new commission, the commission vice-president, Jyrki Katainen, squirmed and left the room. “I trust him,” he told the Guardian. “I’m not in a position to give any advice … We have to focus on what the president has done by himself and not done.”  Last March, the EU’s centre-right leaders, including the paramount leader, Angela Merkel of Germany, met in Dublin and backed Juncker to become the next commission chief after he was unseated last year as Luxembourg’s prime minister.  They will not make life difficult for him now. For them, mayhem at the top of the commission would seriously destabilise an EU desperately trying to come up with policies to drag Europe out of years of crisis, while anti-EU populists give the leaders a hard time across the continent. The consensus on not rocking the Juncker boat was evident in the European parliament last month. The far-right populists, led by Nigel Farage of Britain’s Ukip, Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National and the Five Star movement mavericks of Italy’s Beppe Grillo, tabled a vote of no confidence in Juncker.  Everyone else held their noses. Even Juncker critics on the left refused to back the motion, while the mainstream Christian and social democrats, and liberals all solidly supported the president.  Juncker took the entire 28-strong commission to the parliament, defended himself after the first round of Luxembourg leaks, and walked away unharmed. Besides, in the endless turf wars waged between rival EU institutions in Brussels, the parliament views Juncker as “its” commission chief – it played a key role in getting him the job in the first place – and will not challenge him too severely.  If there is pressure on Juncker, it will come not from the EU political elite, but from the media in the form of further revelations. Officials and diplomats say his fate will hinge on how compelling the evidence against him is. But the competition department of the commission he heads is also investigating Luxembourg on the grounds that some of the “comfort letters”, tax rulings, and avoidance strategies agreed by his then administration amounted to state aid in breach of EU competition rules. The cases of Fiat and Amazon are being investigated, while Skype may have to be added to what seems certain to become a long, and lengthening list.
Juncker insists his position at the head of the commission will not impair the credibility and impartiality of its investigation.  Rather than jeopardise his position, the political elites in Germany and France and elsewhere will exploit the Juncker scandal to push an agenda bringing more transparency to tax arrangements to counter “tax-dumping” between EU governments.
Juncker claims to be a champion of such moves, suggesting either a Damascene conversion to the cause or a calculation that his political future depends on being seen to be a born-again proponent of fair taxation.  For the moment at least, Juncker looks tarnished by the disclosures, but not really in fear for his job. Although he is free to resign, he cannot be removed as an individual. The entire European commission would have to go, felled by a vote of no confidence in the European parliament. This is a remote prospect at the moment. And for this to happen, national leaders, chief among them Merkel, would have to signal that Juncker’s time is up and then press their allies in the parliament into organising the commission’s collapse. No one in Brussels at present is talking in such terms.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clashes have erupted in the capital of Greece during protests marking six years since police shot dead an unarmed teenager.  At least 5,000 demonstrators marched in Athens on Saturday. Some attacked shops and hurled petrol bombs at riot police.  Police officers used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse protesters.  The demonstrators had been marking the anniversary of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos' death. He was shot by an officer who has since been jailed.  Mr Grigoropoulos' killing on 6 December 2008 sparked violent riots across Greece, with cars being set alight and shops looted in a number of cities.  Clashes have also broken out on previous anniversaries of his death.  On Saturday, anti-establishment protesters attacked banks and damaged shops and bus stops.
At one point, demonstrators looted a clothes shop and set fire to the merchandise in the street, the Associated Press news agency reported.  According to Reuters, police said they detained close to 100 protesters.  Clashes primarily took place in Athen's Exarchia neighborhood, but violence was also reported in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.   No injuries were reported in either city.
The ECB is already buying asset-backed securities (bundles of bonds) in an attempt to stimulate lending. This of course will not lead to a credit expansion as all it accomplishes is to add to bank reserves and banks do not lend bank reserves to commercial clients, ever.  QE has no measurable impact on aggregate demand and a shortfall in aggregate demand is the problem with the EMU economies. This has been beyond dispute for over 7 years now in some nations and yet nothing has been done to address this shortfall which is manifested in massive unemployment, massive underemployment, increased poverty, social breakdown political instability.
The mindless devotion to monetary policy actions has proven to be ineffective across both time and geography in stimulating economic activity, yet the Troika will not accept reality.
Expansionary fiscal policies directed at employment rich activities such as health care, education, infrastructure and the advancement of the public good is what is called for.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Euro Zone QE will be the last nail in the coffin for the Euro, the single currency will fail. The moment the ECB pulls the QE trigger they will find themselves in a difficult position. The ECB will struggle to unleash the amount of QE required to drag the Euro Zone out of the economic mire and at the same time QE will silently destroy huge amounts of productive capacity.
The net outcome will have a huge impact on the UK economy. We will import deflation, we will be infected by the Euro Zone disaster. Ramping up the valuations of old houses and importing huge numbers of immigrants is not going to save us.  The time has come for the UK to negotiate a gradual exit from the EU. We do not need to be full members, we only need a customs union and harmonisation of laws. As long as we maintain our place at the Council of Europe we will maintain our legal basis to trade with our European neighbors.  The immediate danger for the UK is an economic stall as a result of Euro Zone QE and the rampant super-USD. Take care , don't take on more debt than is absolutely necessary, look at what has happened to the Japanese economy.... Swapping government bonds for reserves actually *removes* money from the economy because the interest normally paid to bondholders would instead go to the ECB and be returned to the states via the ECB bank dividend.
That's why other asset prices go up. There is less income around in general from assets in the currency.  At best QE relieves pressure to cut spending or raise taxes on the governments, and it is actually simple fiscal policy that increases the level of spending and therefore real activity in the economy.  I think ongoing indicative trends in energy sector , particularly oil and gas seem to be corresponding to predictions made by this writer on 2 June 2014 in article - " Stressful times ahead for world economy in 2015 and 2016" - published online at Briefly speaking, the following were mentioned :
(1). The trends are likely to commence from November 2014 and onwards ;comment(2). The commodities likely to be impacted by the trends include " minerals and metals" and " oil and gas".
(3). Regions or countries which could be possibly be impacted by the likely trends have also been mentioned though this is only artistic interpretation and may not be construed as conclusive.
(4). Readers may like to know that such likely trends are suggestive or indicative and not deterministic. There is always a room for reform and improvement through a still better strategic planning and prudence.
(5) I think a further period of one and a half month covering January to mid February next year 2015 could perhaps be a bit disturbing for, among other things, minerals and metals and oil and gas.