China’s Robot Revolution May Affect the Global Economy

 

Automation impact on wages isn’t showing in the data – yet

China is installing more robots than any other nation, and that may affect every other nation.

Shipments jumped 27 percent to about 90,000 units last year, a single-country record and almost a third of the global total, and will nearly double to 160,000 in 2019, the International Federation of Robotics estimates. Continue reading

“There’s No Growth”: World’s Largest Oil Trader Has A Stunning Warning For OPEC

 

When it comes to the oil market, the narrative over the past year, ever since OPEC’s first aborted meeting last April, has been just one: limit crude supply in hopes of rebelancing the oil market, reducing excess inventories, in the process sending the price of oil higher. However, echoing what we have warned for many months, overnight the world’s biggest independent oil trader said OPEC’s efforts could be in vain because the oil producing cartel is seeking to control the wrong thing: it’s not a matter of supply, but global demand which is simply not there.

According to Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader demand isn’t expanding as much as expected, and U.S. shale output is growing faster than forecast, Bloomberg reports. As a logical outcome, that’s increasing the burden on the world’s biggest producers, who need to stick to their pledges to cut supply just to keep prices from falling, said Kho Hui Meng, the head of the company’s Asian arm. Meanwhile, shale continues to capture OPEC, and mostly Saudi, market share as do countries such as Iran and Libya which are not bound by the Vienna agreement production quotas. Continue reading

Time Bomb In Oil Markets: Goldman Sachs Issues Warning

 

While energy traders remain focused on weekly changes in crude supply and demand, manifesting in shifts in inventory of which yesterday’s API data and today’s EIA data was a breathtaking example, a much more troubling data point was revealed by the Energy Information Administration last week when it reported implied gasoline demand.

To be sure, surging gasoline supply and inventories are hardly surprising or new: they remain a byproduct of the unprecedented global crude inventories leftover from two years of failed OPEC policy which resulted in a historic glut. Last January, overall crude runs were up 500,000 bpd as refiners shifted away from diesel and other products to gasoline to chase more attractive margins amid a mild winter and sluggish diesel demand. The move led to an overbuild of gasoline stocks that lingered into the summer, punishing margins when they should have been at their strongest. This January, crude runs are at historic levels, up by roughly 300,000 bpd over last year. Continue reading

Perfect Storm for Oil Started on Schedule and Continues to Build

Prices had one of their worst days of the year on Friday of last week and drifted marginally lower again on Monday of this week, stabilizing some on Tuesday. Friday’s pounding came because Saudi Arabia announced it would not participate in the oil supply freeze that it negotiated with Russia since Iran is not going to join the freeze….

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Surprise! US Has Zero Grain Reserves Since 2008

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The drought in the American West is causing devastating consequences on US agriculture. With grain prices climbing steadily, some have proposed the reestablishment of a Strategic Grain Reserve to control costs, a program which was phased out entirely seven years ago.

Driving across any highway through the American heartland, you’re sure to see the horizon dotted by tall grain silos. Whether the classic, wooden variety which wouldn’t look out of place in an Edward Hopper painting, or the more modern, metallic version, the structures serve an important purpose. Silos preserve the excess harvest from earlier seasons to be used during more trying times in the future.

With the California drought potentially entering a fifth year, it may be beneficial to consider the concept on a more national scale, according to Frederick Kaufman’s article for the LA Times. Continue reading

California Has Never Experienced A Water Crisis Of This Magnitude – And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Things have never been this dry for this long in the recorded history of the state of California, and this has created an unprecedented water crisis.  At this point, 1,900 wells have already gone completely dry in California, and some communities are not receiving any more water at all.  As you read this article, 100 percent of the state is in some stage of drought, and there has been so little precipitation this year that some young children have never actually seen rain.  This is already the worst multi-year drought in the history of the state of California, but this may only be just the beginning.  Scientists tell us that the amount of rain that California received during the 20th century was highly unusual.  In fact, they tell us that it was the wettest century for the state in at least 1000 years.  Now that things are returning to “normal”, the state is completely and total unprepared for it.  California has never experienced a water crisis of this magnitude, and other states in the western half of the nation are starting to really suffer as well.  In the end, we could very well be headed for the worst water crisis this country has ever seen. Continue reading

California’s water crisis is coming soon to the rest of America

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As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America’s water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

These two changes squeeze our natural water reserves from both directions. The stress is becoming clear and will soon manifest as water scarcity problems all over our country. Continue reading

OPEC Says US Oil Boom Will End This Year

OPEC says the demand for oil – its oil – will rise during 2015 because the cartel is winning its price war against US shale producers by driving them out of business.

“Higher global refinery runs, driven by increased [summer] seasonal demand, along with the improvement in refinery margins, are likely to increase demand for crude oil over the coming months,” the cartel said in its Monthly Market Report, issued, April 16. Continue reading

Oil prices: OPEC plan to strangle US suppliers working

Demand for oil will strengthen this year, according to OPEC, as the cartel said its strategy of pumping oil into the market to squeeze out US producers was taking effect.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps a third of the world’s oil, believes demand will average 29.27m barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, representing an increase of 80,000 bpd from its previous prediction.

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Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace

In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.

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Andrew Maguire – Who Smashed Gold Today And Why As HSBC Shocks Clients By Closing All London Gold Vaults!

Today London metals trader Andrew Maguire spoke with King World News about who smashed the price of gold today and why as HSBC just shocked clients by announcing the closure of all gold vaults in London!  Maguire also discussed what is happening in the physical gold market as well as what the bullion banks are up to.

Today’s Gold Smash Is Western Government Intervention

Andrew Maguire:  “Eric, here we are again after another heavily gamed Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report week that evidences just how ‘managed’ the paper markets are. Given the strong Indian and Chinese demand above $1,200 and the currency crosses related to gold that were net-positive all week, there was no reason to paint gold down ahead of today’s NFP. Given that the physical market is strong, the Comex-centric selling has all the hallmarks of ‘official’ selling.

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Ukraine crisis: Fighting erupts around vital city of Debaltseve

UKRAINE’S army is on the brink of a major defeat as Russian-backed separatists rebound refreshed from a short ceasefire to encircle the defenders of a key city.

Russian President Vladimir Putin overnight demanded the Kiev government tell its soldiers in the city of Debaltseve to lay down their weapons and surrender to pro-Moscow rebels. Continue reading

Bad News For World Economy That No One Wants To Hear

Reading the general run of financial headlines might lead one to believe that price declines in those commodities which are highly sensitive to economic conditions such as iron ore, copper, oil, natural gas, coal, and lumber are good on their face.

Obviously, the declines aren’t good for those who sell these commodities. But, those of us who buy these commodities in the form of cars, houses, utility bills and other products and services ought to be helping the world economy as we buy more stuff with the freed up income. Continue reading

U.K. Royal Mint Runs Out of Sovereign Gold Coins on Demand

The U.K.’s Royal Mint, which traces its history back more than 1,000 years, ran out of 2014 Sovereign gold coins as prices near a six-month low led to “exceptional demand.”

The mint, based in Llantrisant, Wales, expects to have stocks of the coins again by the end of January, it said in a statement e-mailed today. It has full availability of gold and silver Britannia bullion coins, it said. Gold dropped to a six-month low of $1,182.27 an ounce in London on Dec. 31, capping the largest annual decline since 1981. Continue reading

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