Posted at 5:08 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

It’s all up to the Senate next week. Allow derivative gambling again with depositor funds while at the same time cutting pensions. Think about that a minute. The result of this financial mess that put pensions in trouble was caused by excessive leverage in derivatives. Now Main Street is really going to feel it in the pocketbook. So now we are going to allow a free-for-all in derivative trading and cut main street pensions for the first time in 40 years, and these elected leaders don’t even blush. The most important aspect of this bill is listed near the bottom of this news story.

Congress considers plan to allow pension plans to cut benefits for retirees
By Melanie Hicken December 11, 2014 10:04 AM

Teamsters have started an Internet campaign that opposes proposed legislation that would allow failing multiemployer pension plans to cut benefits. (ActionNetwork.org)

More than a million retired and current truck drivers, construction workers and other union workers could see their pension benefits cut if Congress passes a proposal aimed at shoring up some of the nation’s biggest pensions.

Multiemployer pension plans cover more than 10 million workers and retirees in the trucking, manufacturing and other industries. But many of these plans have struggled in the last decade as they grapple with an aging workforce and major investment losses from the recession. Plus, many larger employers have pulled out of the plans.

That has put a major strain on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the government agency that insures pension plans, which last month said its reserves are dangerously low.

The Congressional proposal would allow plans that are projected to run out of money in the next 10 to 20 years to cut the benefits they pay to both current and future retirees. Benefits would not be cut for disabled pensioners or those 80 years and older, while cuts would be lessened for those between 75 and 80.

More…

Posted at 12:06 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

We are looking for your feedback on where to hold our next Q&A Session. We are currently looking at holding a session in Philadelphia the weekend of January 24th:

We are also looking into holding a session in Chicago in February, and Atlanta in March

If you are interested in attending any of these sessions, please email us at [email protected] and let us know in the subject line which session you are interested in attending.

Thanks for your feedback and we look forward to seeing you there!

Dan Duval
JSMineset Editor

Posted at 2:53 AM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

A lot of questions about Tanzanian Royalty Exploration have been brought up lately. To dispel any lies or to address any concerns you may have, I invite you to call me directly at my office or on my cell. The numbers are as follows:

Office: 844 364 1830
Cell: 860 671 0846

I will be available between 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm Eastern Standard Time.

Respectfully yours,
Jim Sinclair

Posted at 10:42 AM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The derivative time bomb was placed in the bill by Republicans. It will make 2008 look like a side show if passed!

House passes full omnibus budget bill despite Democrat revolt – as it happened
Tom McCarthy and Alan Yuhas in New York
Thursday 11 December 2014 22.10 EST

House Speaker John Boehner supported the omnibus bill. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Summary

We’re going to end our coverage for the night with a summary of the key events in Congress.

The House passed the “cromnibus” bill to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year, avoiding a government shutdown despite a rebellion by Democrats. The final votes tallied to 219-206.

The Senate has until midnight Saturday to take up the bill, thanks to a short-term resolution passed by the House to give it time. Senator Harry Reid said the chamber could take up the bill as early as Friday.

Democrats spent hours in disarray and angry revolt over the inclusion of two riders added to the bill at the 11th hour, one on campaign contribution limits and the second on finance. Members of the party were particularly enraged by the latter, which would insure derivative trading on Wall Street.

The House voted by unusually emotional speeches from Democrats furious with each other, with representatives decrying big banks and exhausted by gridlock in Congress.

Speaker of the House John Boehner rallied Republicans after a minor spat broke out in his own party, as hard right conservatives argued to use the bill as leverage on immigration.

The White House breathed a sigh of relief as a bill it backed passed with bipartisan support, though division among Democrats portends problems for the remainder of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has announced that the chamber will take up the omnibus bill tomorrow.

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Sounds about right to me on the upside.

What Do They Know? CME Implements Gold, Precious Metals Circuit Breakers Up To $400 Wide
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/11/2014 23:43 -0500

With memorandum S-7258, titled "Implementation of New NYMEX/COMEX Rule Regarding Special Price Fluctuation Limits for Certain NYMEX and COMEX Metals Futures and Options Contracts" released moments ago by the CME Group, and set to become effective on December 21, 2014, and which seeks a 5 minute trading halt when "price movements in lead-month primary futures contracts result in triggering events"…  "as a measure that is consistent with promoting price discovery and cash-futures price convergence" in order to "deter sharp price movements that may, for example, be driven by illiquid central limit order books prevailing from time to time in otherwise liquid markets", one wonders why now, and what does the CME know about upcoming volatility, or lack of liquidity, in the precious metals space that nobody else does (and does any of this have to do with the "berserk" algo test from November 25?)?

To wit, from the CME, highlights ours:

Implementation of New NYMEX/COMEX Rule Regarding Special Price Fluctuation Limits for Certain NYMEX and COMEX Metals Futures and Options Contracts

Background

Effective Sunday, December 21, 2014 for trade date Monday, December 22, 2014, and pending all relevant Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulatory review periods, the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX) (collectively, the Exchanges) will implement new NYMEX/COMEX Rule 589 (Special Price Fluctuation Limits) to apply price fluctuation limits to certain metals futures and options contracts. Price fluctuation limits deter sharp price movements that may, for example, be driven by illiquid central limit order books prevailing from time to time in otherwise liquid markets.

NYMEX currently applies price fluctuation limits to its energy complex of futures and options contracts. These limits are referenced in each contract’s respective NYMEX product rulebook chapter. The Exchanges are proposing new Rule 589 to extend price fluctuation limit functionalities to certain metals futures and options as a measure that is consistent with promoting price discovery and cash-futures price convergence. The operation of new Rule 589 for metals futures and options contracts is described below. The full text of the new rule is set forth in Appendix B. Appendix C provides the specific limit levels for the relevant NYMEX/COMEX contracts to which Rule 589 will apply.

The Operation of New Rule 589 for Metals Futures and Options

At the commencement of each trading day, new Rule 589 will require the Exchanges to determine initial price fluctuation limits as levels above or below the previous day’s settlement price for lead-month primary futures contracts. There are three primary COMEX metals futures contracts and two primary NYMEX metals futures contracts. These contracts have the largest and most liquid metals central limit order books on CME Globex or are considered separate and distinct stand-alone products on an outright basis. The lead-month contract, as determined by the Exchanges, will typically be a primary contract’s most actively traded futures contract month.

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Fracking is history at these energy price levels.

Oil price collapse claims WA’s Red Fork Energy, shale gas company in receivership
By Kathryn Diss
Posted yesterday at 12:40pmThu 11 Dec 2014, 12:40pm

The collapse of the oil price has snared its first West Australian victim with Red Fork Energy losing the support of its major lender.

The Perth-based company drills for shale gas in the United States, producing oil and gas.

But, it is completely exposed to the US shale gas industry, which analysts say has become unviable at current oil prices.

The oil price has tumbled 40 per cent in recent months, dragging down the value and margins of oil and gas producers.

Red Fork’s major lender, Guggenheim Corporate Funding, called in the receivers this week.

It has appointed KordaMentha as receiver and Ferrier Hodgson will act as administrator.

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

A dollar here, a dollar there. Makes no difference according to our leaders.

House Narrowly Passes Bill to Avoid Shutdown; $1.1 Trillion in Spending
By ASHLEY PARKER and ROBERT PEARDEC. 11, 2014

WASHINGTON — The House narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion spending package on Thursday that would fund most government operations for the fiscal year after a rancorous debate that reflected the new power held by Republicans and the disarray among Democrats in the aftermath of the midterm elections.

The accord was reached just hours before the midnight deadline, in a 219-206 vote, amid the last-minute brinkmanship and bickering that has come to mark one of Congress’s most polarized — and least productive — eras. The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it in the coming days.

The split in the Democratic Party dramatically burst into view when Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader and one of President Obama’s most loyal supporters, broke with the administration over a provision in the bill that would roll back regulation of the Dodd-Frank Act, which Ms. Pelosi said was a giveaway to big banks whose practices helped fuel the Great Recession. She spoke on the House floor in the early afternoon, expressing her strong opposition to the bill.

Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. were pressed to make a furious round of phone calls to try to persuade wavering Democrats, while House Speaker John A. Boehner worked to get more Republican votes.

The public support of the sweeping spending bill by the White House — which came just as Ms. Pelosi was making her speech on the House floor opposing it — was a rare public break with the minority leader and infuriated many of her loyalists.

More…

Posted at 5:45 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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Austria Considers Repatriating Its Gold
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/12/2014 13:11 -0500

And just like that, the list of countries who want to repatriate their gold just increased by one more, because after Venezuela, Germany, the Netherlands, sorry Switzerland, and rumors of Belgium, we now can add Austria to those nations for whom the "6000 year old barbarous relic bubble" is more than just "tradition."

From Bloomberg:

Austrian Central Bank Mulls Relocating London Gold: Standard

The Austrian state audit court says central bank should address concentration risk of storing 80% of its gold reserves with the Bank of England, Standard reports, citing draft audit report. Court advises central bank to diversify storage locations, contract partners.

Austrian central bank reviewing gold storage concept, doesn’t rule out relocating some of its gold from London to Austria: Standard cites unidentified central  ank officials. Austria has 280 tons gold reserves, according to 2013 annual report. Austrian Audit Court Will Review Nation’s Gold Reserves in U.K.

And from derStandard.at (google translated):

The gold reserves of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) and their deposits in the UK and in Switzerland are a recurring theme in political discussions. Especially like the Freedom require relocation to Austria, the example of the Deutsche Bundesbank in mind, who want to move their gold by 2020 half of them to Germany.

In Austria, the Court has adopted in its recent OeNB examination of the issue of gold. In its draft report he gives the OeNB diverse recommendations on the way. One of the key points: Given the "high concentration risk in the Bank of England" advise the examiner to "rapid evaluation of all possibilities of a better dispersion of the storage locations". Not only the parties to be diversified, but it should also come to the "actual spread of the storage locations".

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The latest from John Williams’ www.ShadowStats.com.

- November Retail Sales Gain Boosted by Spurious Seasonal Adjustments,0.5% of 0.7% Headline Sales Gain Tied Just to Gasoline-Seasonality Issues
- Irrational Markets Continue as Great Dollar Calamity Nears

"No. 680: November Retail Sales, Financial-Market Distortions"
Web-page: http://www.shadowstats.com

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This was one of the most respected commodity firms when I was a kid.

Crashing Crude’s First Casualty: One-Time Commodities Giant Phibro Liquidating
Tyler Durden on 12/10/2014 09:20 -0500

While we were expecting that one-time "god of crude oil trading" would have a poor year as a result of his consistent bullishness on the crude space, we were quite astounded to learn, as Bloomberg first reported yesterday, that Andy Hall – the man whose name was for a decade legendary in the commodity space -would call it a day. And yet that pales in comparison to the WSJ report overnight than Phibro itself, Andy Hall’s 113 year old employer currently owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer, marking the end of an era.

What is paradoxical, and as we reported yesterday, Hall’s hedge fund Astenbeck, has not done badly in 2014. In fact, it was up another 1.2% in November and was up 7.2% year to date despite a roaring bear market in commodities.

Alas, that is cold comfort for Phibro. As the WSJ reports, "the 113-year-old company, founded in Germany by two scrap-metal dealers, is winding down its U.S. operations after it failed to find a buyer, according to a person familiar with the situation. The sale process for units in London and Singapore continues, the person said. Phibro specialized in physical trading of oil and other raw materials, seeking to profit by moving actual barrels and acting as an intermediary between producers and consumers. The pool of potential buyers for these kinds of operations has dwindled in recent years amid a regulatory crackdown on Wall Street banks’ involvement in these markets."

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Algos manipulate not only FX, Algos manipulate everything.

Lawsky Said to Probe Barclays, Deutsche Bank FX Algorithm

New York regulators have found evidence that Barclays Plc (BARC) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) may have used algorithms on their trading platforms to manipulate foreign-exchange rates, a person with knowledge of the investigation said.

The practice suggests there may be a systemic problem involving automated tools that goes beyond individuals colluding to rig currency benchmarks and take advantage of less sophisticated clients.

The algorithms’ use is being scrutinized by the New York Department of Financial Services, said the person. The investigators are looking into the practice at each bank and it isn’t clear if there’s a link between the two, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public. The algorithms were embedded in Barclays’s BARX trading platform and Deutsche Bank’s Autobahn system, according to the person.

The two services provide electronic marketplaces for the banks’ customers to trade currencies. Rather than directly matching one client’s buy order with another’s request to sell, the systems aggregate all requests from the banks’ clients to create prices that are displayed to customers. The banks profit from the spread or the difference in the price at which currency is sold and bought.

More…

Posted at 2:42 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

Just noticed this morning’s release of Export Prices.

Down 1.2% after being down 0.8% in the prior month. This trend is unhealthy for industry and the world.

Companies, it appears, are being forced to lower their prices overseas in order to remain competitive, while at the same time, exporting inflation throughout the world.

Chalk it up to an increasingly strengthening dollar.

This will not and cannot last.

CIGA Wolfgang Rech

Posted at 5:43 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

My Dear Friends,

I have written to you on multiple occasions concerning the need to Get Out of the System, GOTS.

This something that now is certain to happen. It has become part of law in the West and the subject of white papers written by the Bank of England and the FDIC.

Please give some attention to the subject.

Jim

Big Banks Will Take Depositors Money In Next Crash -Ellen Brown & Greg Hunter Video
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 23:19

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com

The G-20 met recently in Australia to make new banking rules for the next financial calamity.  Financial reform advocate Ellen Brown says these new rules will allow banks to take money from depositors and pensioners globally.  Brown explains, “It became rules we agreed to actually implement.  There was no treaty, and Congress didn’t agree to all this.  They use words so that it’s not obvious to tell what they have done, but what they did was say, basically, that we, the governments, are no longer going to be responsible for bailing out the big banks.  These are about 30 international banks.  So, you are going to have to save yourselves, and the way you are going to have to do it is by bailing in the money of your creditors.  The largest class of creditors of any bank is the depositors.”

It gets worse, as Brown goes on to say, “Theoretically, we are protected by deposit insurance up to $250,000 in the U.S. and 100,000 euros in Europe.  The FDIC fund has $46 billion, the last time I looked, to cover $4.5 trillion worth of deposits.  There is also $280 trillion worth of derivatives that the five biggest banks in the U.S. are exposed to, and under the bankruptcy reform act of 2005, derivatives go first.  So, they are basically exempt from these new rules.  They just snatch the collateral.  So, if you had a big derivatives bust that brought down JP Morgan or Bank of America, there is no way there is going to be collateral left for the FDIC or for the secured depositors.  This would include state and local governments.  They all put their money in these big banks.  So, even though we are protected by the FDIC, the FDIC is not going to have the money. . . . This makes it legal for these big 30 banks to take our money when they become insolvent.  They are too-big-to-fail.  This was supposed to avoid too-big-to-fail, but what it does is institutionalizes too-big-to-fail.  They are not going to go down.  They are going to take our money instead.”

Part of the coming financial calamity will involve hundreds of trillions of dollars in un-backed derivatives.  Brown contends, “If the derivative bubble pops, nobody knows what is going to happen, and it’s obvious it has to pop.  It can’t just keep growing.  Depending on who you read, some people say it is up to two quadrillion dollars.  It’s virtual money, and it cannot keep going on.”

When a financial crash does happen, you can forget about getting immediate access to your money.  Brown says, “The banks will say, well, we don’t have it.  All the money goes into one big pool since Glass Steagall was repealed.  They are allowed to gamble with that money and that’s what they do.  I think maybe Bank of America is the most vulnerable because of Merrill Lynch.  Everybody is concerned, and they do very risky deals and they are on the edge.  I think they have over $50 trillion in derivatives and over $1 trillion in deposits. . . The Dodd-Frank Act says we, the people, are no longer going to be responsible for the big banks when they collapse.  It is not clear the FDIC will even be able to borrow from the Treasury, but even if they could, who is going to pay that money back?  Let’s say they borrowed $1 trillion.  Who is going to pay that $1 trillion back?  It will bankrupt all the small banks that had to contribute to this premium.  They will say we’re raising your premium to everything you got, basically.  Little banks will go out of business, and who is going to survive–the big banks. . . . What we’re going to have left is five big banks, and everybody else is going to be bankrupt.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Ellen Brown from the Web of Debt Blog.

(There is much more in the video interview.)

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This could easily be good market timing.

Mexico vows to sell dollars to halt peso’s slide
By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico is ready to intervene in currency markets to fight the peso’s fall against the dollar amid concerns over dropping oil prices and a possible increase in U.S. interest rates.

Mexico’s Exchange Commission said that as of Tuesday, the government will hold a daily auction of $200 million whenever the peso falls at least 1.5 percent from the previous day.

The idea is to provide liquidity to a currency market that has been volatile in recent weeks. Experts attribute the instability to fears that investment in Mexico could slide in coming years in the face of lower oil prices and the possible flight of dollars away from Mexican debt toward higher interest rates elsewhere.

Economists also expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in 2015, after keeping them low for six years trying to stimulate the economy. If that happens, those holding Mexican debt could pull their money out of Mexico to invest in the U.S.

"That generates the mentality that it is time to begin to leaveMexico," Coutino said.

Joel Virgen, assistant director of economic research at Grupo Financiero Banamex, said that so far they have not detected a flight of dollars from the country, but the nervousness is evident in the currency market.

"This should be seen as a preventative measure," he said. "It’s like when you buy auto insurance: Basically, you buy it to not use it."

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

All is not rosy out there.

Retailer’s Subprime Explodes, Shares Crash 40%, Junk Bonds Fall into “Price Discovery”
by Wolf Richter • December 10, 2014

When Conn’s – a retailer of furniture, home appliances, and consumer electronics with 91 stores in Texas and surrounding states – announced earnings on Tuesday, its stock crashed 29% premarket and ended the day down 41%. It has lost 73% from its peak a year ago when it still had been a hot miracle retailer that could do no wrong. And the junk bonds it issued six months ago at the very peak of the junk-bond bubble went into “price discovery.”

Turns out, it also finances in-house about 75% of what its customers buy.

And people buy at Conn’s because they can’t buy anywhere else. They’re subprime. They’re the strung-out consumers with bad credit and no cash, the modern American proletariat, the hollowed-out, hard-working middle class whose real wages have declined for years. They’ve been turned down elsewhere. Their credit cards are maxed out, have been cancelled, or are past due. And they walk into Conn’s, and the pressure is on to buy, buy, buy what they can’t afford and didn’t want and may not need. But no problem because Conn’s is going to finance it all.

Selling to these folks and charging for the privilege is one of the most irresistible money makers. It doesn’t matter if they find the same product for a lot less on Amazon because they can’t buy it there. Subprime customers are sitting ducks.

This works wonderfully. Until it’s time to collect….

More…

President who vowed to end war, now seeks sweeping power to expand it
By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Secretary of State John F. Kerry told Congress Tuesday that President Obama wants expansive war powers to pursue the Islamic State terrorists wherever and however he deems necessary, stunning lawmakers by requesting a war authorization that would even allow the Pentagon to commit American combat troops to the fight.

Though Mr. Obama doesn’t want combat troops, he won’t have Congress tie his hands against unforeseen directions the war could take should the Islamic State evolve, expand its fight to other countries or prove more difficult to rout, Mr. Kerry said.

“I don’t think anybody wants to get into a long-term ground operation here. But we also don’t want to hamstring the generals and the commanders in the field and the president, who’s commander in chief, from their ability to be able to make some decision they need to make,” Mr. Kerry told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Kerry was deployed to try to quell a growing furor over the administration’s approach, but his appearance didn’t appear to help, with lawmakers of both parties saying the White House appears to be trying to delay Congress from acting while doing little to step up on its own.

“The reason we’re here is a total failure of the president to lead on this issue,” said Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the committee.

More…

U.S. Navy Allowed to Use Persian Gulf Laser for Defense
By: Sam LaGrone
Published: December 10, 2014 11:47 AM • Updated: December 10, 2014 12:14 PM

PENTAGON — The U.S. Navy is has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon, the head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) told reporters on Wednesday.

The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment, said ONR Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder.

“The captain of that ship has all of the authorities necessary if there was a threat inbound to that ship to protect our sailors and Marines [and] we would defend that ship with that laser system,” Klunder said.
“It would be [used] against those [unmanned aerial vehicles], slow moving helicopters, fast patrol craft.”

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

In truth, this is a good thing.

Leaked EU summit conclusions: Draghi left hanging?
Peter Spiegel Author alerts | Dec 10 14:36

The dance had become so routine that we at the Brussels Blog were thinking of giving it a name, the Eurozone Two-Step.

Ever since the eurozone crisis first rocked international markets nearly five years ago, European Central Bank chiefs – first Jean-Claude Trichet, then Mario Draghi – sent a very clear message to the currency union’s political leaders: we can only act if you act first.

The deal was never explicit, but both sides knew what was required. The ECB’s first sovereign bond purchase programme in May 2010 came only after eurozone leaders created a new €440bn bailout fund; its €1tn in cheap loans to eurozone banks in early 2012 only came after political leaders agreed to a new “fiscal compact” of tough budget rules.

But with the markets watching Frankfurt closely for signs Draghi is about to launch another bold move –US-style quantitative easing, purchasing sovereign bonds to halt fears the bloc is headed into a deflationary spiral – there are new indications one of the partners is no longer dancing.

Back in October at a eurozone summit, Draghi was able to get a little-noticed statement out of the assembled leaders committing them to another “Four Presidents Report”, a reference to the blueprint delivered in 2012 that set a path towards further centralisation of eurozone economic policy. The report helped kick-start the EU’s just-completed “banking union.”

Progress on that 2012 blueprint has since stalled, however, and at his last summit press conference, then-European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said the new “Four Presidents Report” would be delivered at the December EU summit, which starts next Thursday. Many in Brussels saw this as the quid for Draghi’s quo – once the leaders agreed to another blueprint for eurozone integration, Draghi would have a free hand to launch QE.

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This was one of the outstanding commodity houses of my youth.

Crashing Crude’s First Casualty: One-Time Commodities Giant Phibro Liquidating
Tyler Durden on 12/10/2014 09:20 -0500

While we were expecting that one-time "god of crude oil trading" would have a poor year as a result of his consistent bullishness on the crude space, we were quite astounded to learn, as Bloomberg first reported yesterday, that Andy Hall – the man whose name was for a decade legendary in the commodity space -would call it a day. And yet that pales in comparison to the WSJ report overnight than Phibro itself, Andy Hall’s 113 year old employer currently owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer, marking the end of an era.

What is paradoxical, and as we reported yesterday, Hall’s hedge fund Astenbeck, has not done badly in 2014. In fact, it was up another 1.2% in November and was up 7.2% year to date despite a roaring bear market in commodities.

Alas, that is cold comfort for Phibro. As the WSJ reports, "the 113-year-old company, founded in Germany by two scrap-metal dealers, is winding down its U.S. operations after it failed to find a buyer, according to a person familiar with the situation. The sale process for units in London and Singapore continues, the person said. Phibro specialized in physical trading of oil and other raw materials, seeking to profit by moving actual barrels and acting as an intermediary between producers and consumers. The pool of potential buyers for these kinds of operations has dwindled in recent years amid a regulatory crackdown on Wall Street banks’ involvement in these markets."

More…

Gold holds close to 7-week high on safe-haven demand
Reuters | Dec 10, 2014, 02.07PM IST

SINGAPORE: Gold rose for a third session in a row to trade close to a seven-week peak on Wednesday as weakness in the dollar and global equities prompted investors to seek safety in the precious metal.

The dollar index nursed hefty losses after a brutal shakeout of bullish positions, with investors finding excuses to take profits as the year-end looms.

Global equities took a hit from political turmoil in Greece and after China’s market posted its worst day in five years.

"The best chance for gold to go higher would be for the financial market to become unnerved over equity declines in China, fresh sovereign risk worries in the euro zone and currency market volatility," said HSBC analyst James Steel.

"There may be some additional short covering left in the market, especially if Asian equities wobble further. Further gains will begin to crimp price-sensitive Asian demand and could threaten one of the planks of the recent rally," he said.

Spot gold rose 0.5 per cent to $1,236.10 an ounce by 0718 GMT. The metal jumped to $1,238.70 in the previous session, its highest since Oct. 23, before closing up 2 per cent.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.37 per cent to 721.81 tonnes on Tuesday, another factor that could boost prices.

More…

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Do we intend war with Russia and China at the same time?

China tells US to “speak and act cautiously” on maritime dispute
December 9, 2014, 12:13 pm

China told the United States on Tuesday to stay out of disputes over the South China Sea and denounced a US State Department report on the disputed waters.

“The document ignores basic facts and international legal principles,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at a daily press briefing in Beijing.

He was reacting to a US State Department document, “Limits in the Seas — China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea” issued Friday.

“The United States has violated its commitment of not holding position and not taking sides in the South China Sea issue. Such a move is inconducive to the resolution of the South China Sea disputes and the peace and stability of the South China Sea,” Hong said.

China claims about 90 per cent of the South China Sea.

The State Department report says China’s claims were both unclear and inconsistent.

China’s sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea have been upheld by successive Chinese governments, Hong said.

China had always upheld resolving the issue based on direct talks with the countries involved “on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law”, the Chinese spokesperson said in Beijing.

More…

Why Is The US Treasury Quietly Ordering "Survival Kits" For US Bankers?
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2014 – 15:32

The Department of Treasury is spending $200,000 on survival kits for all of its employees who oversee the federal banking system, according to a new solicitation. As FreeBeacon reports,survival kits will be delivered to every major bank in the United Statesand includes a solar blanket, food bar, water-purification tablets, and dust mask (among other things). The question, obviously, is just what do they know that the rest of us don’t?

More…

Posted at 3:53 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Dear Jim,

"The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time."

Yes, people just keep dropping off buildings. Nothing to see… move along!

This marks the 38th international banker who has "departed" this year.

CIGA Madisonstyle

Scot Young: Tycoon involved in £20 million divorce battle falls 60ft to his death
The financier impaled himself on iron railings less than a year after acrimonious legal battle ended
By Victoria Ward
11:22AM GMT 10 Dec 2014

A financier at the heart of one of Britain’s biggest divorce battles has died after falling from his £3 million home and impaling himself on iron railings.

Scot Young, 52, suffered horrific injuries after plummeting four stories from a window of his luxury central London penthous

His ex said she thought Mr Young was worth “billions” and claimed that he had hidden his fortune.

Mr Young, whose social circle included Topshop boss Philip Green and Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was jailed for six months for refusing to disclose full details of his wealth to the court.

Firefighters had to cut through the railings with an angle grinder before the body could be removed.

A Met Police spokesman said: "A man, believed aged in his early 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time."

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