Oil Producers Turning To Crypto To Solve Sanctions Problems

Authored by Tom Luongo,
Last week, Venezuela announced it would develop a national cryptocurrency backed by its oil reserves, the Petro. Now there is a report that Russia is considering the same thing. Iran will likely follow suit.
As of right now this is just a rumor, but it makes some sense. So, let’s treat this rumor as fact for the sake of argument and see where it leads us.
The U. S. continues to sanction and threaten all of these countries for daring to challenge the global status quo. There is no denying this. And so much of what we see in the geopolitical headlines are knock-on effects of this challenge.
The Geopolitical ‘Why’
From the Middle East to North Korea, the Dutch changing their laws to block Nordstream 2 to the Saudis breaking off relations with Qatar, everything you read about in the news is a move on the geopolitical ‘Go’ board.

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

NUDGE, NUDGE, WINK, WINK

As you may or may not have noticed I have added a new advertiser to replace Amazon. They are called MyFinance. Sadly, none of their ads have boobs. Their ads are under every post and the Savings Rate and Mortgage Refinance ads on the sidebar are theirs. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you checked out their ads on a regular basis to help old TBP pay the bills. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. If you get my drift. I also signed up with BJ’s online. That’s the wholesale club for you dirty minded old men. Their ad is on the right side too.

The Burning Platform


This post was published at The Burning Platform on Dec 9, 2017.

India’s $207 Billion Mess Is Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity For Asia’s Richest Banker

In October, we discussed Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s, decision to hand over $32bn to recapitalise India’s state banks. The motivation was India’s slowing growth rate and the need to add one million Indians to the workforce every month. Crippled by massive bad debts, the state-owned banks were struggling to extend more credit to the economy. The announcement caused a surge in India’s Sensex equity index, led by the banks. India has the second highest bad debt ratio of the world’s largest economies – possibly third since China’s official figure is patently incorrect.
***
Enter Uday Kotak, Asia’s richest banker (net worth over $10 billion) and managing director of India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Kotak is a self-made man. Turning down a job offer from a multinational, he set up a financial services conglomerate, beginning with bills discounting before adding stockbroking, investment banking, mutual funds and car finance. Kotak thinks he’s spotted a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ in Indian finance…so it probably bears considering. Nor is he alone as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds are also taking a close look. The opportunity is in India’s bad loans, as Bloomberg explains.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.

In China, More Regulation Does Not Mean More Enforcement

Editor’s Note: The future is predictable. The more you know what is about to be, the more you can plan accordingly. We want to help you prepare, but first we need to know what you need to know. Take our survey and tell us what we should produce next. At the end of this month, we’ll answer you with a video series addressing your top three concerns about geopolitics.
Last week, Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan penned a letter, published on the bank’s website, discussing problems in China’s financial sector. His letter focused on the private sector, where poor regulatory oversight has encouraged the creation of bubbles in areas such as online lending and real estate. It also discussed the uncertainty over where local government authority ends and central authority begins, citing this as a reason for the difficulty of managing the financial system.
This coincides with recent central government efforts to better control outbound and inbound investment – efforts that have proven hard to enforce. Taken together, this shows that top government officials in China understand, and aren’t afraid to talk about, the problems in the financial system. But there are no simple solutions. Creating new committees and regulations is easy; pre-empting problems and enforcing changes are not.
Of all the Chinese economy’s problems, none are more serious than those in its financial sector, because a failure of the financial system would hurt the entire economy. Firms starved of finances would shut down or slim down, creating unemployment and thus social instability. Instability in a tightly controlled country of 1.4 billion people is potentially catastrophic. To fight this threat, China last week did what it does – it created a new regulatory body, the Financial Stability and Development Commission, to regulate shadow banking, asset management, peer-to-peer Internet finance, and financial holding companies.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on NOVEMBER 13, 2017.

How Mother Theresa Cash Propped-up the Vatican Bank

Technically, she was one of the richest women in the world, although her fortune is all for charity and held in trust.
Born Agnes Gonxha in Albania, Mother Teresa founded the world-famous ‘Missionaries of Charity’ and spent the majority of her life in Calcutta, India, providing care for people living in poverty there. Before her passing in 1997, she had opened 517 missions in more than 100 countries.
Her brand of altruism soon developed a worldwide reputation, with her name becoming synonymous with good deeds and earthy sacrifice in the service of the poor.
In 2003, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was beatified by the Vatican, approaching sainthood.
She was not without her critics however. Accusations of mishandling cash followed the iconic charity figure after her death. Critics maintain that the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by her foundation have not been distributed as effectively as many thought.
This week another new chapter to this story has emerged. According to a newly-released book by Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, it was Mother Teresa’s cash savings which helped to prop-up the Vatican’s shadowy financial institution, and that if she had withdrew those funds the bank could have potentially defaulted, said Italy’s La Presse magazine.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on November 10, 2017.

TIME TO FORGET DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME? ‘WE SHOULD ADOPT A SINGLE UNIVERSAL TIME’

Daylight savings time is often an annoying inconvenience for some and sleep pattern disrupted nightmare for others. But that could all be over if scientists have anything to say about it.
Scientists now say now say that humans around the globe should simply adopt a single universal time. We could get on board with that! Now, those who dislike daylight savings time (that lost hour of sleep in spring is no win situation for so many) are validated by science. Scientists have been finding more and more evidence to suggest that our health is suffering because of the twice a year insistence by the government that we change the time.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 6, 2017.

The Downright Sinister Rearrangement of Riches

Simple Classifications
Let’s begin with facts. Cold hard unadorned facts. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at standard atmospheric pressure. Squaring the circle using a compass and straightedge is impossible. The sun is a star.
Facts, of course, must not be confused with opinions, which are based upon observations. Barack Obama throws like a girl. The Federal Register is for idiots. Two slices of chocolate cake are one too many. Are these opinions right or wrong?
The answer depends on who you ask. What’s certain about opinions, however, is that like bellybuttons, everybody has one. Moreover, unlike free drugs from the government, everyone is in fact entitled to their own opinion.
Moving on from facts and opinions, the next classification we encounter is the wholly asinine. This broadly contains the absurd and ridiculous. Take most university teachers, barring natural science professors, for instance. They’re wholly asinine. The wholly asinine also extends to editors at the New York Times, Washington Post, circus hunchbacks, and the like.
Lastly, we want to mention the downright sinister. This includes sociopaths like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, nearly all of Congress, the Federal Reserve, fractional reserve banking, Washington lobbyists, a good part of Wall Street, and much, much more. Clearly, such people and professions don’t represent honest work. Rather, they epitomize less than honest work that’s performed by less than honest people.

This post was published at Acting-Man on October 27, 2017.

There’s Now A Subprime Auto Loan Program Designed Specifically For Refugees

If ever there was a doubt that auto sales have been pushed to the absolute max in this iteration of the industry’s debt-fueled bubble, then consider the following program specifically designed to underwrite subprime auto loans to refugees who have recently arrived in the U. S. with absolutely no credit history or record of any kind. Per The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Newly arrived refugees, especially in driving-oriented places like San Diego, can have trouble finding jobs if they don’t have cars. Because new arrivals generally have no credit history in the U. S. and sometimes make mistakes early on because they don’t understand the system, they often can’t get affordable loans to purchase a car. ‘The struggle of a low-income immigrant family that’s looking to move up, it’s hard enough as it is,’ said Kasra Movahedi, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity. ‘If you also then have low credit, it just becomes that much harder in a hundred small and not-so-noticeable ways. Unfortunately, these are the people that can afford it the least.’

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

Hillary Clinton Says ‘Uranium One’ Allegations Are Politically Motivated “Baloney”

As demands intensify for the DOJ appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the Clintons were involved in a quid-pro-quo surrounding the controversial Uranium One Deal – where the former Secretary of State voted to approve a deal that ceded 20% of American uranium reserves to a Russian company – Hillary Clinton is finding that she can no longer ignore the burgeoning scandal.
So, in an interview with C-Span published Monday, Clinton hit back at the allegations, claiming they’d been discredited and debunked long ago (of course that was before new reporting by the Hill revealed the FBI had uncovered a Russian bribery plot shortly before the deal was approved). Furthermore, Clinton claimed the Trump administration was using the story to distract from Russia investigations.
“I would say it’s the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone. In fact, it’s been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked,” she said.


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

Emails Reveal Bill Clinton Met With Vladimir Putin Just Before Uranium One Deal

If President Trump or anyone even remotely close to his presidency, including his best friend from 2nd grade that he hadn’t seen in 40 years, sought to meet with key Russian nuclear officials, in Moscow, just months before the federal government approved a very controversial deal handing Vladimir Putin 20% of U. S. uranium reserves, despite an ongoing investigation into Russian fraud, bribery, extortion and money laundering, it would be the only story played on a 24 x 7 loop on CNN and MSNBC.
Ironically, that is exactly what new emails dug up by The Hill show that Bill Clinton did in June 2010, just months before the Uranium One deal was approved by a committee on which his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sat. Oh, and did we mention that Bill’s Clinton Foundation just happened to collect millions of dollars in bribes donations from Russian sources and Uranium One shareholders shortly after his Moscow meetings?
As you will recall, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), approved the Uranium One transaction in October 2010. According to new emails revealed by The Hill, just months before that approval, Bill Clinton sought permission from the State Department, run by his wife at the time, to meet Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, the company which was ultimately approved to purchase Uranium One.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.

Russia Goes All In On Arctic Oil Development

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
Neither sanctions nor persistently low oil prices are hindering Russia’s ambitions or plans to develop oil resources in its sections of the Arctic.
In April, state-controlled oil giant Rosneft started drilling the northernmost well on the Russian Arctic shelf in the Khatangsky license area in the Laptev Sea. In June, Rosneft struck first oil in the Eastern Arctic in this license.
Earlier this month, the oil firm said that recoverable reserves at the field exceed 80 million tons of oil, which is equal to around 586.4 million barrels. Geological data point to reserves at the field at 298 million tons of oil, or some 2.184 billion barrels, and the oil is high quality – light and low-sulfur, according to Rosneft.
The Russian oil giant – whose CEO Igor Sechin is a close ally of Vladimir Putin – continues to drill at the field to study its geology, search for more oil, and define future drilling strategies at the license, Rosneft says.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.

Ecological Armageddon Warning As Insect Population Numbers Plummet: ‘Everything Is Going To Collapse’

The vanishing of insects around the globe is causing scientists to issue and ‘ecological armageddon’ warning. The abundance of insects has plunged by three quarters and scientists feel now is the time to sound the alarm.
Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say. According to The Guardian, insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife. It was known that some species, such as butterflies, were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is ‘on course for ecological Armageddon’, with profound impacts on human society.
‘The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,’ said Hans de Kroon, at Radboud University in the Netherlands and who led the new research which discovered the plummeting insect population. The research, published in the journal Plos One, is based on the work of dozens of amateur entomologists across Germany who began using strictly standardized ways of collecting insects in 1989.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 19th, 2017.

FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Approved Uranium One Deal, Netting Clintons Millions

As the mainstream media continues to obsess over $100,000 worth Facebook ads allegedly purchased by Russian spies in 2016 seeking to throw the presidential election, we’re almost certain they’ll ignore the much larger Russian bombshell dropped today in the form of newly released FBI documents that reveal for the very first time that the Obama administration was well aware of illegal bribery, extortion and money laundering schemes being conducted by the Russians to get a foothold in the atomic energy business in the U. S. before approving a deal that handed them 20% of America’s uranium reserves…and resulted in a windfall of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
As we pointed out last summer when Peter Schweizer first released his feature documentary Clinton Cash, the Uranium One deal, as approved by the Obama Administration, netted the Clintons and their Clinton Foundation millions of dollars in donations and ‘speaking fees’ from Uranium One shareholders and other Russian entities.
Russian Purchase of US Uranium Assets in Return for $145mm in Contributions to the Clinton Foundation – Bill and Hillary Clinton assisted a Canadian financier, Frank Giustra, and his company, Uranium One, in the acquisition of uranium mining concessions in Kazakhstan and the United States. Subsequently, the Russian government sought to purchase Uranium One but required approval from the Obama administration given the strategic importance of the uranium assets. In the run-up to the approval of the deal by the State Department, nine shareholders of Uranium One just happened to make $145mm in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Moreover, the New Yorker confirmed that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in speaking fees from a Russian investment bank, with ties to the Kremlin, around the same time. Needless to say, the State Department approved the deal giving Russia ownership of 20% of U. S. uranium assets

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.

Weinstein Company Loans: Banks Have Egg on their Face Over Effusive Praise

In 2013, when a division of CIT served as a joint lead arranger for a $370 million senior secured credit facilityto the Weinstein Company, an executive of the lender, Kevin Khanna, issued a statement effusively praising the management of the Weinstein Company, stating:
‘The Weinstein Co. is one of the premier Hollywood studios in the world and we are pleased to further expand our relationship with them through this recent financing. As a key player in the film financing sector, we pride ourselves in putting our knowledge to work on behalf of our clients to help them achieve their goals.’
Today, the Weinstein Company stands as the premier poster boy for mismanagement of its brand, reputation and franchise as sexual assault and sexual harassment charges, stretching over three decades, have been lodged against its co-founder and key executive, Harvey Weinstein. The charges have ricocheted around the world for almost two weeks with police investigations now open in New York and London. (Harvey Weinstein was fired by the Board a few days after the first story appeared in the New York Times and just two days before a second article would appear in the New Yorker, which added claims of rape by three women to the mushrooming scandal.)
Last year, Opus Bank was even more lavish in its praise for the Weinstein Company when it announced that it had provided $15 million of a $400 million senior credit facility which was ‘agented’ by Union Bank.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on October 17, 2017.

Can a Modern Central Bank Still Be a “Banker’s Bank”?

Answer: No. And not for reasons of policy or politics, but of national character – that is, what remains of such.
For, once upon a time in the early history of modern banking, a common belief among all rational analysts of the system was an aversion to what was then referred to in those rose-tinted 19thcentury decades as ‘speculative political economy.’ At the time, central banks carefully managed their status as the symbol and paragon of national pride, responsible as that institution was for the maintenance of three basic principles of fiscal agency. First, that a central bank, above all, must honor its reputation as a ‘pillar of public credit’; secondly, that the central bank both worked with while remained wary of the State; third, that the central bank had to retain a superior position to private banks, and did so by disciplining itself to preside over high reserve ratios and the strict administration of credit.
Compare that assessment with that of James Grant, of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, who stated in an excellent interview with a Swiss newspaper in August 2016: ‘Over the past 100 years, collective responsibility in banking has replaced individual responsibility. The government, with the introduction of deposit insurance, new regulations, and interventions, has superseded the old doctrine of the responsibility of the owners of a property. That is why we need to go away from government intervention and go more towards market-oriented solutions such as the old doctrine of the responsibility of bank owners.’
Grant’s citing of the ‘old doctrine of the responsibility of bank owners’ is key here. While the sage analyst was speaking of private banks in general, his point applies to the contemporary culture of central banks as well. Ideally, the purpose and role of the central bank is to be to other banks what banks, ideally, are to the individual. While no chapter in the history of those banks is by any means scandal, scoundrel, or mismanagement-free, the ‘bankers’ bank’ was, in theory and to a great degree in practice, defined by one signature distinction above all: that individual and national character played a key role in the guiding principles of their management.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 10, 2017.

Beijing Orders All North Korean Businesses To Close

In the latest sign that China is moving to dramatically limit its exposure to its restive neighbor and long-time economic dependent, Chinese authorities on Thursday ordered all North Korean firms to stop doing business in the world’s second-largest economy, fulfilling Beijing’s obligations according to the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions, which were passed two weeks ago.
The order comes just days after President Donald Trump revealed that the People’s Bank of China had asked the country’s banks to sever their business ties with North Korea.
Specifically, they were ordered to stop providing financial services to North Korean customers and to wind down existing loans, severing one of North Korea’s most reliable connections to the global financial system. It was reported that the banks were warned that continuing to transact with North Korean business could result in embarrassment and economic losses, according to Russia Today.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.