MasterFeeds: May 2011

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May 25, 2011

U.S. sanctions Venezuela's oil giant for Iran trade - Yahoo! News

U.S. sanctions Venezuela's oil giant for Iran trade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States took aim at Venezuela's state oil giant on Tuesday in its latest effort to disrupt Iran's fuel supplies, threatening to provoke a fierce response from anti-American President Hugo Chavez.

The U.S. sanctions against PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company, for engaging in trade with Iran are narrowly targeted, and will not affect the company's vast sales of oil to the United States or the activities of its subsidiaries including U.S.-based CITGO.

Nonetheless, the U.S. move against PDVSA and six other oil and shipping companies was a diplomatic escalation as Washington tries to further stifle Iran's energy sector and convince it to abandon a suspected nuclear weapons program.

PDVSA would be barred from access to U.S. government contracts and import/export financing, and the move marks a significant shot across the bow of Chavez, a frequent and vocal critic of Washington who has in the past threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States.

PDVSA is one of the top five crude oil suppliers to the United States and Venezuela supplies about 10 percent of U.S. crude imports.

There was no immediate reaction from Chavez.

"By imposing these sanctions we're sending a clear message to companies around the world: those who continue to irresponsibly support Iran's energy sector or help facilitate Iran's efforts to evade U.S. sanctions will face significant consequences," Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told a news briefing.

The U.S. measures were aimed at squeezing Iran's gasoline supplies, he said.

Other companies covered by the new U.S. sanctions include PCCI, the Royal Oyster Group and Speedy Ship of the United Arab Emirates, Tanker Pacific of Singapore, Ofer Brothers Group of Israel and Associated Shipbroking of Monaco, as well as PDVSA.

'UNWILLINGNESS TO BREAK ITS TIES'

Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the sanctions on PDVSA were a result of Venezuela's "unwillingness to break its ties with terrorist organizations and countries that support them."

The U.S. move could put Chavez in a bind despite the temptation to impose retaliatory measures, according to Simon Wardell, director of oil markets at IHS Global Insight.

"Ultimately I don't think Chavez will be able to do much about the sanctions. He might talk a lot and make a lot of noise but will continue to sell crude to the United States," Wardell said.

Steinberg said the main objective of the sanctions was to encourage Tehran to engage in real negotiations with the major powers over its nuclear program, which western nations and Israel fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

He said the sanctions would be calibrated differently for each targeted firm. In some cases they were intended to shut down the company's operations, while in others they simply impose new restrictions.

"All these companies have engaged in activities related to the supply of refined petroleum products to Iran," he said.

Venezuela, which in the past has been the largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the United States, has seen its U.S.-bound shipments shrink in recent years as its production falls and as the South American country, home to the largest known oil reserves outside the Middle East, ships more of its oil to other destinations including China.

The United States remains the largest oil trade partner to Venezuela, which shipped an average of 987,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the United States last year, down from 1.06 million bpd in 2009, according to U.S. data.

In 2009, Venezuela said that PDVSA planned to supply Iran with up to 20,000 barrels per day of gasoline, in an effort to help its import-dependent political ally.

Later, in 2010, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said PDVSA had halted supplies of fuel to Iran after the country resolved its fuel shortages. However, bills of lading suggest that PDVSA continued to ship some fuel to Iran from its refinery and oil storage facilities on the Caribbean island of Curacao.

To try to get Tehran to drop its nuclear work, the U.S. Congress passed sanctions last year targeting Iran's energy and banking sectors by threatening to penalize foreign companies that do business with Iran.

As a result, major oil companies have halted business with Iran, which is dependent on gasoline imports due to a lack of refining capacity.

The U.S. prohibitions are separate from U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Those sanctions do not include a ban on gasoline sales.

Steinberg said Iran's response to the latest offer of nuclear talks was inadequate and that the United States and its allies would continue to increase pressure, although there has been little sign that Tehran is willing to change its posture.

Steinberg said the United States was imposing additional sanctions on 16 companies and individuals for activities related to proliferation of technologies related to nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction as well as cruise and ballistic missiles.

Most of the companies and individuals -- based in China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Belarus -- were sanctioned due to dealings with Iran, Steinberg said. The new U.S. move will exclude them from U.S. government contracts, bar certain weapons sales and impose other restrictions.

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Arshad Mohammed, Matt Robinson, Joshua Schneyer and David Sheppard; Editing by John O'Callaghan, Warren Strobel and Vicki Allen)


May 21, 2011

MasterMetals: Precious Metals Charts in Euros, USD and CAD

Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium Charts in Euros

Prices in Euros per ounce and per kilo in 8 and 24 hour intervals


 
Gold
Price per ounce
8 hour
24 hour

Price per kilo
8 hour
24 hour
Source: KitcoCharts,/Kitco.com


 

The MasterMetals Blog

May 16, 2011

Details of the accusations against IMF chief

just in case you were curious, the details of the DSK accusations are below.

Here are the criminal charges filed against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the Manhattan Criminal Court, NY.

He was denied bail on Monday on attempted rape and other criminal charges and prosecutors said they are investigating whether he may have engaged in similar conduct once before.

Detective Steven Lane, shield 03295 of the Detective Boro Manhattan Special Victims Squad, states as follows: On May 14, 2011, at about 12:00 hours inside of 45 West 44th street in the county and state of New York, the defendant committed the offenses of:
1. Criminal sexual act in the first degree (2 counts)
2. Attempted rape in the first degree (1 count)
3. Sexual abuse in the first degree (1 count)
4. Unlawful imprisonment in the 2nd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)
5. Sexual abuse in the 3rd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)
6. Forcible touching-DNA-eligible-MISD
The defendant engaged in oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; the defendant restrained another person; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact without the latter's consent; and in that the defendant intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touched the sexual and other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading and abusing such person, and for the purpose of gratifying the defendant's sexual desire..
The offenses were committed under the following circumstances:
Deponent states that deponent is informed by an individual known to the District Attorney's office that defendant 1) shut the door to the above location and prevented informant from leaving the above location; 2) grabbed informant's breasts without consent; 3) attempted to pull down informant's pantyhose and forcibly grabbed informant's vaginal area; 4) forcibly made contact with his penis and informant's mouth twice; and 5) was able to accomplish the above acts by using actual physical force.
Details of the accusations against IMF chief | Reuters:

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Brazil - prepare for devaluation

Brazil - prepare for devaluation
Guest post By Thierry Apoteker, CEO and chief economist at TAC
TAC quantitative models show that the BRL is currently overvalued by about 25 to 30 per cent. The IMF index for the BRL real effective exchange rate suggests a 50 per cent overvaluation. With a combination of slower growth, higher external deficits, large speculative inflows and difficulty in cyclical management, the question is now not if the currency will depreciate, but when and by how much.

Guest post: Brazil - prepare for devaluation

May 13, 2011

Mongolia plans to issue first sovereign bonds


The money has not yet come in, but the debt has already started...

Mineral-rich Mongolia plans to issue first sovereign bonds - FT.com
Mongolia plans to issue its first sovereign bonds this month, marking a milestone for capital markets in this resource-rich democracy.

The newly created Development Bank of Mongolia will issue $700m in sovereign bonds to fund lending programmes...in areas that include infrastructure, industry, energy and roads. 

the issuance would take place in tranches beginning this month, with the first slice likely to be $100m.


The bond will be in tugrik, the Mongolian currency, which has appreciated by 1.6 per cent against the dollar since January.
investment in the mining sector has soared in the past two years along with global commodities prices.

Government revenues from the mining sector are set to jump next year as the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine comes online, and politicians in Ulan Bator are looking for ways to manage the coming influx into state coffers.

The Development Bank is being set up with training from the Korean Development Bank and the Development Bank of Japan. 
yields on the bonds could be quite low, perhaps 6-8 per cent.

Mongolian sovereign debt has a B1 non-investment grade rating from Moody’s


Read the full article here: FT.com / Capital Markets - Mineral-rich Mongolia plans to issue first sovereign bonds


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May 11, 2011

U.S.: Fed is not alone in buying Treasuries

I Get By with a Little [or A LOT] of Help from my Friends!!

U.S. Watch

In February economic forecasters were quite up beat about the economic outlook. At the time, incoming data were on balance consistent with an acceleration of economic growth. However, statistics released in March quickly started to point to less momentum, a trend that extended in April. By mid month, it was evident that the U.S. economy was hitting a soft patch in Q1. The extent to which reported data were weaker than generally expected over that period is captured by the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index. The rolling three-month index, calculated daily, has contracted significantly since the first week of March and it is still loosing ground. For many, the weakness in reported data and the apparent dovishness of key Fed officials largely explain why 10-year Treasuries closed last week yielding only 3.15%. Obviously, these factors are at play. However, we think it is worth noting that foreign central banks have been hefty buyers of US securities more recently. From April 6 to May 4th, holding of securities held in custody at the Fed for foreign official and international accounts have jumped by more than $51 billion. This did happen while the Fed was proceeding with its large purchases of Treasuries, adding more than $80 billion to its own bonds portfolio. While all the stars appear to have been aligned to pull bond yields lower, it remains to be seen for how long hefty demand from central banks will last. For one, the Fed will be done with QE2 by the end of June. In that context, our belief that GDP will rebound above 3.5% in Q2 make us sceptical about the sustainability of the recent bond rally.

 

Source: National Bank Financial Group, Paul-André Pinsonnault, Senior Fixed Income Economist



May 9, 2011

Financial Times: Commodity hedge fund loses $400m in oil slide

Its about time to start revising the standard deviation models.... 

 May 08 2011 10:00 PM GMT
Commodity hedge fund loses $400m in oil slide
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By Sam Jones in London
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World's largest commodity hedge fund is the biggest of several large hedge funds believed to be reeling after the recent unexpected sell-off

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2b9bfa74-79a0-11e0-86bd-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss



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May 6, 2011

Teflon Stevie, forever?

Just as the days of the teflon market are coming to an end, so slowly prosecutors are finally discovering all the grizly details of how one make billions of dollar year after year without fail. And when they put the full picture together, teflon Stevie is next.



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