July 2017

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Is This The End Of The Oil Glut

In recent weeks, the crude oil market has finally started to show signs that it could be heading toward rebalancing—the stated goal of OPEC’s cuts and the favorite buzzword of analysts and officials this year. Saudi Arabia is cutting crude oil exports, notably to the U.S., in a renewed effort to influence the oil market after inventories continue to be high seven months into the production cut deal. At the same time there is record-high refinery input in the U.S. this summer. Summer is a peak demand season outside the U.S. as well.…

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Qatar launches wide-ranging WTO complaint against trade boycott

Qatar filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organization on Monday to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, the director of Qatar’s WTO office Ali Alwaleed al-Thani told Reuters. By formally “requesting consultations” with the three countries, the first step in a trade dispute, Qatar triggered a 60 day deadline for them to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO and potential retaliatory trade sanctions. “We’ve given sufficient time to hear the legal explanations on how these measures are in compliance with their commitments, to no satisfactory result,” al-Thani said. “We have always called for dialogue, for negotiations, and this is part of our strategy to talk to the members […]

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Trump Axes Obama’s MyRA Retirement Accounts After $70mm Of Taxpayer Funds Wasted

During his January 2014 State of the Union address Obama announced the creation of a new financial product that would allow American workers, those without access to retirement accounts anyway, to directly participate in the U.S. Treasury’s debt ponzi on a tax-deferred basis.  The accounts were cleverly named MyRA and were intended to be a substitute for people who didn’t have access to an employee-sponsored 401k…with one little catch…money deposited in the accounts could only be invested in U.S. government bonds.  Here’s an excerpt from Obama’s speech at the time:

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks. That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-class Americans. Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can…

To summarize, a MyRA was, more or less, an IRA without the investing flexibility as you could only invest in a massive government-sponsored ponzi scheme.

Shockingly, as the New York Times points out today, the accounts turned out to be a massive disaster costing taxpayers $70 million, or roughly 2x the amount of money that was invested in the 20,000 accounts that were actually opened and funded. 

President Barack Obama ordered the creation of the so-called starter accounts three years ago, and they became available at the end of 2015. Since then, about 20,000 accounts have been opened, with participants contributing a total of $34 million, according to the Treasury; the median account balance was $500. An additional 10,000 accounts whose owners have not contributed to them have been opened.


Jovita Carranza, the United States treasurer, said in a statement that demand for the accounts was not high enough to justify the expense. The program has cost $70 million since 2014, according to the Treasury, and would cost $10 million a year in the future.



Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, this is yet another component of the ‘Obama legacy’ that taxpayers will no longer have to pour millions of their hard-earned cash into propping up as the Trump administration has just announced that the program was axed last Friday.

An Obama-era program that created savings accounts to help more people put away money for retirement is being shut down by the Treasury Department, which deemed the program too expensive.


The 30,000 participants in the program, known as myRA and intended for people who did not have access to workplace savings plans, were sent an email on Friday morning alerting them of the closing. Participants were informed that they could roll the money into a Roth individual retirement account, the Treasury Department said.

Really surprising that people didn’t want to open a really restrictive IRA substitute where proceeds could only be invested in a ponzi scheme…

The post Trump Axes Obama’s MyRA Retirement Accounts After $70mm Of Taxpayer Funds Wasted appeared first on crude-oil.news.

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Where To For Gold?

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

Regular readers know I’m a big fan of discrimination.

As such, I choose my friends wisely.

I chat regularly with a select group of friends and colleagues whose particular areas of expertise and intellect I value deeply. Sometimes we agree… and sometimes we don’t but always the thought process is extremely valuable. It is where we disagree that often the most value can be found.

One of those fine gentlemen is Brent Johnson. Brent runs the Santiago Capital gold fund and he recently published a video presenting his ideas – topics I’ve discussed at length with him in the past.

I’ve been asked often why I’m not heavily invested in gold.

The answer is in part because I’m very focused on what moves any market – global liquidity flows and an intricate web of moving pieces. Brent does an excellent job of bringing many of these moving pieces together and how this affects the price of gold in this presentation.

He is one of the only gold fund managers I know of who manages to look at the world rationally – as it is, rather than as he would wish it to be. He’s one of the only ones who seems to understand that it’s liquidity flows that moves markets.

I think it’s really worth watching and ingesting:



– Chris

“O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper, which makes bank credit like a bark of vapour.” — Lord Byron, Don Juan


Liked this article? Then you’ll probably like my other missives on

this topic as well. Go here to access them (free, of course).


The post Where To For Gold? appeared first on crude-oil.news.

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King Salman’s efforts to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque lauded

Arab News
Tue, 2017-08-01 03:00

JEDDAH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday thanked King Salman for making contact with world leaders, resulting in the reopening of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and the removal of restrictions on entry to worshippers.
Presiding over the Cabinet at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed said the king’s efforts highlighted Saudi keenness to preserve the rights of Muslims to perform their rituals with ease, and the need to respect the holy site’s sanctity.
The crown prince briefed the Cabinet on his meetings with the commander of US Central Command, during which they discussed bilateral military issues and joint counterterrorism efforts. He also brief the Cabinet on his meeting with Iraqi cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr on Saudi-Iraqi relations.
The Cabinet condemned the launch by Yemen’s Houthi militia of a ballistic missile toward Makkah in an attempt to spoil the Hajj season.
The Cabinet said this reaffirmed the claim by the Saudi-led coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen that smuggling missiles into the country is due to the absence of control over Yemen’s Hodeidah port.
Regarding the Qatar crisis, the Cabinet welcomed the outcome of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt — and the affirmation of their six principles on combating terror and its financing.
The Cabinet welcomed the ATQ’s call for implementation of 13 demands to ensure peace and stability in the region and the world. It also welcomed the ATQ’s condemnation of Doha’s plan to obstruct Qataris from performing Hajj, and the quartet’s appreciation of Saudi facilities to receive pilgrims.
The Cabinet welcomed the statement by Arab foreign ministers on Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa, and their appreciation of King Salman’s efforts to protect the mosque. In this context, the Cabinet expressed the longstanding Saudi stance in support of the Palestinian people, and rejection of the imposition of unilateral measures aimed at disrespecting Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
It said the only way to achieve peace is to implement the Arab Peace Initiative and lay down an international mechanism that will ensure Palestinian rights and end Israeli occupation.
The Cabinet appreciated condemnation and rejection by the permanent representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) of all Israeli measures in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
The Cabinet also renewed strong Saudi condemnation of the terror attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.
It approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) against commercial fraud between the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Industry.
The Cabinet approved a cooperation agreement on the peaceful use of atomic energy between the Saudi and Kazakh governments.
It authorized the president of the General Auditing Bureau, or whomever he authorizes, to discuss a draft MoU between the bureau and its counterparts in the UAE, Egypt and Russia for cooperation in accounting, controlling and technical areas.
The Cabinet approved rules of work for the supervisory committees of sectors targeted for privatization.
It approved Saudi participation in Expo Dubai 2020, and approved the statute of the Economic Judiciary Authority of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Cabinet approved the appointment of the following as members of the Family Affairs Council for three years: Princess Lulua Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Dr. Lana bint Hasan bin Said, Dr. Bandar bin Hamoud Al-Suwailim and Dr. Raja bint Omar Said.

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