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Keystone XL Nebraska Route Approval Struck Down By Judge

Keystone XL Nebraska Route Approval Struck Down By Judge.

AP  |  Posted: 02/19/2014 4:14 pm EST  |  Updated: 02/19/2014 11:59 pm EST

keystone xl nebraska

WASHINGTON – Not even the U.S. president can save the Keystone XL pipeline project now — at least not by himself.

The long-delayed plan suffered a major setback Wednesday when a Nebraska district judge ripped up a state law that could have forced landowners to allow the pipeline through their property.

The ruling opens up the prospect of more regulatory hurdles, complicated negotiations with landowners, legal fights and fresh delays, regardless of whether or not Barack Obama ever approves the controversial project.

Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy declared unconstitutional a law that had given Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman the power to push the project through private land.

Unless the law is reinstated by a higher court, Calgary-based pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. could be forced to either draw up a new route or seek permission from every last landowner on the current one.

Additional lawsuits seem almost inevitable in the ongoing fight over a project designed to increase the pipeline capacity for Canadian oil into the U.S. by about one-quarter — a pitched battle that has already lasted for years.

Stacy insisted her ruling had nothing to do with the merits of the pipeline and everything to do with Nebraska’s constitution.

“TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has become a political lightning rod for both supporters and opponents of the pipeline, but the issues before this court have nothing to do with the merits of that pipeline,” she wrote.

“The constitutional issues before this court will not require consideration of the current pipeline debate, nor will the decision in this case resolve that debate.”

State officials who defended the law will appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court. Nebraska lawmakers may have to pass a new pipeline-siting law to allow the third-party Public Service Commission to act.

If they do, it’s not yet clear how long the five-member commission might take on the issue or whether it would approve the pipeline.

TransCanada, meanwhile, said it was disappointed and disagreed with the decision, but would analyze it before deciding on its next steps.

As it stands, TransCanada has settled with landowners in five of six U.S. states through which the pipeline is supposed to pass, as well as with more than two-thirds of the affected landowners in Nebraska.

But a minority have kept fighting, despite skyrocketing offers of compensation.

Jeanne Crumly and her husband have seen offers for use of their land surge from $8,900 to $61,977.84. But they don’t want the pipeline on their family farm at any price.

Crumly, who lives in the tiny Nebraska town of Page, about 300 kilometres northwest of Omaha, said she had to read the ruling a couple of times to believe it. She made celebratory phone calls to her husband and children once it sank in.

“It felt great,” Crumly said. “There’s some justice and it’s not just money running the show.”

The company had been upping the ante for access to people’s property, presumably to settle all possible disputes in the event Obama approved the pipeline.

TransCanada, which has complained it’s been losing money as the pipeline equipment sits idle, had been hoping to start building during this year’s construction season.

That plan now seems like a distant long shot.

The southern leg of the pipeline is already operational. But oil must still be transported by rail from Alberta through the northern U.S. before it can be sent by pipeline to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

The issue came up at a North American leaders’ summit in Mexico, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper pressed Obama to provide some clarity on his intentions.

Officials said Obama’s message remained unchanged: there’s a regulatory process underway, and he doesn’t control it.

There’s a 90-day period during which U.S. government departments can raise concerns about the pipeline, before the State Department makes a final recommendation to the president.

However, administration officials have made it clear that there is no set deadline for either State or the president to make the final call.

Obama did add during a news conference later that he and Harper spoke about the need to work together on dealing with greenhouse-gas emissions.

There is some speculation in Washington that Obama might want to delay the politically sensitive decision until after November’s midterm elections.

How to Save Enough for Retirement | Sarah Twomey

How to Save Enough for Retirement | Sarah Twomey.

Sarah Twomey

Writer, Desjardins Group

Posted: 02/19/2014 12:34 pm

 Are you saving enough for retirement?

Over the years that Desjardins Group conducted its retirement survey, two themes always came up: most Canadians avoid retirement planning and they’re sure they haven’t saved enough. So, how prepared are you?

A) You’re totally confident about your financial security and retirement plans, or;
B) You know you haven’t saved enough, but now you’re ready to make a plan.
If you answered B, the experts from Desjardins have some suggestions to help you get started:

1) Think about what your retirement will look like: Will you be spending your retirement travelling the world or will you just keep on working? According to the results in previous retirement surveys, more than half of respondents expected to do just that. Many said it was because working kept them active. But the most popular reason was financial. While it might be nice to think that you could continue your current working lifestyle well into your 80s. But life has a way of throwing you curveballs. The reality is that less than one retiree in five continues to work. In fact, events like job loss, a disability, becoming caregiver to a loved one, or simply fatigue can change your plans in an instant. This is why it’s important to visualize what your life might look as part of creating a solid plan.

2) Figure out how much money you’ll need to save: Keep in mind that you’ll likely need enough savings for a retirement that last 25 to 30 years. For example, the average 55-year-old woman who is a non-smoker will live to 86 while her male counterpart will live to 83. That being said, you will likely need a retirement income of about 70 per cent of your gross working income. Here’s a snapshot of the type of income sources you may have if you were retiring today:

1. An employer pension, if it was available to you
2. The Canadian Pension Plan
3. The Old Age Security Pension
4. Savings in an RRSP and/or TFSA
Since future retirees have no control over the amounts of the first three sources of income, creating a substantial nest-egg within your RRSP and other savings accounts will be an essential part of your written retirement plan.

3) Each year, review your plan: The golden rule to ensuring you have saved enough is to regularly review your objectives and adjust your plan as required, as circumstances can change quite often over 20 years. For example, there may be changes in the tax rules, new laws, interest rates and public pension plans that may affect your goals. But if you stay flexible, all this is manageable, giving you much better odds of attaining your retirement goals.

Ponzi World (Over 3 Billion NOT Served): Collapse-O-Nomics: Commonsense is Extinct

Ponzi World (Over 3 Billion NOT Served): Collapse-O-Nomics: Commonsense is Extinct.

No Reasonable Idea Will Go unClusterfucked by the Idiocracy
The Lost Boys continue to decry today’s “Keynesian” policy failures – this obviously ludicrous idea of borrowing the economy out of debt. However, when I took (Macro) Econ 101 way back in 1987, the Professor at the time – an ardent Keynesian – taught us that correct application of fiscal stimulus is to run deficits during recessions and surpluses during expansion. Therefore, in the context of a typical five year business cycle, that would lead to one year of deficit followed by four years of surplus and hence a balanced budget (if not net surplus). However, today’s Keynesian bashers don’t know any of that, because they never took Econ 101 nor even Commonsense 101. These Keynesian bashers are as deluded as the Krugmanites who think they too know anything about appropriate use of fiscal policy. No sane doctor would prescribe using antibiotics for 30 years straight and then declare like a dumbfuck at the end of it all that antibiotics don’t work. This is all just a game by and for morons of which there is no shortage on all sides of this equation.

Keynes Didn’t Envision Reagan, Bush or Faux News
Unfortunately, Keynes never envisioned the Idiocracy, nor how bastardized his policies would become over the course of time, when placed in the hands of hill billies and B Actors looking for a retirement gig. Fiscal policy was never intended to sponsor tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, military blunders, nor military build-ups. Nor did he envision this concept endorsed by Krugmanites of bailing out a 30 year leveraged consumption binge and multi-year housing boom via the application of totally unlimited government borrowing. And needless to say, he never envisioned monetization of debt solely to prop up the stock market while the real economy was outsourced in the background. All of this chicanery is the result of what happens when Frat Boys go to college to socialize rather than to get a real education. They become very good at pretending to know things, while having absolutely zero judgement as to how these policies need to be applied in order to be effective. In other words, a little bit of knowledge is an extremely dangerous thing.
Extreme Deflation Doesn’t Mean Cheaper Computers at Best Buy
Keynes himself was an extremely intelligent man – whose ideas were far beyond the grasp of today’s policy-making game show hosts. Anyone who has ever read “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” is standing on the shoulders of an intellectual giant, if they understand what he is saying, at all. Moreover, the problem he was trying to solve was how to mitigate the devastating human impacts resulting from The Great Depression. He was addressing a real depression, not a three month hiatus from shopping binges and expensive dinners, which is what the Idiocracy deems to be this recent “great recession”.
Worse yet, the Lost Boys seem to believe that deflation means lower prices at Best Buy. Unfortunately in a real depression, deflation means a total collapse in demand leading to a collapse in prices. In a fixed cost-based world wherein all corporate entities have taken full advantage of 0% interest rates to maximize financial leverage – then deflation means bankruptcy. In other words, every possible mistake that could be made leading up to this lethal juncture, has been made, specifically around subsidizing cheap debt. In a fixed cost world, deflation means mass unemployment and accompanying turmoil. Which gets us to the next point.
The Polling Booth (and/or Molotov Cocktail) is the Final Arbiter of all Economic Theories
The rule of one vote per woman or man can work eventually. In the interim, however, it may not work well, if at all. The subversion of democracy via mass brainwashing aka. Faux News in addition to the dumbing down of a population via junk food and junk culture, is a lethal combination. In the interim, democracy can lead to any ludicrous outcome including the mass accumulation of wealth in the hands of an ever-dwindling minority.
Ultimately, however, there is only so much pain the masses can take and then they revolt. At that point, political democracy becomes economic democracy. No one can predict what new bastardized economic model will result from this ensuing pandemonium, however, rest assured it will look nothing like the current one.
In other words, in the fullness of time, economics and politics are one and the same. No economic model regardless of how textbook “efficient” it is deemed to be, can indefinitely withstand the polling booth. That’s just one more lesson that today’s frat boys and billionaires are going to find out the hard way. The future will not be about what a handful of entitled people want for themselves, with zero concern for their fellow man. That childish fantasy will be flushed down the toilet of history, where it belongs.The Pendulum Swings
At this late juncture, the political pendulum is still hard to the right on economic policy, not withstanding the feel good election of Obama to Bush’s third and fourth terms. The political economy is the furthest to the right it has been since the early 1900s just prior to the Great Depression, during the heyday of the “robber barons”. Today’s power elite have pushed their luck to the absolute limit and then a lot further. What they don’t realize is that momentum has halted and the pendulum is getting set to swing back in the other direction. The Idiocracy has been conned into voting against their own economic interest for thirty fucking years straight. It’s an unprecedented run in modern history. When the political pendulum begins to swing the other way, the status quo political ideologies will be obliterated in lockstep with the status quo pseudo-economy. The recalibration will be instantaneous and the elite’s grasp on power will be challenged, violently.

Commonsense Doesn’t Sell Text Books
Lastly, this omnipresent buffoonish devotion to economic ideology – Keynesianism, Monetarism, Austrianism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism etc. has meant that commonsense has been thrown out the window. Commonsense of course being the only moderating control rod in all of these economic “systems”. However, to be a commonsense-based centrist is to be seen as being weak and lacking confidence. Clearly, the “best ideas” deserve slavish unquestioning devotion. Unfortunately, in the real world, all of these theories – which is what they are – have massive flaws so wide you can drive a truck through them, therefore it’s only a matter of time before their brainwashed proponents take the application of theory to the ludicrous extreme, at which point these “systems” all collapse in their own uniquely spectacular fashion.Voila.

Activist Post: Missing Military-Industrial-Complex Money

Activist Post: Missing Military-Industrial-Complex Money.

James Hall
Activist Post

When Major General Smedley Butler made his case, “War is a Racket” he did not pull any punches.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! That is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it.

The business of military procurement has multiplied since his fateful revelations.

Not satisfied with fair profits or feasible competition, the practices of the defense corporatists illustrate one aspect of waste, graft and systemic bribery. William D. Hartung describes the consolidation and expanse of a select group of companies in the paper, The Military-Industrial Complex Revisited: Shifting Patterns of Military Contracting in the Post-9/11 Period

Many of the same companies that benefited from increased Pentagon and war spending were top contractors for other security related agencies. For example, Lockheed Martin was not only the top contractor for the Pentagon, but it also ranked number one at the Department of Energy; number eight at the Department of Homeland Security (Boeing was number one); number two at the State Department; and number three at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Contracts let by these agencies were only a fraction of the levels awarded by the Pentagon, but they were significant nonetheless. For example, the Department of Homeland Security issued $13.4 billion in contracts in FY2008, NASA $15.9 billion, the State Department $5.5 billion, and the Department of Energy $24.6 billion.

This dramatic growth in budgets is even more significant, when viewed in the context of world expenditures of other counties. Leaving aside the relative merits of the dangers and risk of external threats, the gigantic enterprise of fostering the biggest military apparatus in history has made select factions rich at the expense of the many.

Jonathan Turley in “Pentagon Plugs: New Study Finds Pentagon Has Hidden Trillions In Missing Money And Equipment,” references an example on how the overall avoidance of financial accountability, outright fraud and intentional concealment operates.

A new report has detailed how the military has cooked the books to hide trillions, that’s right trillions, in missing money and equipment. The military calls them “plugs,” a curious term for fraud. These are knowingly fake figures used to hide the fact that there is no accurate record of the money.

The plugs are generally the work of the office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Required to complete an audit, the staff simply faked the numbers.

Reuter’s reports on a “Special Report: The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste.”

Over the past 10 years, the Defense Department has signed contracts for the provision of more than $3 trillion in goods and services. How much of that money is wasted in overpayments to contractors, or was never spent and never remitted to the Treasury, is a mystery. That’s because of a massive backlog of “closeouts” – audits meant to ensure that a contract was fulfilled and the money ended up in the right place.

Now trillions are sums that are unimaginable The Department of the Treasury acknowledges that U.S. gold reserves (if you believe their figures) total $11,041,059,958.16 as of their Current Report: January 31, 2014.

An eleven billion dollars equivalent is a mere drop in the bucket to the monies allocated to the military and homeland security. Taxpayers are regularly deceived about the costs. Congress is kept in the dark about black programs. And the war racket keeps funneling and siphoning off unknown sums to accounts that only a super computer can track.

Corporatocracy: How the Corporate Welfare State Divides and Conquers is a video by James Corbett that provides an insightful analysis which establishes a surreal account how the oligarchy operates.  The financial shenanigans of corporatists contribute to the interlocking directorates, which run the money pit that keeps the empire operating.

A rational reform of a depraved money laundering arrangement is impossible without a fundamental repudiation of the internationalist foreign policy doctrines that permeates the State Department. Funding advanced technological warfare platforms that are unheard of to even congressional oversight is profoundly unconstitutional.

When such practices become routine, the economic incentives breed crooked abuses. The obligations for responsible public policy are methodically destroyed, when transparency is eliminated.

Washington’s Blog provides several useful sources that document the extent of the problem in “$8.5 TRILLION In Taxpayer Money Doled Out By Congress To The Pentagon Since 1996 … Has NEVER Been Accounted For” and sums up with a bleak assessment.

The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

Evidently, the elites that benefit from bilking appropriations and the board members that steer the defense contractors want the con to continue. For all the money directed towards maintaining the war machine, our actual security become less secure.

Banks launder ill-gotten gain, as prevailing practice, in the normal course of business because the arm merchants are protected players in the trade. The reprehensible circle that the dogs of war unleash the cash flow from their illicit drug sales, through arms sales, allows for the smooth transfer of hidden blood money into number accounts.

Such an organized system of mutual payoffs greases the ever growing industry of fear and destruction. All the missing money is buried in the unknown cashes of subterranean tyranny. Creating false flag threats allows for imaginary scourges to be new enemies. Protection from such manufactured foes is the real business of the military-industrial-complex.

So, when more details surface about the lost and unaccounted military funding money, it is just part of the price of keeping you safe.

Original article archived here

James Hall is a reformed, former political operative. This pundit’s formal instruction in History, Philosophy and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff of several politicians and in many campaigns. A believer in authentic Public Service, independent business interests were pursued in the private sector. Speculation in markets, and international business investments, allowed for extensive travel and a world view for commerce.  Hall is the publisher of BREAKING ALL THE RULES. Contact batr@batr.org

The Chinese Dominoes Are About To Fall: Complete List Of Upcoming Trust Defaults | Zero Hedge

The Chinese Dominoes Are About To Fall: Complete List Of Upcoming Trust Defaults | Zero Hedge.

As has been widely reported on these pages in the past month, after a near-reality experience almost claimed the first material Chinese shadow banking default, the Chinese government and central bank did what they do best: a mysterious “white knight” emerged out of nowhere, and bailed out the Credit Equals Gold #1 Trust. A few days later, we reported that China Development Bank lent 2 billion yuan to coal company Shanxi Liansheng, which owes almost 30b yuan to lenders including banks, trusts and asset management firms. And while we know how “difficult” it was for China to do the wrong thing and encourage moral hazard, despite repeated assurances by one after another PBOC director that this time the central bank means business, we have good news: these two narrowly averted Trust defaults are just the beginning – it is all downhill from here.

As Bank of America reports in an analysis by David Cui, the Trust defaults are about to get hot and heavy. To wit:

We believe that during April to July the market may see many trust products threatening to default, especially those related to coal mines. By our estimate, the first real default most likely could happen in May with a Sichuan lead/zinc trust product worth Rmb140mn. This is because the product is relatively small (so the government may use it as a test case), the underlying asset is not attractive (so little chance of 3rd parties taking it over) and we also have heard very little on parties involved trying to work things out. Whether this will trigger an avalanche of future trust defaults remains to be seen and this presents a key risk to the market in our opinion.

 

… it’s still possible that many of the upcoming cases in Apr-July may get worked out one way or the other. Nevertheless, as we believe that many of the underlying assets of the trust products are insolvent, it’s a matter of time that many products will ultimately default, in our view. Various bail-outs will only delay the inevitable.

From BofA’s David Cui

12 potential defaults reported by the media

Table 1 summarizes the information on the 12 major potential defaults in the trust industry that have been reported by the media. Most of them are coal mine related and heavily concentrated in one area, Shanxi Province. So far it seems to us that most of them may get extended upon the due date. The only exception over the next few months appears to be a product issued by China Credit Trust for a lead and zinc miner in Sichuan, Nonggeshan. Even without any major default over the next few months, the process of debt restructuring can be messy and weigh heavily on market sentiment.

19 Feb 2014, Rmb109mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Jilin Trust

  • Details: This Rmb109mn tranche is part of a six-tranche trust product worth a total of Rmb973mn arranged by Jilin Trust for Liansheng, a Shanxi coal miner. The other five tranches have matured since 2H 2013 and remain overdue.
  • Potential outcome: Repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Liansheng is undergoing a debt restructuring coordinated by the Shanxi provincial government. 1) The provincial government plans to help out involved financial institutions to ensure the region’s access to ongoing financing. According to people close to the situation, the implicit guarantee practice will most likely continue with the Liansheng’s case. 2) Trust companies may have to follow banks to help the miner out. Banks have agreed to extend their mid/long term loans by three years. Top 3 banks have total debts of Rmb10.6bn to Liansheng; top 3 trust lenders, Rmb3.7bn.

(Shanghai Securities News, 2/11; Economic Information, 2/13)

21 Feb 2014, Rmb500mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Shanxi Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the Jilin Trust case.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

07 Mar 2014, Rmb664mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Changan Trust

  • Details: Other than the Rmb664mn product to mature on Mar 7, Changan Trust arranged another two products for Liansheng, totaling Rmb536mn which matured in Nov 2013. Both products remain overdue.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

31 Mar 2014, Rmb196mn borrowed by Magic Property & arranged by CITIC Trust

  • Details: invested in an office building in Chongqing. The Chongqing developer ran into financial problems in mid-2013. CITIC Trust tried to auction the collateral but failed to do so because the developer has sold the collateral and also mortgaged it to a few other lenders.
  • Potential outcome: The developer and the trust company may share the repayment.
  • Reasons: 1) When CITIC Trust sold the product, it did not specify the underlying investment project. 2) The local government has intervened, fearing social unrest. A local buyer of a unit in the office building committed suicide as he/she could not obtain the title to the property due to the title dispute between the trust and the developer.

(Source: Financial Planning Weekly, 3/6/2013; Guangzhou Daily, 4/6/2013, Boxun, 5/10/2013)

14 May 2014, Rmb1.5bn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by China Jiangxi International Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other three Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

30 May 2014, Rmb140mn borrowed by Nonggeshan & arranged by China Credit Trust

  • Details: invested in a lead and zinc mine in Sichuan.
  • Potential outcome: Likely to default.
  • Reasons: 1) Compared to coal mines of Zhenfu and Liansheng, the lead and zinc mine is a much less attractive asset: it is located in the mountains over 5,000 meters in altitude, inaccessible for 6 months of the year due to weather conditions, with low lead/zinc content; 2) According to an unnamed regulator, the central government is comfortable with trust defaults in the range of Rmb100-200mn.

(Source: 21st Century Business Herald, 31/7/2012; Caiing, 1/27)

25 Jul 2014, Rmb1.3bn borrowed by Xinbeifang & arranged by China Credit Trust

  • Details: Xinbeifang is another Shanxi coal miner.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Xinbeifang is negotiating with an SOE to sell some of its coal mine assets.

(Source: China Securities Journal, 1/15)

27 Jul 2014, Rmb319mn borrowed by Hongsheng & arranged by Huarong Trust

  • Details: Hongsheng is a Shanxi coal miner. Huarong sold another trust product for it which will mature in 4 September 2014, worth Rmb63mn.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Hongsheng may have assets to secure more financing. It issued these two trust products to replace another trust product that matured in Q3 2012. The owner also issued other trust products using his personal property assets as collateral and raised Rmb1.2bn.

(21st Century Business Herald, 20/12/2013)

7 Sept 2014: Rmb400mn borrowed by Zengdai & arranged by CCB Trust

  • Details: 1) The proceeds of the product were invested in financial markets. 2) Its 1st tranche, worth Rmb400mn, matured in Mar 2013 with a 38% loss vs. an expected return of 20-30%. Investors agreed to extend the maturity of the product to Sept 2014. 3) Its 2nd tranche, worth Rmb359mn, matured in June 2013 with a 31% loss vs. an expected return of 20-30%. Investors agreed to extend the maturity of the 2nd tranche to Dec 2014.
  • Potential outcome: The trust company and the investment company may share the losses.
  • Reasons: 1) The investment company refused to repay investors in full at the original due date so the trust company may have to chip in; 2) By Jan 2014, the 1st tranche reported a narrower loss of 24%, and the 2nd tranche, also a narrower loss of 13%; 3) Zengdai may pay on behalf of its investment company for reputation’s sake.

(Source: Securities Daily, 9/7/2013; CCB Trust)

20 Nov 2014, Rmb600mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by China Jiangxi Int’l Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

23 Dec2014: Rmb1.1bn borrowed by Xiaoyi Dewei & arranged by China Resources Trust

  • Details: Xiaoyi Dewei is a Shanxi coal miner. The trust product originally matured in Dec 2013 but repayment was extended to Dec 2014.
  • Potential outcome: Likely to default.
  • Reason: Both the miner and the trust company refused to repay investors in full at the original due date. There has been no reporting on asset sales by Xiaoyi Dewei.

(Source: Financial Planning Weekly, 11 Nov 2013)

15 Jan 2015, Rmb1.2bn borrowed by Hongsheng’s owner & arranged by Minmetals Trust

  • Details: the collateral is the Shanxi coal miner’s personal property assets.
  • Potential outcome: May be replaced by a new trust product.
  • Reason: Same as the July 2014 Rmb319mn trust product issued by Huarong Trust.

(21st Century Business Herald, 20/12/2013)

2Q/3Q 2014 – the next peak maturing period for collective trusts

We consider the trust market the most vulnerable part of the major financing channels for companies, i.e. loan, corporate bond and trust. The quality of the borrowers in the trust market tends to among the lowest. Within the trust market, collective trust products, i.e. those sold to more than one investor, tend to be risker than single trust products, i.e. those sold to a single investor. This is because investors in single trust products tend to be more substantial in resources, thus most likely more sophisticated in their risk control.

The Wind database lists close to 12,000 collective trust products, worth Rmb1.34tr, which cover roughly half of the collective trust market (Rmb2.72tr as of the end of 2013). It has reasonably good quality data series on the issuing dates and amounts raised. However, data on maturing dates are sporadic. We estimate that the average duration of the trust products is around 2 years. Based on this assumption and the issuing dates, we have mapped out a rough maturing profile of the collective trust market. As we can see from Chart 1, 2Q and 3Q this year will be the next peak maturing period for this market.

Coal mine trusts maturity schedule

We went through the offering documents of the top 200 collective trust products by size (the smallest being Rmb400mn), worth some Rmb145bn in total. They represent roughly 10% of the trust products in the Wind database and 5% of the overall collective trust market. We identified the industries of the issuers, the regions where their businesses are located and the maturity dates of the products. Table 2 summarizes the results.

We believe that coal mine trusts are the most likely to default over the coming months because 1) coal price has dropped sharply in recent quarters; 2) most of the issuers are private enterprises; and 3) they tend to be from provinces whose governments rely heavily on resources related income, e.g., Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. On the other hand, the property market has been reasonably buoyant in recent times while LGFVs generally have access to re-financing until the implicit guarantee is removed (a whole different topic worthy another report later). Based on the maturing schedule of the top 200 collective trust products, we expect more noise about coal mine trust defaults around Apr, June and July (Chart 2).

Table 3 lists the coal mine trust products that are in our study.

For the trust market, we only have data on approximately half of the collective trust market, which in turn, accounts for about a quarter of the overall trust market. So essentially, we only covered about 1/8 of the total trust market with our analysis. Single trusts are less risky than collective trusts. Nevertheless, if the solvency issue is a systemic problem as we expect, many single trusts will ultimately default by our assessment.

Our analysis has largely zoomed in on coal mine trusts because they represent the clear and present danger given how depressed the coal market has been. However, property related trusts may come under increasing pressure as we sense that the property market may be turning south in small cities. As a result, some of those related products may threaten to default reasonably soon. Then we have the big unknown – LGFV trusts. Whether and when they may default is largely a political decision in our opinion.

Tepco Finds New Leak of Radioactive Water at Fukushima Site – Bloomberg

Tepco Finds New Leak of Radioactive Water at Fukushima Site – Bloomberg.

By Masumi Suga, Yuji Okada and Jacob Adelman  Feb 20, 2014 2:28 AM ET

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), operator of the crisis-ridden Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, said it found a new leak near the tanks holding contaminated water at the disaster site.

The utility, which serves 29 million customers in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is collecting soil where the leak occurred and doesn’t believe any water reached the ocean, company executives said at a briefing in Tokyo. About 100 metric tons (26,400 gallons) of water may have escaped a concrete barrier, the company said.

“Such a water leak was found despite a variety of measures taken by the company,” Masayuki Ono, an official at the utility’s nuclear power and plant division, said. “We are sorry to have caused concern,” he said.

The finding is a reminder of the task still facing Tokyo Electric as the utility, known as Tepco, battles to manage the plant almost three years since the earthquake and tsunami.

Beta radiation readings of 230 million becquerels per liter were taken in a sample collected from a gutter on top of the leaked tank at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, according to a statement from the Tokyo-based utility. Japan’s safety limit for radioactive materials in drinking water is 10 becquerels per liter, according to the health ministry.

Radioactive water overflowed from the 10-meter long tank after two valves — which were supposed to be closed — had been opened, Ono said today. The leak was found 700 meters (0.4 miles) from the ocean in an area isolated from any drainage ditch, he said.

Setback to Decommissioning

Japan’s nuclear regulator, which is planning to check the utility’s probe of the leak and planned preventative measures, said today that it has asked Tepco to ensure no more leaks from the same type of water storage tanks occur.

The leak highlights difficulties for the regulator as it seeks to force Tepco to limit radiation at the site without slowing down its decommissioning.

“We need a balance of the best regulation and also the quickest decommissioning at Fukushima Dai-Ichi because we really want to have the reduction of the risk at the site,” Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said today in Tokyo.

Tepco has installed about a thousand tanks at Fukushima to store hundreds of thousands of tons of water used to cool fuel after the nuclear accident in March 2011.

Some 300 tons of contaminated groundwater seep into the ocean each day at the Dai-Ichi station 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo, Japan’s government has said.

Between May 2011 and August 2013, as many as 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 40 trillion becquerels of tritium entered the ocean via groundwater, according to past statements from Tepco.

Tepco’s shares closed down 7 yen, or 2.4 percent, at 455 yen in Tokyo trading after earlier declining as much as 2.8 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 2.2 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Masumi Suga in Tokyo at msuga@bloomberg.net; Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net; Jacob Adelman in Tokyo atjadelman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

Bodies on the streets as Kiev erupts again – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Bodies on the streets as Kiev erupts again – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Gunfire breaks out and smoke rises over city as pressure mounts on Ukraine’s government to bring violence to an end.

Last updated: 20 Feb 2014 11:50

Top officials were evacuated from a government building overlooking the smoke-filled square [Reuters]
Fierce clashes between police and protesters in Ukraine’s capital have erupted anew and news agencies are reporting their journalists have seen bodies laid out on the edge of the protest encampment.

One policeman was killed and 28 suffered gunshot wounds on Thursday, Interior Ministry spokeman Serhiy Burlakov told the Associated Press news agency.

An Associated Press journalist said he had seen 10 bodies lying in the street. Fifteen bodies were lying on the ground covered by blankets on or near Kiev’s Independence Square, a Reuters photographer at the scene said.

As the violence exploded and heavy smoke from burning barricades at the encampment belched into the sky, the foreign ministers of three European countries were meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich, according to a presidential aide.

Masked anti-government protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at thick lines of armed anti-riot troops.

The demonstrators, who are protesting Yanukovich’s decision to strengthen ties with Russia at the expense of the European Union, pushed police forces back some 200 metres to retake control of the entire square, which anti-government protesters have occupied since November.

Top officials were evacuated from a government building overlooking the smoke-filled square, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian government told the Agence-France press news agency.

Police used rubber bullets to try to repel the assault and claimed that a sniper had wounded 20 officers by firing live ammunition from the window of a building overlooking the square.

Yanukovich was holding crisis talks with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland, ahead of an emergency meeting in Brussels where the EU is expected to impose sanctions against the Ukrainian government for the violence.

Yanukovich has appeared to struggle to formulate a clear policy over the past few days, which have seen Ukraine’s deadliest violence since independence and an escalating war of words between the West and former master Moscow over the future of the country sandwiched between the EU and Russia.

Goodbye Dollar, Hello Yuan – FinancialJuice – Live News. Live Discussion.

Goodbye Dollar, Hello Yuan – FinancialJuice – Live News. Live Discussion..

Goodbye Dollar, Hello Yuan


You know what’s it like, the driver stands there in front of the car that has just hit you up the back while looking at something happening down the street rather than checking on you hitting your breaks…and yet, he says “sorry, but you stopped too quickly, it wasn’t my bad driving”. Why is it that people just refuse to admit the truth even where it comes up and slaps them in the face? It’s exactly the same with the Death of the Dollar. Denial is the first stage in the mourning process that people go through when they have lost a loved one. Yes, just the mere fact that there is many an American out there who is actually denying this means that the Dollar is lying feet up on its back, six feet under already today. They are simply, in denying the fact, espousing the 7 stages of bereavement. The Dollar is dead. Today it’s Australia that will be sending flowers to the Americans.

ASX, the Australian Stock-Exchange operator and the Bank of China announced today that they are going to provide a Yuan settlement service between the two countries by the end of the first half-year 2014. China represents the biggest trading partner for the Australian market and trading in Dollars has no sense today. Transactions have been increasingly made in Yuan rather than the Dollar over the past few years. This new agreement comes just after last October’s agreement between the Eurozone and China and the currency-swap deal.

For all of those out there that will be screaming from the rooftops that China is slowing down, that the economy is under-performing (incidentally, they are still performing way better than any of us in the western world) the Chinese currency is one of the top traded currencies today in the world, and Australia has just said they don’t care if the economy is slowing down. The reason why the deal has been struck is because they are looking at China in the long-term view.

Since September 2013, the Yuan has been in the top ten of tradable currencies, according to research carried out by the Bank of International Settlements. The Yuan saw a jump from 17th position in 2010 to 9th place in 2013. There may be a slow-down in the economy and there may be problems with the structural reforms undertaken by the government, but in the long-term the Yuan will be traded more and more. The Australians are proving that today.

The financial market reforms have been centered on liberalization of the capital account and the convertibility of the Yuan. The only countries that offer complete convertibility at the moment are the USA, Japan and Australia.

Certainly the shadow-banking problems are far from over. There will be more that come out of the woodwork in the coming weeks. It is estimated that 40% of the 10 trillion Yuan in trust products that are used in shadow banking will mature in 2014. That means that we could be in for a lot more examples of the $126 million-worth of products issued by Jilin Province Trust that defaulted on the repayment to investors over the past couple of weeks after having made loans to the failing coal company Shanxi Liansheng Energy (at the same time as 6 other trusts also made loans of up to 5 billion Yuan to this company that was already bankrupt and dead). 80% of trust-product principal is going to be repaid to investors between 2014 and 2016. That could spell trouble.

Bailing out trust investors continually will bring about problems of financial stability of the country. But, in the long-term there is the belief that the Yuan will succeed. All of that is true, but the Dollar may well be dead completely, and buried, before the Yuan fails.
In the process of acceptance of bereavement, the next stage after denial will be anger. Then the US will enter the period of bargaining with the rest of the world to try to save its place somehow on the international scene. Once it has been through the penultimate stage of depression (oh, no! Not again!), it will finally accept. But, for the moment, they shall just keep on denying lock, stock and barrel. The rest of the world, like the Australians, are seeing to it that the Dollar dies a quicker death than it would perhaps have normally done.

Remember it’s not the value of the Dollar that is important or whether or not the Yuan can be a valued asset in the world to trade with, it’s the perception that we, as consumers and countries, actually have of that currency. The Australians are showing that the Yuan has just been perceived as possibly of greater value than the Dollar.

Tissue to dry your eyes?

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