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China’s Power Crisis Will Affect Industries Worldwide

Dependency on Chinese electricity leaves everyone else open to inflationary pressures. Beijing needs to incentivize renewables even more. .....»»

Category: topSource: washpostOct 13th, 2021

China Coal Futures Hit Record High As Mines Flood; Worsening Power Shortages Hit Rust Belt 

China Coal Futures Hit Record High As Mines Flood; Worsening Power Shortages Hit Rust Belt  China's top coal-producing region has been devastated by torrential rains and flooding this past week. About 9% of the coal mines in Shanxi province, an area responsible for producing 30% of China's supply, have closed operations. The direct effect of this has been a spike in coal futures. Heavy rainfall flooded Shanxi over the weekend. More than 120,000 people have been evacuated, and 60 of the 682 coal mines in the province have been closed. Industrial yards and manufacturing complexes have also been shuttered due to flooding.  The province is usually a dry area but record-breaking rain last week complicated things for the mining industry. This also comes at a time when Beijing has called on mining companies to boost output amid a nationwide power crunch.  Source: Bloomberg  As a result, Coal futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange jumped 12% to $218.76 per ton, a new record high, on Monday.  A devastating and widespread power crunch has hit China in recent months, resulting in as many as 20 provinces or about 66% of the country's GDP have announced some form of power cuts. Due to the growing energy crisis, Goldman Sachs told clients last month that the energy crisis will severely impact the country's economic growth.  Source: Bloomberg For the fourth quarter, Citic Securities analysts told clients, China faces a gap of 30 million to 40 million tons of coal. This translates into reducing industrial power use by 10% to 15% in November and December. UBS Group AG said this would result in a 30% slowdown in activity in energy-intensive industries like steel, chemicals, and cement-making.  Beijing has also approved electricity prices to increase by 20% against the benchmark, compared with a current cap of 10%, allowing more power plants to economically produce power considering high costs for fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and crude.  Southwest of Beijing, in Liaoning, known as the country's rust-belt industrial region, local officials issued the second-highest level power shortage alert on Monday, the fifth in two weeks, warning of an energy shortfall that could reach 5 gigawatts (GW). "The biggest power shortage could reach 4.74 gigawatts on October 11," a notice issued by the Liaoning Provincial Industry and Informatisation Department said. This would indicate a shortage equivalent to 10%-20% of the total demand for power.  The biggest takeaway is that China's electricity cuts could weigh down economic activity through the winter season and filter through supply chains as disruptions to production will be felt worldwide. There's also the domestic issue that rising power prices will boost inflation, and as Citigroup's Tracy Liao warned, "a short period of stagflation" in China could be seen." She warned: "China may also export inflation as the disruptions ripple through global supply chains."  Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 11:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

One Ring To Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

One Ring To Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency Via SchiffGold.com, We’ve written extensively about the “war on cash.” In a nutshell, governments would love to do away with cash in order to better track and control their citizens. There have been numerous moves closer to a cashless society in recent years, from capping ATM withdrawals to doing away with large-denomination bills. Last year, China launched a digital yuan pilot program and the US has floated moving toward a digital dollar. We got a first-hand look at what happens when governments restrict access to cash when India plunged into a cash crisis after the country’s government enacted a policy of demonetization in November 2016. It’s bad enough that various countries are exploring ways to move toward cashlessness, but there’s an even worse scenario - a global digital currency. Economist Thorsten Polleit compares it to the “master ring” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings. The following article was originally published by the Mises Wire. 1. Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil. That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote: The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders. But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action. From Mises’s point of view, human history can be understood as a battle of good ideas against bad ideas. Ideas are good if the actions they recommend bring results that are beneficial for everyone and lead the actors to their desired goals; At the same time, good ideas are ethically justifiable, they apply to everyone, anytime and anywhere, and ensure that people who act upon them can survive. On the other hand, bad ideas lead to actions that do not benefit everyone, that do not cause all actors to achieve their goals and/or are unethical. Good ideas are, for example, people accepting “mine and yours”; or entering into exchange relationships with one another voluntarily. Bad ideas are coercion, deception, embezzlement, theft. Evil ideas are very bad ideas, ideas through which whoever puts them into practice is consciously harming others. Evil ideas are, for example, physical attacks, murder, tyranny. 2. With Lord of the Rings, J. J. R. Tolkien (1892–1973) wrote a literary monument about the epic battle between good and evil. His fantasy novel, published in 1954, was a worldwide success, not least because of the movie trilogy, released from 2001 to 2003. What is Lord of the Rings about? In the First Age, the deeply evil Sauron—the demon, the hideous horror, the necromancer—had rings of power made by the elven forges. Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. But Sauron secretly forges an additional ring into which he pours all his darkness and cruelty, and this one ring, the master ring, rules all the other rings. When Sauron puts the master ring on his finger, he can read and control the minds of everyone wearing one of the other rings. The elves see through the dark plan and hide their three rings. The seven rings of the dwarves also fail to subjugate their bearers. But the nine rings of men proved to be effective: Sauron enslaved nine human kings, who were to serve him. Then, however, in the Third Age, in the battle before Mount Doom, Isildur, the eldest son of King Elendils, severed Sauron’s ring finger with a sword blow. Sauron is defeated and loses his physical form, but he survives. Now Isildur has the ring of power, and it takes possession of him. He does not destroy the master ring when he has the opportunity, and it costs him his life. When Isildur is killed, the ring sinks to the bottom of a river and remains there for twenty-five hundred years. Then the ring is found by Smeagol, who is captivated by its power. The ring remains with its finder for nearly five hundred years, hidden from the world. Over time, Sauron’s power grows again, and he wants the Ring of Power back. Then the ring is found, and for sixty years, it remains in the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, a friendly, well-meaning being who does not allow himself to be seduced by the power of the One Ring. Years later, the wizard Gandalf the Gray learns that Sauron’s rise has begun, and that the Ring of Power is held by Bilbo Baggins. Gandalf knows that there is only one way to defeat the ring and its evil: it must be destroyed where it was created, in Mordor. Bilbo Baggins’s nephew, Frodo Baggins, agrees to take the task upon himself. He and his companions—a total of four hobbits, two humans, a dwarf, and an elf—embark on the dangerous journey. They endure hardship, adversity, and battles against the dark forces, and in the end, they succeed at what seemed impossible: the destruction of the ring of power in the fires of Mount Doom. Good triumphs over evil. 3. The ring in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is not just a piece of forged gold. It embodies Sauron’s evil, corrupting everyone who lays hands or eyes on it, poisons their soul, and makes them willing helpers of evil. No one can wield the cruel power of the One Ring and use it for good; no human, no dwarf, no elf. Can an equivalent for Tolkien’s literary portrait of the evil ring be found in the here and now? Yes, I believe so, and in the following, I would like to offer you what I hope is a startling, but in any case, entertaining, interpretation. Tolkien’s Rings of Power embody evil ideas. The nineteen rings represent the idea that the ring bearers should have power over others and rule over them. And the One Ring, to which all other rings are subject, embodies an even darker idea, namely that the bearer of this master ring has power over all other ring bearers and those ruled by them; that he is the sole and absolute ruler of all. The nineteen rings symbolize the idea of establishing and maintaining a state (as we know it today), namely a state understood as a territorial, coercive monopoly with the ultimate power of decision-making over all conflicts. However, the One Ring of power stands for the particularly evil idea of creating a state of states, a world government, a world state; and the creation of a single world fiat currency controlled by the states would pave the way toward this outcome. 4. To explain this, let us begin with the state as we know it today. The state is the idea of the rule of one over the other. This is how the German economist, sociologist, and doctor Franz Oppenheimer (1864–1946) sees it: The state … is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad…. This dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. Joseph Stalin (1878–1953) defined the state quite similarly: The state is a machine in the hands of the ruling class to suppress the resistance of its class opponents. The modern state in the Western world no longer uses coercion and violence as obviously as many of its predecessors. But it, too, is, of course, built on coercion and violence, asserts itself through them, and most importantly, it divides society into a class of the rulers and a class of the ruled. How does the state manage to create and maintain such a two-class society of rulers and ruled? In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, nine men, all of them kings, wished to wield power, and so they became bearers of the rings, and because of that, they were inescapably bound to Sauron’s One Ring of power. This is quite similar to the idea of the state. To seize, maintain, and expand power, the state seduces its followers to do what is necessary, to resort to all sorts of techniques: propaganda, carrot and stick, fear, and even terror. The state lets the people know that it is good, indispensable, inevitable. Without it, the state whispers, a civilized coexistence of people would not be possible. Most people succumb to this kind of propaganda, and the state gets carte blanche to effectively infiltrate all economic and societal matters—kindergarten, school, university, transport, media, health, pensions, law, security, money and credit, the environment—and thereby gains power. The state rewards its followers with jobs, rewarding business contracts, and transfer payments. Those who resist will end up in prison or lose their livelihood or even their lives. The state spreads fear and terror to make people compliant—as people who are afraid are easy to control, especially if they have been led to believe that the state will protect them against any evil. Lately, the topics of climate change and coronavirus have been used for fear-mongering, primarily by the state, which is skillfully using them to increase its omnipotence: it destroys the economy and jobs, makes many people financially dependent on it, clamps down on civil and entrepreneurial freedoms. However, it is of the utmost importance for the state to win the battle of ideas and be the authority to say what are good ideas and what are bad ideas. Because it is ideas that determine people’s actions. The task of winning over the general public for the state traditionally falls to the so-called intellectuals—the people whose opinions are widely heard, such as teachers, doctors, university professors, researchers, actors, comedians, musicians, writers, journalists, and others. The state provides a critical number of them with income, influence, prestige, and status in a variety of ways—which most of them would not have been able to achieve without the state. In gratitude for this, the intellectuals spread the message that the state is good, indispensable, inevitable. Among the intellectuals, there tend to be quite a few who willingly submit to the rings of power, helping—consciously or unconsciously—to bring their fellow men and women under the spell of the rings or simply to walk over, subjugate, dominate them. Anyone who thinks that the state (as we know it today) is acceptable, a justifiable solution, as long as it does not exceed certain power limits, is seriously mistaken. Just as the One Ring of power tries to find its way back to its lord and master, an initially limited state inevitably strives towards its logical endpoint: absolute power. The state (as we know it today) is pushing for expansion both internally and externally. This is a well-known fact derived from the logic of human action. George Orwell put it succinctly: “The object of power is power.”  Or, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe nails it, “[E]very minimal government has the inherent tendency to become a maximal government.” Inwardly, the state is expanding through all sorts of interventions in economic and social life, through regulations, ordinances, laws, and taxes. Outwardly, the economically and militarily strongest state will seek to expand its sphere of influence. In the most primitive form, this happens through aggressive campaigns of conquest and war, in a more sophisticated form, by pursuing political ideological supremacy. In recent decades the latter has taken the form of democratic socialism. To put it casually, democratic socialism means allowing and doing what the majority wants. Under democratic socialism, private property is formally upheld, but it is declared that no one is the rightful owner of 100 percent of the income from their property. People no longer strive for freedom from being ruled but rather to participate in the rule. The result is not people pushing back the state, but rather coming to terms and cooperating with it. The practical consequence of democratic socialism is interventionism: the state intervenes in the economy and society on a case-by-case basis to gradually make socialist ideals a reality. All societies of the Western world have embraced democratic socialism, some with more authority than others, and all of them use interventionism. Seen in this light, all Western states are now acting in concert. What they also have in common is their disdain for competition, because competition sets undesirable limits to the state’s expansive nature. Therefore, larger states often form a cartel. Smaller, less powerful states are compelled to join—and if they refuse, they will suffer political and economic disadvantages. But the cartel of states is only an intermediate step. The logical endpoint that democratic socialism is striving for is the creation of a central authority, something like a world government, a world state. 5. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the One Ring, the ring of power, embodies this very dark idea: to rule them all, to create a world state. To get closer to this goal, democracy (as we understand it today) is proving to be an ideal trailblazer, and that’s most likely the reason why it is praised to the skies by socialists. Sooner or later, a democracy will mutate into an oligarchy, as the German-Italian sociologist Robert Michels pointed out in 1911. According to Michels, parties emerge in democracies. These parties are organizations that need strict leadership, which is handed to the most power-hungry, ruthless people. They will represent the party elite. The party elite can break away from the will of the party members and pursue their own goals and agendas. For example, they can form coalitions or cartels with elites of other parties. As a result, there will be an oligarchization of democracy, in which the elected party elites or the cartel of the party elites will be the kings of the castle. It is not the voters who will call the tune but oligarchic elites that will rule over the voters. The oligarchization of democracy will not only afflict individual states but will also affect the international relations of democracies. Oligarchical elites from different countries will join together and strengthen each other, primarily by creating supranational institutions. Democratic socialism evolves into “political globalism”: the idea that people should not be allowed to shape their own destiny in a system of free markets but that it should be assigned and directed by a global central authority. The One Ring of power drives those who have already been seduced by the common rings to long for absolute power, to elevate themselves above the rest of humanity. Who comes to mind? Well, various politicians, high-level bureaucrats, court intellectuals, representatives of big banking, big business, Big Pharma and Big Tech and, of course, big media—together they are often called the “Davos elite” or the “establishment.” Whether it is about combating financial and economic crises, climate change, or viral diseases—the one ring of power ensures that supranational, state-orchestrated solutions are propagated; that centralization is placed above decentralization; that the state, not the free market, is empowered. Calls for the “new world order,” the “Great Transformation,” the “Great Reset” are the results of this poisonous mindset inspired by the one ring of power. National borders are called into question, property is relativized or declared dispensable, and even a merging of people’s physical, digital, and biological identities—transhumanism—is declared the goal of the self-empowered globalist establishment. But how can political globalism be promoted at a time when there are (still) social democratic nation-states that insist on their independence? And where people are separated by different languages, values, and religions? How do the political globalists get closer to their badly desired end of world domination, their world state? 6. Sauron is the undisputed tyrant and dictator in his realm of darkness. He operates something like a command economy, forcing his subjects to clear forests, build military equipment, and breed Orcs. There are neither markets nor money in Sauron’s sinister kingdom. Sauron takes whatever he wants; he has overcome exchange and money, so to speak. Today’s state is not quite that powerful, and it finds itself in economies characterized by property, division of labor, and monetary exchange. The state wants to control money—because this is one of the most effective ways to gain ultimate power. To this end, the modern state has already acquired the monopoly of money production; and it has replaced gold with its own fiat money. Over time, fiat money destroys the free market system and thus the free society. Ludwig von Mises saw this as early 1912. He wrote: It would be a mistake to assume that the modern organization of exchange is bound to continue to exist. It carries within itself the germ of its own destruction; the development of the fiduciary medium must necessarily lead to its breakdown. (6) Indeed, fiat money not only causes inflation, economic crises, and an unsocial redistribution of income and wealth. Above all, it is a growth elixir for the state, making it ever larger and more powerful at the expense of the freedom of its citizens and entrepreneurs. Against this backdrop, it should be quite understandable why the political globalists see creating a single world currency as an important step toward seizing absolute power. In Europe, what the political globalists want “on a large scale” has already been achieved “on a small scale”: merging many national currencies into one. In 1999, eleven European nation-states gave up their currencies and merged them into a single currency, the euro, which is produced by a supranational authority, the European Central Bank. The creation of the euro provides the blueprint by which the world’s major currencies can be converted into a single world currency. This is what the 1999 Canadian Nobel laureate in economics, Robert Mundell, recommends: Fixing the exchange rates between the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound against each other and also fixing them against a new unit of account, the INTOR. And hocus pocus: here is the world fiat currency, controlled by a cartel of central banks or a world central bank. 7. Admittedly, creating a single world fiat currency seems to have little chance of being realized at first glance. But maybe at second glance. First of all, there is a good economic reason for having a single world currency: if all people do business with the same money, the productive power of money is optimized. From an economic standpoint, the optimal number of monies in the world is one. What is more, nation-states have the monopoly of money within their respective territory, and since they all adhere to democratic socialism, they also have an interest in ensuring that there is no currency competition—not even between different state fiat currencies. This makes them susceptible to the idea of reducing the pluralism of currencies. Furthermore, one should not misinterpret the so-called rivalry between the big states such as the US and China and between China and Europe, which is being discussed in the mainstream media on a regular basis. No doubt that there is a rivalry between the national rulers: they do not want to give up the power they have gained in their respective countries; they want to become even more powerful. But the rivalry between the oligarchic democracies of the West has already weakened significantly, and there are great incentives for the oligarchic party elites to work together across borders. In fact, it is the oligarchization of democracy in the Western world that allowed for the rapprochement with a socialist-communist regime: the state increasingly taking control of the economic and societal system. This development could be called “the Chinacization of the West.” The way the Western world has dealt with the coronavirus—the suspension, perhaps the termination of constitutional rights and freedoms—undoubtedly shows where the journey is headed: to the authoritarian state that is beyond the control of the people—as is the case in Communist China. The proper slogan for this might be “One System, Many Countries.” Is it too farfetched to assume that the Western world will make common cause with Communist China not only on health issues but also on the world currency issue? The democratic socialists in the West and the Chinese Communist Party have a great deal of common ground and common interest, I would think. It is certainly no coincidence that China has pushed hard for the Chinese renminbi to be included in the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights, and that the IMF already agreed in November 2015. 8. The issue of digital central bank money, something the world’s major central banks are working on, could be a catalyst in the creation of a single world currency. The issue of digital central bank money not only heralds the end of cash—the anonymous payment option for citizens and entrepreneurs. Once people start using digital central bank money, it will be easy for the central bank and the state to spy on people’s transactions. The state will not only know who pays what, when, where, and what for. It will also be in a position to determine who gets access to the deposits: who gets them and who doesn’t. China is blazing the trail with its “social credit system”: behavior conforming to the Communist regime is rewarded, behavior that does not is punished. Against this backdrop, digital central bank money would be particularly effective at stifling unwanted political opposition. Digital central bank money will not only replace cash, but it will also increasingly compete with money from commercial banks. Why should you keep your money with banks that are exposed to the risk of default when you can keep it safe with the central bank that never goes bankrupt? Once commercial bank deposits can be exchanged one to one for digital central bank money—and this is to be expected—the credit and monetary system is de facto fully nationalized. Because under these conditions, the central bank transfers its unlimited solvency to the commercial banking sector. This completely deprives the financial markets of their function of determining the cost of capital—and the state-planned economy becomes a reality. In fact, this is the type of command and control economy that emerged in National Socialist Germany in the 1930s. The state formally retained ownership of the means of production. But with commands, prohibitions, laws, taxes, and control, the state determines who is allowed to produce what, when, and under what conditions, and who is allowed to consume what, when, and how much. In such a command and control economy, it is quite conceivable that the form of money production will change—away from money creation through lending toward the issue of helicopter money. The central bank determines who gets how much new money and when. The amount of money in people’s bank accounts no longer reflects their economic success. From now on, it is the result of arbitrary political decisions by the central banks, i.e., the rulers. The prospect of being supplied with new money by the state and its central bank—that is, receiving an unconditional basic income—will presumably drive hosts of people into the arms of the state and bring any resistance to its machinations to a shrieking halt. 9. Will the people, the general public, really subscribe to all of this? Well, government-sponsored economists, in particular, will do their very best to inform us about the benefits of having a globally coordinated monetary policy; that stabilizing the exchange rates between national currencies is beneficial; that if a supranational controlled currency—with the name INTOR or GLOBAL—is created, we will achieve the best of all worlds. And as the issuance of digital central bank money has shut down the last remnants of a free capital market, the merging of different national currencies into one will be relatively easy. The single world currency creature that the political globalists want to create will be a fiat money, certainly not a commodity money. Such a single world fiat currency will not only suffer from all the economic and ethical defects which weigh on national fiat currencies. It will also exacerbate and exponentiate the damages a national fiat currency causes. The door to a high inflation policy would be pushed wide open—as nobody could escape the inflationary single world fiat currency. The states are the main beneficiaries: they can get money from the world central bank at any time, provided they adhere to the rules set out by the world central bank and the special interest groups that govern it. This creates the incentive for national states to relinquish sovereignty rights and to submit to supranational rules—for example, in taxation and financial market regulation. It is therefore the incentive resulting from a single world currency that paves the way toward a world government and a world state. In this context, please note what happened in the euro area: the starting point was not the creation of the EU superstate, which was to be followed by the introduction of the euro. It was exactly the opposite: the euro was introduced to overcome national sovereignty and ultimately establish the United Nations of Europe. One has good reason to fear that the idea of issuing a world fiat currency—which the master ring relentlessly pushes for—would bring totalitarianism—that would most likely dwarf the regimes established by Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and other criminals. 10. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, evil is eventually defeated. The story has a happy ending. Will it be that easy in our world? The ideas of having a state (as we know it today), of tolerating it, of cooperating with it, of giving the state total control over our money, of accepting fiat money, are deeply rooted in people’s minds as good ideas. Where are the forces supposed to come from that will enlighten people about the evil that the state (as we know it today) brings to humanity? Particularly when in kindergartens, schools, and universities—which are all in the hands of the state—the teachings of collectivism-socialism-Marxism are systematically drummed into people’s (especially impressionable children’s) heads, when the teachings of freedom, free market and free society, and capitalism are hardly or not at all imparted to the younger generation? Who will explain to people the uncomfortable truth that even a minimal state will become a maximal state? That states’ monopolies over money will lead to a single world currency and thus world tyranny? It does not take much to become bleak when it comes to the future of the free economic and social order. However, it would be rather shortsighted to get pessimistic. Those who believe in Jesus Christ can trust that God will not fail them. If we cannot think of a solution to the problems at hand, the believers can trust God. Because “[e]ven in the darkest night, there is a bright light shining somewhere.” Or: please remember the Enlightenment movement in the eighteenth century. At that time, the Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant explained the “unheard of” to the people, namely that there is such a thing as “autonomy of reason.” It means that you and I have the indisputable right to lead our lives independently; that we should handle it according to self-imposed rules, rules that we determine ourselves based on good reason. People back then understood Kant’s message. Why should such an intellectual revolution—triggered by the writings and words of a free thinker—not be able to repeat itself in the future? Or: the fact that people have not yet learned from bad experience does not mean that they won’t eventually learn from it. When it comes to thinking about changes for the better, it is important to note that it is not the mass of people that matters, but the individual. Applied to the conditions in today’s world, among those thinkers who can defeat evil and help the good make a breakthrough are Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe—and all those following their teachings and fearlessly disseminating them—as scholars or as fans. They are—in terms of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings—the companions. They give us the intellectual firepower and the courage to fight and defeat evil. I don’t know if Ludwig von Mises knew Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But he was certainly well aware of the struggle between good and evil that continues throughout human history. In fact, the knowledge of this struggle shaped Mises’s maxim of life, which he took from the verse of the Roman poet Virgil (70 to 19 BC): “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito,” which means “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” I want to close my interpretation with a quote from Samwise Gamgee, the loyal friend and companion of Frodo Baggins. In a really hopeless situation, Sam says to Frodo: “There is something good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” So if we want to fight for the good in this world, we know what we have to do: we have to fight for property and freedom and against the darkness that the state (as we know it today) wishes to bring upon us, especially with its fiat money. In fact, we must fight steadfastly for a society of property and freedom! Tyler Durden Sat, 10/09/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 9th, 2021

More Than Half Of China"s Provinces Are Now "Rationing" Electricity, Governors Demand More Coal Imports To Resolve Crisis

More Than Half Of China's Provinces Are Now 'Rationing' Electricity, Governors Demand More Coal Imports To Resolve Crisis At least 20 Chinese provinces and regions making up more than 66% of the country’s GDP have announced some form of power cuts. Guangdong province, the southern industrial hub, is cutting ~10% of its peak power demand... And as the severe power crunch hits major industrial hubs in China's northeastern heartland, top political leaders face mounting pressure from businesses and citizens to solve the crisis through increasing coal imports to keep the lights on and factories humming.  Reuters spoke with Han Jun, governor of the northeastern province of Jilin, who said new coal suppliers are needed from Russia, Mongolia, and Indonesia. He added the province would also need to acquire coal mining contracts in the neighboring region of Inner Mongolia to ensure adequate supply.  Jilin is one of the ten provinces that have been hit hard by the power crunch. The government has rationed power to energy-intensive heavy industries like steel, cement, and aluminum plants to solve the problem, but that has yet to work. Power plants are also facing a surge in thermal coal prices and are unwilling to pass on to consumers. Han said companies must satisfy their "social responsibilities" and "overcome the difficulties" caused by elevated coal prices.  On Sunday, top suppliers of Apple and Tesla reported they had suspended operations as the government limited power to their factories. The power crunch is becoming an international issue that may cause additional headaches for global supply chains, especially when US importers are ordering goods ahead of the holiday season.  Goldman Sachs told clients this week that as much as 44% of China's industrial activity has been affected by the power crunch. Therefore the bank slashed 2021 GDP growth forecasts for the year to 7.8%, from the previous 8.2%. Also, S&P Global Ratings cut its 2021 GDP forecast due to rising uncertainties in the country.  There are several reasons for the surge in thermal coal, among them already extremely tight energy supply globally (already seen in Europen markets); the sharp economic rebound post-COVID lockdowns that have boosted demand from households and businesses; a warm summer which led to increased air condition consumption across China; the escalating trade spat with Australia that has dwindled coal trade, and Chinese power plants ramping up power purchases to ensure winter coal supply. There's also Beijing's pursuit of curbing carbon emissions to ensure the skies at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February are clear, along with Xi's international commitment to de-carbonizing the economy.  Short-term relief for the country would be importing more coal for power generation and temporarily abandon Xi's carbon emission curbs to get the energy situation under control.  John Kemp, a Reuters commodity market analyst and reporter, points out the energy shortage resulting in soaring coal, gas, and oil prices is a worldwide phenomenon, occurring primarily in Europe and Asia at the moment.  There's no timeline on how long the power crunch will last. As we noted above, increasing coal imports to feed fossil fuel power plants is the country's only solution besides its attempt to shut down energy-intensive industries that will paralyze its economy and disrupt the global supply chain even more.  Tyler Durden Tue, 09/28/2021 - 21:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Global stocks fall as oil hits a 3-year high and China"s energy crunch fans fears of inflation

Signs of a global energy crisis helped push Brent crude prices to a three-year high above $80 a barrel, on the prospect of tight supply. Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images Global stocks fell Tuesday as China's energy shortage hit factories, a risk to the supply of goods. That shortage and a natural gas squeeze helped drive Brent crude's price above $80 a barrel. Soaring Treasury yields were weighing on US stocks, with techs under particular pressure. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Global stocks mostly traded lower Tuesday as investors gauged the potential impact of China's energy crunch on the global supply of goods, while oil continued to make gains and US bond yields rose to multimonth highs.Futures on the Dow Jones dropped 0.5%, while those on the S&P 500 fell 0.9%, after ending in the red on Monday. The Nasdaq was trading down 1.5% as of 6:10 a.m. ET, suggesting a lower start to trading later in the day.Rising bond yields were weighing on US equities, especially on technology stocks. These are seen as sensitive to rising yields, as increased debt costs can hamper their growth.The 10-year Treasury yield was last up 4.1 basis points to 1.525%, its highest level in about four months.The electricity crisis in China that initially hit factories has spread to homes. Already, the widening power shortage has held back production at several Chinese factories, including Apple and Tesla suppliers. That has ignited concerns of a manufacturing squeeze in China that could roll into global supply chains, driving prices higher.Goldman Sachs and Nomura overnight downgraded their forecasts for China's economic growth in 2021.China's energy problems are a factor in gains for oil on Tuesday, analysts said, alongside a natural gas shortage set to spread worldwide. Demand for natural gas should spill over into oil as an alternative, they suggested.Brent crude prices rose above $80 a barrel to a three-year high, but have eased to trade 0.8% higher at $79.43 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate advanced 1.06% to $76.25 a barrel."The driver is clearly what appears to be escalating energy shortages in China, with winter not even here yet, with Asian buyers competing with Europeans for spot natural gas supplies, and now I suspect, spot oil supplies," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.US Treasury yields climbed as attention refocused on how sharply higher inflation would affect the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates next year and starting to cut back bond purchases in November, as expected.New York Fed President John Williams indicated Monday that US economic growth is strong enough to begin tapering bond buying, but said a hike in interest rates from near-zero levels will take some time. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari said this year's pickup in US inflation was a by-product of COVID-19 supply disruptions and policymakers should not react just yet.Fed Chair Jerome Powell is due to give testimony to the Senate Banking Committee later today. In prepared remarks, he said supply bottlenecks are putting pressure on inflation, which will likely remain elevated in coming months."All eyes will be on further signals of a firming up of tapering expectations, although I expect Powell to remain firmly ensconced in team transitory," Oanda's Halley said. Asian equities initially had a lackluster session Tuesday, but most major indexes in the region closed higher.The Shanghai Composite was up 0.5%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.07%, while Tokyo's Nikkei lost 0.2%.In Europe, investors continued to assess the German election result and a looming gas supply shortage. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.6%. The pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 1.4%, and Frankfurt's DAX lost 0.9%.Gold lost 0.6% to reach $1,740 an ounce. The dollar index continued to rally, up 0.2% to 93.57.Read More: Record-high return on equity rates are set to slow in 2022 as taxes rise and growth eases, Goldman Sachs warns - but these 24 stocks can maximize profits better than peersRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 28th, 2021

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal"

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal" Just yesterday we warned that a "Power Supply Shock Looms" as the energy crisis gripping Europe - and especially the UK - was set to hammer China, and just a few hours later we see this in practice as residents in three north-east Chinese provinces experienced unannounced power cuts as the electricity shortage which initially hit factories spreads to homes. People living in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces complained on social media about the lack of heating, and lifts and traffic lights not working. Northeast China's Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province has been through a sudden and unexpected power curb. Meanwhile, dozens of provinces across the country are also facing power curb due to govt's pursuit to cut carbon emission even though the supply for coal remain adequate. pic.twitter.com/cX2h0x6s8Q — Source Beijing (@SourceBeijing) September 26, 2021 Local media in China - which is highly dependent on coal for power - said the cause was a surge in coal prices leading to short supply. As shown in the chart below, Chinese thermal coal futures have more than doubled in price in the past year. There are several reasons for the surge in thermal coal, among them already extremely tight energy supply globally (that's already seen chaos engulf markets in Europe); the sharp economic rebound from COVID lockdowns that has boosted demand from households and businesses; a warm summer which led to extreme air condition consumption across China; the escalating trade spat with Australia which had depressed the coal trade and Chinese power companies ramping up power purchases to ensure winter coal supply. Then there is Beijing's pursuit of curbing carbon emissions - Xi Jinping wants to ensure blue skies at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, showing the international community that he's serious about de-carbonizing the economy - that has led to artificial bottlenecks in the coal supply chain. Whatever the reason, it's just getting started: as BBC reported, one power company said it expected the power cuts to last until spring next year, and that unexpected outages would become "the new normal." Its post, however, was later deleted. At first, the energy shortage affected factories and manufacturers across the country, many of whom have had to curb or stop production in recent weeks. In the city of Dongguan, a major manufacturing hub near Hong Kong, a shoe factory that employs 300 workers rented a generator last week for $10,000 a month to ensure that work could continue. Between the rental costs and the diesel fuel for powering it, electricity is now twice as expensive as when the factory was simply tapping the grid. “This year is the worst year since we opened the factory nearly 20 years ago,” said Jack Tang, the factory’s general manager. Economists predicted that production interruptions at Chinese factories would make it harder for many stores in the West to restock empty shelves and could contribute to inflation in the coming months. Three publicly traded Taiwanese electronics companies, including two suppliers to Apple and one to Tesla, issued statements on Sunday night warning that their factories were among those affected. Apple had no immediate comment, while Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. But over the weekend residents in some cities saw their power cut intermittently as well, with the hashtag "North-east electricity cuts" and other related phrases trending on Twitter-like social media platform Weibo. The extent of the blackouts is not yet clear, but nearly 100 million people live in the three provinces. In Liaoning province, a factory where ventilators suddenly stopped working had to send 23 staff to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. There were also reports of some who were taken to hospital after they used stoves in poorly-ventilated rooms for heating, and people living in high-rise buildings who had to climb up and down dozens of flights of stairs as their lifts were not functioning. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice. One video circulating on Chinese media showed cars travelling on one side of a busy highway in Shenyang in complete darkness, as traffic lights and streetlights were switched off. City authorities told The Beijing News outlet that they were seeing a "massive" shortage of power. Social media posts from the affected region said the situation was similar to living in neighboring North Korea. The Jilin provincial government said efforts were being made to source more coal from Inner Mongolia to address the coal shortage. As noted previously, power restrictions are already in place for factories in 10 other provinces, including manufacturing bases Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu. Of course, a key culprit behind China's shocking blackouts is Xi Jinping's recent pledge that his country will reach peak carbon emissions within nine years. As a reminder, two-thirds of China’s electricity comes from burning coal, which Beijing is trying to curb to address climate change. While coal prices have surged along with demand, because the government keeps electricity prices low, particularly in residential areas, usage by homes and businesses has climbed regardless. Faced with losing more money with each additional ton of coal they burn, some power plants have closed for maintenance in recent weeks, saying that this was needed for safety reasons. Many other power plants have been operating below full capacity, and have been leery of increasing generation when that would mean losing more money, said Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Energy Policy Studies at Xiamen University. “If those guys produce more, it has a huge impact on electricity demand,” Professor Lin said, adding that China’s economic minders would order those three industrial users to ease back. Meanwhile, even as it cracks down on conventional fossil fuels, China still does not have a credible alternative "green" source of energy. Adding insult to injury, various regions have been criticized by the government for failing to make energy reduction targets, putting pressure on local officials not to expand power consumption, the BBC's Stephen McDonell reports. And while the blackouts starting to hit household power usage are at most an inconvenience, if one which may soon result in even more civil unrest if these are not contained, a bigger worry is that the already snarled supply chains could get even more broken, leading to even greater supply-disruption driven inflation. As Source Beijing reports, several chip packaging service providers of Intel and Qualcomm were told to shut down factories in Jiangsu province for several days amid what could be the worst power shortage in years. The blackout is expected to affect global semiconductor supplies - which as everyone knows are already highly challenged - if the power cuts extend during winter. The NYT confirms as much, writing today that the electricity shortage is starting to make supply chain problems worse. The sudden restart of the world economy has led to shortages of key components like computer chips and has helped provoke a mix-up in global shipping lines, putting in the wrong places too many containers and the ships that carry them. Nationwide power shortages have prompted economists to reduce their estimates for China’s growth this year. Nomura, a Japanese financial institution, cut its forecast for economic expansion in the last three months of this year to 3 percent, from 4.4 percent. It is not clear how long the power crunch will last. Experts in China predicted that officials would compensate by steering electricity away from energy-intensive heavy industries like steel, cement and aluminum, and said that might fix the problem. State Grid, the government-run power distributor, said in a statement on Monday that it would guarantee supplies “and resolutely maintain the bottom line of people’s livelihoods, development and safety.” Maybe China should just blame bitcoin miners for the crisis to avoid public anger... alas, it can't do that since it already banned them and drove most of its technological innovators out of the country. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2021

Why Visa (V) is a Top Stock for the Long-Term

The Zacks Focus List offers investors a way to easily find top-rated stocks and build a winning investment portfolio. Here's why you should take advantage. Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.The Zacks Premium service makes this easier. It features daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank; full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List; Equity Research reports; and Premium stock screens like the Earnings ESP filter. All of these can help you quickly identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.The service also includes the Focus List, which is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that boast a winning, market-beating combination of growth and momentum qualities.Breaking Down the Zacks Focus ListIf you could get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn't you jump at the chance to take a peek?That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it's good for the long-term.The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.Focus List MethodologyWhen stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company's growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.Investors also need to look at what a company will earn down the road. This is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.The stocks that receive positive changes to earnings estimates are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. Take this example: if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they'll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create a winning portfolio.The Zacks Rank consists of four main pillars: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Then, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell," using this data.The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.It can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates, as stock prices respond to revisions. By adding Focus List stocks, there's a great chance you'll be getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, which can lead to price momentum.Focus List Spotlight: Visa (V)Incorporated in 2007 as a Delaware stock corporation and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Visa Inc. operates retail electronic payments network worldwide. The company went public in March 2008 via an initial public offering (IPO).On May 30, 2017, V was added to the Focus List at $94.67 per share. Shares have increased 144.63% to $231.59 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.15 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.19 to $5.82. V boasts an average earnings surprise of 9%.Moreover, analysts are expecting V's earnings to grow 15.5% for the current fiscal year.Reveal Winning StocksUnlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. You'll quickly identify which stocks to buy, hold and sell, and target today's hottest industries, to help improve the performance of your portfolio. Gain full access now >> Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 27th, 2021

Why This 1 Computer and Technology Stock Could Be a Great Addition to Your Portfolio

Finding strong, market-beating stocks with a positive earnings outlook becomes easier with the Focus List, a top feature of the Zacks Premium portfolio service. Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.The Zacks Premium service, which provides daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank; full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List; Equity Research reports; and Premium stock screens like the Earnings ESP filter, makes these more manageable goals. All of the features can help you identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.The service also includes the Focus List, which is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that boast a winning, market-beating combination of growth and momentum qualities.Breaking Down the Zacks Focus ListIf you could, wouldn't you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock's selection and why we believe it's a good pick for the long-term.The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.Focus List MethodologyWhen stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company's growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.Investors also need to look at what a company will earn down the road. This is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.The stocks that receive positive changes to earnings estimates are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. Take this example: if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they'll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model that utilizes changes to a company's quarterly earnings expectations to help investors build a winning portfolio.Four primary factors make up the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each is given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank, and with this data, stocks are then classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell."The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.It can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates, as stock prices respond to revisions. By adding Focus List stocks, there's a great chance you'll be getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, which can lead to price momentum.Focus List Spotlight: Nvidia (NVDA)NVIDIA Corporation is the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the graphic processing unit, or GPU. Over the years, the company’s focus has evolved from PC graphics to artificial intelligence (AI) based solutions that now support high performance computing (HPC), gaming and virtual reality (VR) platforms.On May 20, 2019, NVDA was added to the Focus List at $39.13 per share. Shares have increased 474.55% to $224.82 since then, and the company is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.For fiscal 2022, 13 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.23 to $4.20. NVDA boasts an average earnings surprise of 9.6%.Earnings for NVDA are forecasted to see growth of 68% for the current fiscal year as well.Reveal Winning StocksUnlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. You'll quickly identify which stocks to buy, hold and sell, and target today's hottest industries, to help improve the performance of your portfolio. Gain full access now >> Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

US Coal "Roars Back" Under Biden Unlike Trump 

US Coal "Roars Back" Under Biden Unlike Trump  One of the biggest ironies to start this decade is the transition from fossil fuel generation to green energy has created a global energy crisis that is forcing the U.S., among many other countries, to restart coal-fired power plants monumentally ahead of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere to prevent electricity shortages. The virtue-signaling assault by the green lobby spearheaded by hapless puppet Greta Thunberg must beside herself as U.S. power plants are on course to burn 23% more coal this year, the first increase since 2013, despite President Biden's ambitious plan for a national grid to run on 100% clean energy by 2035.  A global energy crunch is rippling through the world amid a huge rebound for power. Natural gas has soared to record highs as supplies remain tight, and countries are finding out that renewable energy sources aren't as reliable as previously thought. This has created a massive worldwide scramble by power companies for fossil fuels, especially coal.  U.S. utilities are transitioning to coal because soaring natural gas prices make it uneconomic to produce electricity. At the moment, 25% of all U.S. electricity produced is derived from coal-fired plants, up ten percentage points since the beginning of COVID.  "The markets have spoken," Rich Nolan, the National Mining Association chief executive officer, told Bloomberg. "We're seeing the essential nature of coal come roaring back." The Energy Information Administration forecasts U.S. utilities are estimated to burn 536.9 million short tons of thermal coal, up from 436.5 million in 2020.  Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources, the largest U.S. exporter of fuel, said demand for coal will remain robust well into 2022. Last week, he warned about domestic supply constraints and power companies already "discussing possible grid blackouts this winter."  He said, "They don't see where the fuel is coming from to meet demand," adding that 23% of utilities are switching away from gas this fall/winter to burn more coal. There are not enough coal miners to rapidly increase mining output.   Kevin Book, managing director of research firm ClearView Energy Partners, said the decarbonization communication from Western governments would undoubtedly be challenged due to the energy crisis it has sparked.  "The goal of policy, if you listen to what's being said in Western countries in the context of climate discussions, is not only to stop building new coal but to eliminate the existing capacity to burn coal," Book said. "This is a moment in time when that idea is going to be challenged." One thing Greta and the wealthy elite that likely fund her campaign to reeducate younger generations into believing the green energy transition will be seamless is that it won't and may take decades. A pure-play coal company that is already benefiting from the demand surge and rising prices is Peabody Energy Corporation. As cooler weather fast approaches, the company may see increased demand for its thermal coal that utility companies use to produce electricity. On a technical basis, a so-called bullish "golden cross" was just triggered.  "Make Coal Great Again," former President Trump used to tell crowds a few years back at rallies in West Virginia. We're sure it's boom times in the Appalachia hills.  Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge5 hr. 17 min. ago

Distraction As Policy While Our Economic Rome Burns

Distraction As Policy While Our Economic Rome Burns Authored by Matthew Piepenberg via GoldSwitzerland.com, Desperation and distraction are masquerading as economic policy. Below we see how and why...and at what cost... COVID: The Great Economic and Political Hall-Pass If every time I stole a cookie from the jar in front of my mom (age 8), or drove dad’s car (sometimes into a tree) without permission (age 16), failed a dorm-room inspection (age 17), broke a lawnmower for driving over a fence post (each year) or forgot a key anniversary (eh-hmm), it would have been so convenient to have a universal “hall pass” to excuse what is/was otherwise just plain stupid behavior. Luckily for the grown children running our global financial system into the ground, the COVID pandemic is becoming precisely that: “A global hall pass for excusing decades of stupid.” As we’ve written many times, inexcusably high debt levels, tanking growth data, struggling work force figures, embarrassing wealth disparity and insider market rigging between Wall Street and DC was well in play long before COVID made the headlines. But now, the architects of such “pre-COVID stupid” have the current COVID narrative to justify and excuse even, well… more stupid. The Latest Jobs Report “Explained” … Take, for example, the latest job reports data from those DC-based creative writers at that comic-book publication otherwise known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Known for years on Wall Street as mathematical magicians capable of turning 12% inflation into a 2% CPI lie, that same BLS is operating yet again to fib away the latest (and otherwise telling) jobs data. The September jobs report was the second consecutive and disappointing report from the BLS, which they were quick to blame on “pandemic-related staffing fluctuations.” Hmmm. That’s a nice phrase, no? “Pandemic-related staffing fluctuations.” But the real description boils down to something more PRAVDA-like under the new Biden Vaccine Mandate, namely: “Obey or we take your job away.” Needless to say, not everyone is obeying. Since 2020, employment in local government education is down by 310,000; in state government education, employment is down by 194,000 jobs, and in private education the numbers are down by 172,000. Ouch. Why such “staffing fluctuations”? The answer is simple: Many educated folks in the education sector don’t like being mandated to inject a vaccine into their bodies which by all reports from vaccinated infection rates, is no vaccine at all, but a debatable form of treatment at best. Thankfully for all of us, I’m not interested in debating the hard vaccine data here, as folks like me should not be proffering unwanted medical expertise, which I clearly lack. No one, myself included, really knows everything about mutating virology, but I’d wager to say that many of us are more mathematically dubious than Fauci is medically honest… Jefferson (and History) Ignored For followers of American history and markets, however, certain ideals and facts are easier to track despite distraction-as-policy tactics. We are reminded, for example, of how passionately Thomas Jefferson warned us circa 1776 that a private central bank would eventually destroy our nation, and that only an educated population could save it. Sadly, the new President is taking the inverse approach: Firing teachers and propping bankers. Fast-forward some 240+ years from our founding fathers to our semi-conscious Biden, and we discover a nation wherein a private central bank effectively finances our national debt while the teachers, students and institutions charged with making citizens wiser, educated and free now find themselves locked out of their offices, classrooms and lecterns. Seems a little upside down, no? Red or blue, most of us can agree than nothing coming out of the White House in recent memory remotely resembles the vision or freedom-driven intellect of founding fathers like Jefferson, despite his known flaws. Instead, we have seen red and blue administrations whose grasp on coherency, let alone math, history, economics or even Afghan geography is questionable at best. Biden’s Response And what does Biden (or his “advisors”) have to say about the recent and scary numbers within a gutted and “locked-out” educational labor force? Well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.. Really? Really? Really? That’s right folks. The President of the United States, home to the world’s reserve currency and former beacon of global freedom, is telling Americans not to worry about the slow death of genuinely informed dissent (as well as educational access and jobs) or the attempted popularizing of otherwise tyrannical mandates, but to focus instead on the vaccine rates at United Airlines? Yes. Really. The leader of the free world is boastfully telling us that the “bigger story” is a fully vaccinated United Airlines (who were forced to choose between a jab or job), so why worry about the problems in that silly ol’ educational sector or outdated Bill of Rights? Playing with Minnows While Ignoring Whales Where ever one stands on the understandably divisive vaccine issue, how can anyone compare a private airline’s vaccine rate to a national education, civil liberty and employment crisis? Why are politicians, Davos dragons, statisticians, media bobble-heads and central bankers focusing our/your attention more on a virus with a case fatality rate of less than 0.5% than they are on openly addressing whale-sized issues like unsustainable debt, rising inflation, embarrassing labor inequality, a dying currency or even more declining GDP? Deliberate and Desperate Distraction as Policy Well, history tells us why. As anyone not banned from a classroom knows, the history of desperate leaders seeking to distract, censor and control the masses in times of a self-inflicted and debt-induced cycle of internal economic rot is long and distinguished. As Biden doubles down on the bad (yet deliberately distracting) hand of what was hoped to be an optically humanitarian policy of vaccine mandates, the masses are getting restless as well as fired… Solution? Criminalize the non-consenting as anti-vaccine, anti-science or anti-American “flat-earthers” while denying open discussion on such otherwise relevant topics as basic math, constitutional law, calm science or individual rights… Meanwhile, those who won’t tow Biden’s increasingly incoherent mandate (or Don Lemmon’s always coherent ignorance) are losing jobs and/or forced to prioritize (in a Jeffersonian way) individual liberty over financial security. Ben Franklin, of course, said those who surrender liberties for security deserve neither. In such a polarized backdrop, everyone, pro or anti-vaccine, loses. Informed, open and calm debate has been replaced by a contradictory, censored, sanctimonious and hysterical autocracy from prompt-readers to political puppets. So much for leading the free world… Let me remind Biden to consider the words of another founding father, Thomas Paine: “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” As someone who studied and practiced constitutional law, worked within a rigged Wall Street and read nearly every book I could find on America’s founding fathers, I can say without hyperbole that I no longer recognize the country (or values) of my birth nation. As Franklin also noted, “All democracies eventually die; usually by suicide.” Hmmm. But let’s get off my high-horse and back to those job reports… Conviction vs. Employment As Bloomberg recently noted, the result of these “pandemic-related staffing fluctuations” is a bit alarming. The following critical industries are witnessing the following job-loss percentages: Nursing and Residential Care (-1.26%); Local Government Education (-1.83%); Community Care for the Elderly (-2.20%) and lodging (-2.25%). But thank goodness that despite a deliberate weaning of nurses, teachers and elderly care experts, United Airlines is nearly fully vaccinated and our Motion Picture Industry (universally known for its astounding political and financial wisdom) is seeing a +4.21% job increase. Awe, but as Johny Mellencamp would say, “Aint that America?” Now instead of more employed and free-thinking nurses, teachers and students allowed to gather, speak and think freely at their own campus or clinic, we can be glad that jobs in Hollywood, like DC, are growing to keep us living on more fantasy rather than actual, informed and hard-earned knowledge. Oh, and the Economy… But rather than just rant otherwise rhetorical sarcasm, let’s get back to those other barbaric (and soon-to-be empty) old-school disciplines like economics… Biden’s mandates are more than just evidence of distraction as policy and constitutional interpretation/usurpation, they have direct impacts on our financial lives outside of the deliberately exaggerated vaccine debacle/debate. Let’s go down the list of what economics taught us years ago, when we were allowed to enter a classroom: Stagflation Ahead. As more and more folks are locked out of work, the entitlement costs for these “un-American” free-thinkers will rise, placing greater inflationary pressures upon a deliberately constrained rather than open economy. Rising inflation + slowing economic activity = stagflation. Prepare for this, as that’s what’s coming. Inflation, by the way, is an invisible tax on those who can afford it the least. Thanks again Powell et al for shafting the middle class… A Divided States of America A country which once revered open rather than censored debate, investigative rather than complicit journalism, and respected rather than polarized differences of opinion, is becoming increasingly factionalized, divided and angry. Jab or no jab, I fully respect both views. Can’t we all do the same without a “mandate”? Like Thomas Paine, I hope so, because as Thomas Jefferson warned, we face far greater economic and political threats ahead than COVID. Rather than accountability, transparency and cooperation, leadership today is defined by fantasy and magic, from magical money created at the Fed to magical employment and CPI data downplayed at the BLS. Such left or right fantasy-as-policy is as old as history—it’s darker side, that is. Just ask Lenin, Castro, Nixon or Greenspan. Whenever backed into a debt corner of their own design, leaders employ a familiar combo of boogeyman and salvation narratives to divert the masses away from the slow-drip erosion of their personal liberties, dying currencies and debt-driven stagnation. This distraction-as-policy is happening right now. The rise of the COVID narrative in 2020 is more than a coincidence. It’s a conveniently exploited opportunity for political and financial opportunists. More Centralized Controls and Fake Markets With debt levels far beyond the Pale of productivity levels (i.e., embarrassing debt to GDP ratios), the U.S. and other developed economies are mathematically and factually unable to ever grow their way out of the debt hole they have been digging us into for years. Period. Full stop. If I know this, and if you know this, well…they certainly know this too in DC. The only difference is that these policy makers, like most kids caught with a hand in the cookie jar, are incapable of admitting fault. Instead, today’s “leadership” can blame their economic and policy failures (and self-preservation rather than “service” instincts) on something else—i.e., “COVID did it.” But as we’ve voiced elsewhere, the debt time bomb, growth declines, social unrest, wealth disparity and failing political credibilities in play today were already a major problem BEFORE COVID. Now, as then, the empirical data objectively confirms that tanking manufacturing data, jobs growth, economic productivity, broken supply chains, scary transport numbers and political mistrust can never service the over $28.5T in public debt sitting on Uncle Sam’s bar-tab. As a natural result, we can therefore expect far more “accommodation” (i.e., monetary expansion) from the Fed, and far more “Fiscal Stimulus” (i.e., deficit spending) from our comical legislature ahead. Stated otherwise: Get ready for more real debt, fake money, centralized controls and hidden wealth destruction. Zombie Stocks, Bonds and Bankers: Too Big to Fail 2.0 Sadly, one of the only forms of income which Uncle Sam enjoys today is the capital gains receipts from a bloated, rigged and artificially Fed-supported stock market. This means we can anticipate more “stimulus” for a zombie, crack-up-boomed market well past its natural expiration date. The same is true of for government IOU’s.  No one wants our bonds. 2020 saw $500B in foreign outflows rather than inflows for US Treasuries. So, who will pay Uncle Sam’s bar tab now? Easy:  Uncle Fed at the Eccles Building down the avenue from a Treasury Department now led by a former Fed Chairwoman. One really can’t make this crazy up. It’s all that real, that rigged and that true. The U.S. debt crisis is now being “solved” by a circular loop of a Wall Street and a White House children tossing their hot potatoes of bad debt (MBS and sovereign) around until they are bought with money created out of thin air by the Fed. And yet despite such insider support, rigged markets and “accommodated” securities, even the rising tax receipts from these bloated markets are not enough to cover the interest expense on Uncle Sam’s bar tab. In short, US Treasury bonds and stocks are openly supported Frankenstein-assets kept alive by a central bank and White House cabal (sorry, Mr. Jefferson…) who blame every problem (and justify every expenditure) on a virus rather than confess to the cancerous reality of over 20+ years of their open and obvious mismanagement of a rigged banking and distorted financial system. But rather than account for such sins, we can expect a bigger bail-out rather than an honest confession… In 2008, for example, the response from DC and NYC to bankers gone mad was to declare bankrupt banks as “Too Big to Fail.” Fast-forward some 13 years later and that same toxic duo of bankers and politicos have now effectively telegraphed that bankrupt government bonds and private stocks are also “too big to fail.” That ought to anger an informed population. But instead, we are fighting about masks, vaccine shaming and Prince Harry’s sensitive upbringing. So far, the distraction-as-policy technique seems to be working in favor of the foxes guarding our financial henhouse. Signal More Currency-Debasing “Miracle Solutions” Which brings us right back to a harsh but increasingly undeniable yet ironic reality. If objectively broken bonds, stocks and financial regimes are too big to fail, then the only way to “save” them is with more mouse-click-created currencies which are too debased to succeed. As precious metal and other long-term, real-asset investors long ago understood, currency expansion is just another name for currency debasement. In other words, eventually, all that “system saving” new money simply drowns the system it was allegedly designed to save in ever more debased dollars. Again, it’s just that tragic and just that simple. Yes: More monetary and debt expansion can buy time and rising markets. But those markets are measured in currencies which time has equally taught us lose their value with each passing second. And the only ones paying for that time are you and I–with dollars, euros, yen and pesos whose purchasing power and inherent value are tanking faster than the credibility of the folks who brought us to this historical and debt-driven turning point. Stated bluntly: The financial and political leadership of the last 20+ years has placed the global financial system into a debt corner for which there is no exit other than deliberate inflation (and hence currency debasement). This foreseeable disaster, however, is now conveniently blamed on a current pandemic rather than a grotesque history of equally grotesque mismanagement by policy markets who have confused debt with prosperity and double-speak with accountability. Wouldn’t it be nice if such economic topics were making at least as many headlines as the latest infection rates? Meanwhile, the mainstream media pursues plays chess with context-empty headlines, bogus job data and ignored debt bombs as our economic Rome (and currencies) burns silently around us all. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge14 hr. 33 min. ago

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Across The Country

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Across The Country One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China's property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China's worst case energy crisis scenario is also about to be unleashed as cold weather swept into much of the country and power plants scrambled to stock up on coal, sending prices of the fuel to record highs. Electricity demand to heat homes and offices is expected to soar this week as strong cold winds move down from northern China, according to Reuters with forecasters predicting average temperatures in some central and eastern regions could fall by as much as 16 degrees Celsius in the next 2-3 days. Shortages of coal, high fuel prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand have sparked widespread power shortages in the world's second-largest economy. Rationing has already been in place in at least 17 of mainland China's more than 30 regions since September, forcing some factories to suspend production and further disrupting already broken supply chains. On Friday, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures closed at a record high of 2,226 per tonne early. The contract has risen almost 200% year to date. China's three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning - also among the worst hit by the power shortages last month - as well as several regions in northern China including Inner Mongolia and Gansu have started winter heating, which is mainly fuelled by coal, to cope with the colder-than-normal weather. Meanwhile, even though Beijing has taken a slew of measures to contain coal price rises including raising domestic coal output and cutting power to power-hungry industries and some factories during periods of peak demand, so far all measures have failed with coal surging by 40% in just the past three days. Beijing has also repeatedly assured users that energy supplies will be secured for the winter heating season, and went so far as to order energy firms to "secure supplies at all costs." Well, the energy firms heard it, because on that day, thermal coal closed at 1,436 yuan. Two weeks later it is some 800 yuan higher. Unfortunately for Beijing, the power shortages are expected to continue into early next year, with analysts and traders forecasting a 12% drop in industrial power consumption in the fourth quarter as coal supplies fall short and local governments give priority to residential users. Earlier this week, we reported that China undertook its boldest step in a decades-long power sector reform when it allowed coal-fired power prices to fluctuate by up to 20% from base levels from Oct. 15, enabling power plants to pass on more of the high costs of generation to commercial and industrial end-users. read more Steel, aluminium, cement and chemical producers are expected to face higher and more volatile power costs under the new policy, pressuring profit margins. Meanwhile, the latest Chinese "data" on Thursday showed factory-gate inflation in September hit a record high; but since thermal coal is the one commodity that correlates the closest to PPI, absent a sharp drop in coal prices in the next few weeks, expect the next PPI print to be far higher. Meanwhile as the power crisis leads to further shutdowns in domestic production, some banks - such as Nomura - have gone so far to predict that China's GDP is set to shrink in coming quarters. China, which laughably aims to be "carbon neutral" by 2060 even as its president announced he will skip the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, has been "trying" to reduce its reliance on polluting coal power in favor of cleaner wind, solar and hydro. But coal remains the source for some 70% of China's electricity needs. Of course, China is not the only nation struggling with power supplies, which has led to fuel shortages and blackouts in many European countries. and threatens to send US heating bills up as much as 50% this winter. he crisis has highlighted the difficulty in cutting the global economy's dependency on fossil fuels as world leaders seek to revive efforts to tackle climate change at talks next month in Glasgow. China will strive to achieve carbon peaks by 2030, Vice Premier Han Zheng said in a video message at the Russian Energy Week International Forum, according to state-run news agency Xinhua late on Thursday. He also said that China and Russia are important forces leading the energy transition and they should cooperate and ensure smooth progress of major oil and gas pipeline and nuclear power projects. Translation: Russia better save that nat gas and not ship it to Europe as China will soon be needed even BCF Russia an provide. As for China   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge16 hr. 33 min. ago

New to Investing? This 1 Building Products Stock Could Be the Perfect Starting Point

Finding strong, market-beating stocks with a positive earnings outlook becomes easier with the Focus List, a top feature of the Zacks Premium portfolio service. Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.The Zacks Premium service makes this easier. It features daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank; full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List; Equity Research reports; and Premium stock screens like the Earnings ESP filter. All of these can help you quickly identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.Also included in Zacks Premium is the Focus List. This is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the traits to beat the market.Breaking Down the Zacks Focus ListIf you could get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn't you jump at the chance to take a peek?That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock's selection and why we believe it's a good pick for the long-term.The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.Focus List MethodologyWhen stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.Earnings estimates are expectations of growth and profitability, and are determined by brokerage analysts. Together with company management, these analysts examine every aspect that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.Investors also need to look at what a company will earn down the road. This is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.Stocks that receive upward earnings estimate revisions are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. For example, if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they're more likely to do it again this month, and other analysts are likely to do the same.Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank, which is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions to make it easier to build a winning portfolio.The Zacks Rank consists of four main pillars: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Then, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell," using this data.The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you're likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.Focus List SpotlightWinnebago Industries, Inc. (WGO) is a leading producer of recreational vehicles in the United States. It has been manufacturing RVs for around 60 years. The motorhomes or RVs are made in the company's vertically integrated manufacturing facilities in Iowa, while the travel trailer and fifth wheel trailers are produced in Indiana. The company distributes its products through independent dealers throughout the United States and Canada.Since being added to the Focus List on July 18, 2016 at $23.30 per share, shares of Winnebago Industries have increased 203.56% to $70.73. The stock is currently a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.For fiscal 2021, one analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.01 to $7.95. WGO boasts an average earnings surprise of 50.1%.Moreover, analysts are expecting Winnebago Industries's earnings to grow 208.1% for the current fiscal year.Another standout Focus List stock you could consider is Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. HII. HII builds, designs, and maintains both nuclear- and non-nuclear-powered ships for military and defense services around the globe.Huntington Ingalls is a #2 (Buy)-ranked stock, and shares have gained almost 35.64% since being added to the portfolio.Two analysts have raised their earnings outlook for the current fiscal year. HII's bottom line is now expected to rise about 34% year-over-year; the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.44 to $13.44 per share. Additionally, Huntington Ingalls has an average earnings surprise of 25.45%.Reveal Winning StocksUnlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. You'll quickly identify which stocks to buy, hold and sell, and target today's hottest industries, to help improve the performance of your portfolio. Gain full access now >> Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII): Free Stock Analysis Report Winnebago Industries, Inc. (WGO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China's property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China's worst case energy crisis scenario is also about to be unleashed as cold weather swept into much of the country and power plants scrambled to stock up on coal, sending prices of the fuel to record highs. Electricity demand to heat homes and offices is expected to soar this week as strong cold winds move down from northern China, according to Reuters with forecasters predicting average temperatures in some central and eastern regions could fall by as much as 16 degrees Celsius in the next 2-3 days. Shortages of coal, high fuel prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand have sparked widespread power shortages in the world's second-largest economy. Rationing has already been in place in at least 17 of mainland China's more than 30 regions since September, forcing some factories to suspend production and further disrupting already broken supply chains. On Friday, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures closed at a record high of 2,226 per tonne early. The contract has risen almost 200% year to date. China's three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning - also among the worst hit by the power shortages last month - as well as several regions in northern China including Inner Mongolia and Gansu have started winter heating, which is mainly fuelled by coal, to cope with the colder-than-normal weather. Meanwhile, even though Beijing has taken a slew of measures to contain coal price rises including raising domestic coal output and cutting power to power-hungry industries and some factories during periods of peak demand, so far all measures have failed with coal surging by 40% in just the past three days. Beijing has also repeatedly assured users that energy supplies will be secured for the winter heating season, and went so far as to order energy firms to "secure supplies at all costs." Well, the energy firms heard it, because on that day, thermal coal closed at 1,436 yuan. Two weeks later it is some 800 yuan higher. Unfortunately for Beijing, the power shortages are expected to continue into early next year, with analysts and traders forecasting a 12% drop in industrial power consumption in the fourth quarter as coal supplies fall short and local governments give priority to residential users. Earlier this week, we reported that China undertook its boldest step in a decades-long power sector reform when it allowed coal-fired power prices to fluctuate by up to 20% from base levels from Oct. 15, enabling power plants to pass on more of the high costs of generation to commercial and industrial end-users. read more Steel, aluminium, cement and chemical producers are expected to face higher and more volatile power costs under the new policy, pressuring profit margins. Meanwhile, the latest Chinese "data" on Thursday showed factory-gate inflation in September hit a record high; but since thermal coal is the one commodity that correlates the closest to PPI, absent a sharp drop in coal prices in the next few weeks, expect the next PPI print to be far higher. Meanwhile as the power crisis leads to further shutdowns in domestic production, some banks - such as Nomura - have gone so far to predict that China's GDP is set to shrink in coming quarters. China, which laughably aims to be "carbon neutral" by 2060 even as its president announced he will skip the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, has been "trying" to reduce its reliance on polluting coal power in favor of cleaner wind, solar and hydro. But coal remains the source for some 70% of China's electricity needs. Of course, China is not the only nation struggling with power supplies, which has led to fuel shortages and blackouts in many European countries. and threatens to send US heating bills up as much as 50% this winter. he crisis has highlighted the difficulty in cutting the global economy's dependency on fossil fuels as world leaders seek to revive efforts to tackle climate change at talks next month in Glasgow. China will strive to achieve carbon peaks by 2030, Vice Premier Han Zheng said in a video message at the Russian Energy Week International Forum, according to state-run news agency Xinhua late on Thursday. He also said that China and Russia are important forces leading the energy transition and they should cooperate and ensure smooth progress of major oil and gas pipeline and nuclear power projects. Translation: Russia better save that nat gas and not ship it to Europe as China will soon be needed even BCF Russia an provide. As for China   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 15th, 2021

Can Sinopec"s (SNP) Fuling Field Help Meet Mounting Demand?

Sinopec's (SNP) Fuling Shale Gas Field currently produces 20 million cubic meters of natural gas per day. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation SNP or Sinopec recently announced that the Fuling Shale Gas Field has produced more than 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas since the commencement of commercial development in 2014.The gas field is located in the Fuling District of Chongqing City and has provided more than 200 million locals staying in the Yangtze River Economic Belt with a cleaner energy source. The consumers are spread across 70 or more cities in six provinces. The field currently produces 20 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.China intends to increase natural gas usage significantly for power generation, slowly moving away from coal-fired power plants, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As such, it became a major gas importer in the last few years. The country has also opted for several projects for import substitution, incorporating the Fuling Shale Gas Field that addresses the demand in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The gas field’s production capacity of 10 bcm per annum is expected to reduce 12 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.It is the country’s first large-scale shale gas field that has reached such a high production capacity. The field’s proven reserves are estimated at 792.641 bcm. This major field is expected to be crucial for the country, which is currently facing high demand and low supply. Due to soaring demand, the country was forced to boost coal production, per Reuters.The country is trying to fulfill energy needs with available options as the rebound in economic activities has led to a significant increase in hydrocarbon consumption, which had taken a hit earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the cold winter prediction is likely to keep natural gas demand high in the country and worldwide. The energy crisis, especially in Europe, is keeping commodity prices at a multi-year high and positioning companies with upstream business to generate tremendous profits.Sinopec, being a major gas provider in China, is expected to witness a boost in the bottom line. In Europe, energy mammoths like Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A), Eni SpA E and Equinor ASA EQNR are also expected to witness a similar favorable pricing scenario. Despite several analysts and groups predicting an aggressive takeover of the energy spectrum by renewables, economies are currently gasping for more hydrocarbons due to low supply as well as mounting demand, thanks to multiple vaccine rollouts around the world. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report Eni SpA (E): Free Stock Analysis Report China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SNP): Free Stock Analysis Report Equinor ASA (EQNR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

NATO"s Plans To Hack Your Brain

NATO's Plans To Hack Your Brain Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com, Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.” NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it. The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.” Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.” A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.” “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.” The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.” In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.” With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities. The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself. Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia. In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.” NATO’s development of novel forms of hybrid warfare come at a time when member states’ military campaigns are targeting domestic populations on an unprecedented level. The Ottawa Citizen reported this September that the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to wage an information war against its own domestic population, testing out propaganda tactics on Canadian civilians. Internal NATO-sponsored reports suggest that this disclosure is just scratching the surface of a wave of new unconventional warfare techniques that Western militaries are employing around the world. Canada hosts ‘NATO Innovation Challenge’ on cognitive warfare Twice each year, NATO holds a “pitch-style event” that it brand as an “Innovation Challenge.” These campaigns – one hosted in the Spring and the other in the Fall, by alternating member states – call on private companies, organizations, and researchers to help develop new tactics and technologies for the military alliance. The shark tank-like challenges reflect the predominant influence of neoliberal ideology within NATO, as participants mobilize the free market, public-private partnerships, and the promise of cash prizes to advance the agenda of the military-industrial complex. NATO’s Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge is hosted by Canada, and is titled “The invisible threat: Tools for countering cognitive warfare.” “Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act,” the Canadian government wrote in its official statement on the challenge. “Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.” Ottawa’s press release continued: “Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.” NATO-backed Canadian military officials discuss cognitive warfare in panel event An advocacy group called the NATO Association of Canada has mobilized to support this Innovation Challenge, working closely with military contractors to attract the private sector to invest in further research on behalf of NATO – and its own bottom line. While the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is technically an independent NGO, its mission is to promote NATO, and the organization boasts on its website, “The NAOC has strong ties with the Government of Canada including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.” As part of its efforts to promote Canada’s NATO Innovation Challenge, the NAOC held a panel discussion on cognitive warfare on October 5. The researcher who wrote the definitive 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare, François du Cluzel, participated in the event, alongside NATO-backed Canadian military officers. The October 5 panel on cognitive warfare, hosted by the NATO Association of Canada The panel was overseen by Robert Baines, president of the NATO Association of Canada. It was moderated by Garrick Ngai, a marketing executive in the weapons industry who serves as an adviser to the Canadian Department of National Defense and vice president and director of the NAOC. Baines opened the event noting that participants would discuss “cognitive warfare and new domain of competition, where state and non-state actors aim to influence what people think and how they act.” The NAOC president also happily noted the lucrative “opportunities for Canadian companies” that this NATO Innovation Challenge promised. NATO researcher describes cognitive warfare as ‘ways of harming the brain’ The October 5 panel kicked off with François du Cluzel, a former French military officer who in 2013 helped to create the NATO Innovation Hub (iHub), which he has since then managed from its base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the iHub insists on its website, for legal reasons, that the “opinions expressed on this platform don’t constitute NATO or any other organization points of view,” the organization is sponsored by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), described as “one of two Strategic Commands at the head of NATO’s military command structure.” The Innovation Hub, therefore, acts as a kind of in-house NATO research center or think tank. Its research is not necessarily official NATO policy, but it is directly supported and overseen by NATO. In 2020, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) tasked du Cluzel, as manager of the iHub, to conduct a six-month study on cognitive warfare. Du Cluzel summarized his research in the panel this October. He initiated his remarks noting that cognitive warfare “right now is one of the hottest topics for NATO,” and “has become a recurring term in military terminology in recent years.” Although French, Du Cluzel emphasized that cognitive warfare strategy “is being currently developed by my command here in Norfolk, USA.” The NATO Innovation Hub manager spoke with a PowerPoint presentation, and opened with a provocative slide that described cognitive warfare as “A Battle for the Brain.” “Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.” Cognitive warfare overlaps with Big Tech corporations and mass surveillance, because “it’s all about leveraging the big data,” du Cluzel explained. “We produce data everywhere we go. Every minute, every second we go, we go online. And this is extremely easy to leverage those data in order to better know you and use that knowledge to change the way you think.” Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign “adversaries” are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics. Du Cluzel defined cognitive warfare as the “art of using technologies to alter the cognition of human targets.” Those technologies, he noted, incorporate the fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. All together, “it makes a kind of very dangerous cocktail that can further manipulate the brain,” he said. Du Cluzel went on to explain that the exotic new method of attack “goes well beyond” information warfare or psychological operations (psyops). “Cognitive warfare is not only a fight against what we think, but it’s rather a fight against the way we think, if we can change the way people think,” he said. “It’s much more powerful and it goes way beyond the information [warfare] and psyops.” De Cluzel continued: “It’s crucial to understand that it’s a game on our cognition, on the way our brain processes information and turns it into knowledge, rather than solely a game on information or on psychological aspects of our brains. It’s not only an action against what we think, but also an action against the way we think, the way we process information and turn it into knowledge.” “In other words, cognitive warfare is not just another word, another name for information warfare. It is a war on our individual processor, our brain.” The NATO researcher stressed that “this is extremely important for us in the military,” because “it has the potential, by developing new weapons and ways of harming the brain, it has the potential to engage neuroscience and technology in many, many different approaches to influence human ecology… because you all know that it’s very easy to turn a civilian technology into a military one.” As for who the targets of cognitive warfare could be, du Cluzel revealed that anyone and everyone is on the table. “Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from starting with the individual to states and multinational organizations,” he said. “Its field of action is global and aim to seize control of the human being, civilian as well as military.” And the private sector has a financial interest in advancing cognitive warfare research, he noted: “The massive worldwide investments made in neurosciences suggests that the cognitive domain will probably one of the battlefields of the future.” The development of cognitive warfare totally transforms military conflict as we know it, du Cluzel said, adding “a third major combat dimension to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimension is now added a cognitive dimension.” This “creates a new space of competition beyond what is called the five domains of operations – or land, sea, air, cyber, and space domains. Warfare in the cognitive arena mobilizes a wider range of battle spaces than solely the physical and information dimensions can do.” In short, humans themselves are the new contested domain in this novel mode of hybrid warfare, alongside land, sea, air, cyber, and outer space. NATO’s cognitive warfare study warns of “embedded fifth column” The study that NATO Innovation Hub manager François du Cluzel conducted, from June to November 2020, was sponsored by the military cartel’s Allied Command Transformation, and published as a 45-page report in January 2021 (PDF). The chilling document shows how contemporary warfare has reached a kind of dystopian stage, once imaginable only in science fiction. “The nature of warfare has changed,” the report emphasized. “The majority of current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the human mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.” For NATO, research on cognitive warfare is not just defensive; it is very much offensive as well. “Developing capabilities to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity,” du Cluzel’s report stated clearly. “In other words, NATO will need to get the ability to safeguard her decision making process and disrupt the adversary’s one.” And anyone could be a target of these cognitive warfare operations: “Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital,” the report ominously added. “As well as the potential execution of a cognitive war to complement to a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the armed forces,” the study went on. “Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.” Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: “This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifications from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The NATO-sponsored study noted that “some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technologies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence enterprises.” It spoke of breakthroughs in “neuroscientific methods and technologies” (neuroS/T), and said “uses of research findings and products to directly facilitate the performance of combatants, the integration of human machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of semi autonomous vehicles (e.g., drones), and development of biological and chemical weapons (i.e., neuroweapons).” The Pentagon is among the primary institutions advancing this novel research, as the report highlighted: “Although a number of nations have pursued, and are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, perhaps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States Department of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).” Military uses of neuroS/T research, the study indicated, include intelligence gathering, training, “optimising performance and resilience in combat and military support personnel,” and of course “direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.” This weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be fatal, the NATO-sponsored study was clear to point out. The research can “be utilised to mitigate aggression and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and ‘neutralise’ potential opponents or incur mortality” – in other words, to maim and kill people. The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare The report quoted US Major General Robert H. Scales, who summarized NATO’s new combat philosophy: “Victory will be defined more in terms of capturing the psycho-cultural rather than the geographical high ground.” And as NATO develops tactics of cognitive warfare to “capture the psycho-cultural,” it is also increasingly weaponizing various scientific fields. The study spoke of “the crucible of data sciences and human sciences,” and stressed that “the combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military analysts to improve the production of intelligence.” “If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy,” it said, “psychology and related behavioural and social sciences stand to fill the void.” “Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of Operations,” the report went on. “It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end state.” All academic disciplines will be implicated in cognitive warfare, not just the hard sciences. “Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military,” the NATO-sponsored study stated. The report nears its conclusion with an eerie quote: “Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” “The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence,” it posited. “Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain.” The NATO-sponsored study then closed with a final paragraph that makes it clear beyond doubt that the Western military alliance’s ultimate goal is not only physical control of the planet, but also control over people’s minds: “Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect. The five first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve the final and full victory.” Canadian Special Operations officer emphasizes importance of cognitive warfare When François du Cluzel, the NATO researcher who conducted the study on cognitive warfare, concluded his remarks in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada panel, he was followed by Andy Bonvie, a commanding officer at the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre. With more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bonvie spoke of how Western militaries are making use of research by du Cluzel and others, and incorporating novel cognitive warfare techniques into their combat activities. “Cognitive warfare is a new type of hybrid warfare for us,” Bonvie said. “And it means that we need to look at the traditional thresholds of conflict and how the things that are being done are really below those thresholds of conflict, cognitive attacks, and non-kinetic forms and non-combative threats to us. We need to understand these attacks better and adjust their actions and our training accordingly to be able to operate in these different environments.” Although he portrayed NATO’s actions as “defensive,” claiming “adversaries” were using cognitive warfare against them, Bonvie was unambiguous about the fact that Western militaries are developing these tecniques themselves, to maintain a “tactical advantage.” “We cannot lose the tactical advantage for our troops that we’re placing forward as it spans not only tactically, but strategically,” he said. “Some of those different capabilities that we have that we enjoy all of a sudden could be pivoted to be used against us. So we have to better understand how quickly our adversaries adapt to things, and then be able to predict where they’re going in the future, to help us be and maintain the tactical advantage for our troops moving forward.” ‘Cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date’ Marie-Pierre Raymond, a retired Canadian lieutenant colonel who currently serves as a “defence scientist and innovation portfolio manager” for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, also joined the October 5 panel. “Long gone are the days when war was fought to acquire more land,” Raymond said. “Now the new objective is to change the adversaries’ ideologies, which makes the brain the center of gravity of the human. And it makes the human the contested domain, and the mind becomes the battlefield.” “When we speak about hybrid threats, cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date,” she added, noting that it aims to influence individuals’ decision-making and “to influence a group of a group of individuals on their behavior, with the aim of gaining a tactical or strategic advantage.” Raymond noted that cognitive warfare also heavily overlaps with artificial intelligence, big data, and social media, and reflects “the rapid evolution of neurosciences as a tool of war.” Raymond is helping to oversee the NATO Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence, which delegated management responsibilities to the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, where she works. In highly technical jargon, Raymond indicated that the cognitive warfare program is not solely defensive, but also offensive: “This challenge is calling for a solution that will support NATO’s nascent human domain and jump-start the development of a cognition ecosystem within the alliance, and that will support the development of new applications, new systems, new tools and concepts leading to concrete action in the cognitive domain.” She emphasized that this “will require sustained cooperation between allies, innovators, and researchers to enable our troops to fight and win in the cognitive domain. This is what we are hoping to emerge from this call to innovators and researchers.” To inspire corporate interest in the NATO Innovation Challenge, Raymond enticed, “Applicants will receive national and international exposure and cash prizes for the best solution.” She then added tantalizingly, “This could also benefit the applicants by potentially providing them access to a market of 30 nations.” Canadian military officer calls on corporations to invest in NATO’s cognitive warfare research The other institution that is managing the Fall 2021 NATO Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defense is the Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). A Canadian military officer who works with CANSOFCOM, Shekhar Gothi, was the final panelist in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada event. Gothi serves as CANSOFCOM’s “innovation officer” for Southern Ontario. He concluded the event appealing for corporate investment in NATO’s cognitive warfare research. The bi-annual Innovation Challenge is “part of the NATO battle rhythm,” Gothi declared enthusiastically. He noted that, in the spring of 2021, Portugal held a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on warfare in outer space. In spring 2020, the Netherlands hosted a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on Covid-19. Gothi reassured corporate investors that NATO will bend over backward to defend their bottom lines: “I can assure everyone that the NATO innovation challenge indicates that all innovators will maintain complete control of their intellectual property. So NATO won’t take control of that. Neither will Canada. Innovators will maintain their control over their IP.” The comment was a fitting conclusion to the panel, affirming that NATO and its allies in the military-industrial complex not only seek to dominate the world and the humans that inhabit it with unsettling cognitive warfare techniques, but to also ensure that corporations and their shareholders continue to profit from these imperial endeavors. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Brace For Price Shock: Americans" Heating Bills To Soar Up To 50% This Winter

Brace For Price Shock: Americans' Heating Bills To Soar Up To 50% This Winter So far, Americans have been watching the money-depleting energy crisis that hit Europe and Asia with detached bemusement: after all, while US energy prices are higher, they are nowhere near the hyperinflation observed in Europe. That is about to change because as the Energy Information Administration warned this week, much higher heating bills are coming this winter. According to the IEA's October winter fuels outlook (pdf), nearly half of U.S. households that warm their homes with mainly natural gas can expect to spend an average of 30% more on their "multi-year high" bills compared with last year. The agency added that bills would be 50% higher if the winter is 10% colder than average and 22% higher if the winter is 10% warmer than average. The forecast rise in costs, according to the report, will result in an average natural-gas home-heating bill of $746 from Oct. 1 to March 31, compared with about $573 during the same period last year. The IEA projects that U.S. households will spend more on energy this winter than they have in several years due to soaring energy prices—natural-gas futures have this year reached a seven-year high—and the likelihood of a more frigid winter than what most of the country saw last year. As the Epoch Times adds, propane costs are forecasted to rise by 54%, heating oil costs to rise by 43%, natural gas costs to rise by 30%, and electricity costs to rise by 6 percent. And with natural gas consumption projected to rise by 3% this winter, households are expected to spend $746 this winter, up from $573 last winter. The increase in natural gas heating costs varies by region with the Midwest U.S. leading the price hike at a 45% increase from last winter, and the Northeast expecting a hike of 14%. Nearly half of all U.S. households use natural gas as the primary source of heating. Households relying on heating oil over winter will spend $1,734 over winter, relative to $1,212 last winter. Houses in Northeastern regions will be more affected by the price hike as nearly one in five homes in the region rely on heating oil as their primary source of space heating. The projection is based on the Brent crude oil price, which helps determine the prices of U.S. petroleum products. “The higher forecast Brent crude oil price this winter primarily reflects a decline in global oil inventories compared with last winter as a result of global oil demand that has risen amid restrained production levels from OPEC+ countries,” according to the EIA. While most households commonly use electricity for heating, 41% rely on electric heat pumps or heaters as their primary source for space heating. These homes should expect to spend $1,268 this winter season, relative to $1196 last year. This projection accounts for 3 percent more residential electricity demand with more Americans working from home, a colder winter, as well as a rise in fuel costs for power generation. “During the first seven months of this year, the cost of natural gas delivered to U.S. electric generators averaged $4.97/MMBtu, which is more than double the average cost in 2020,” stated EIA. The 5 % of U.S. homes using propane as the primary means to heat can expect to spend $631 more on average compared to last winter, depending on the location. Residents of the Midwest can spend an average of $1,805 this winter, reflecting higher propane prices and a 2 percent increased consumption. Propane prices have been at their highest since February 2014 due to increased global demand, relatively flat U.S. propane production, and limited oil supplies from OPEC+ countries. The looming increase, on top of rising prices for many consumer goods and commodities, is likely to cause stress for Americans at many income levels. Should prices rise too far, a repeat of the mass protests observed across European capitals denouncing soaring energy costs, is likely.  Economists warn that the larger utility bills are most likely to affect those households still hobbled by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are very concerned about the affordability of heat this winter for all customers, but in particular those who struggle every day to afford their utility services,” says Karen Lusson, a staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit that advocates on consumer issues for low-income communities. Sounds like another laser-guided stimmy courtesy of the Biden admin is coming. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 18:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 14th, 2021

Children’s Furniture Market On The Rise Despite COVID-19

Most industries in the UK have been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the furniture market is no different. However, thanks to increased parent spending on children’s bedrooms, nurseries, and playrooms, the global children’s furniture market is growing and is predicted to be worth USD $41.6 billion by 2027. Q3 2021 hedge […] Most industries in the UK have been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the furniture market is no different. However, thanks to increased parent spending on children’s bedrooms, nurseries, and playrooms, the global children’s furniture market is growing and is predicted to be worth USD $41.6 billion by 2027. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more An improvement in the general standard of living and rising disposable income has led to growth in the furniture market. This increase in purchasing power has seen a significant increase in demand for children's furniture. “The beds industry had a noticeable surge in sales during covid, with many families concentrating on home improvements, this was hindered by international shipping and cost of bring in materials " – Ashley Hainsworth, Director of Bed Kingdom Parent Preference The desire to incorporate children's toys, books, and clothes in one place is driving up demand for multifunctional furniture, such as bunk beds and cabinets. Meanwhile, increasing real estate prices are expected to affect the sizes of homes, especially children-centred rooms, creating valuable growth opportunities for businesses offering easy to assemble furniture for children's rooms. Parents opting for furniture made from durable materials and offering both multifunctionality and a wide choice of colours is expected to create additional growth opportunities for key market players. As theme-based interior design continues to increase in popularity, parents want furniture with the appropriate shapes and colours to compliment their chosen theme. Product Insights Cribs, Cots, And Beds Cribs, cots, and children's beds have the largest market share of children's furniture sales at 40% and are the most popular furniture items purchased for children's rooms. Bunk Beds The increased use of bunk beds, especially metal bunk beds, in residential schools, dormitories, hostels and military bases, will likely create growth opportunities for manufacturers. Parents typically choose bunk beds as they have the same footprint as a single bed but allow two or more individuals to sleep within the same space. However, bunk beds typically have a limited lifespan, as the top bed can become difficult for children, adolescents, and young adults to access, potentially impacting the growth of the bunk bed market. Europe and North America are the bunk bed market leaders and are predicted to maintain this position due to the growing popularity of outdoor activities, such as summer camps. Storage, Chests, And Cabinets Chests, dressers, and cabinets are expected to experience the fastest CAGR at 5.4% from 2019 to 2025. While these items are relatively low-cost and easy to assemble, they also help teach organizational skills, which all combine to drive up product demand in the upcoming years. Material Insights Wood furniture has the largest market share at 60% when it comes to children's furniture. Wood furniture designed for children comes in both hardwood and softwood. Hardwood items are relatively more expensive, sourced from walnut, mahogany, rosewood, teak, beech, cherry, oak, maple, birch, and ash. Hardwood furniture items are far more durable and require relatively minimal maintenance. Softwood furniture comes from yew, redwood, juniper, cedar, larch, fir, spruce, and pine. These types of wood are lightweight, generally have a better finish, and can absorb adhesive. Regional Insights Europe, in recent years, has had the biggest market share for children's furniture at 40%. It's anticipated that the region will continue to hold this position as the strongest market player for children's furniture, particularly in countries such as Italy, France, the UK, and Germany who continue to maintain a strong market presence both online and offline. Meanwhile, it's predicted that Asia Pacific will experience the fastest CAGR from 2019 to 2025 at 5.4%. Australia, India, China, and Japan are the key consumers in the province. Increasing demand for American and English style children's furniture in Fast East regions such as the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan will drive regional growth. Also, the substantially high birth rate will also likely fuel the demand. A relatively stable if not growing employment market in Indonesia, Maldives, South Korea, Bangladesh, India, and China has also helped improve its consumers' economic status, boosting buying power and product demand. Children's Furniture Market There's a huge amount of competition in the global children's furniture market. From companies offering high-end bespoke pieces to more affordable pieces, consumers must assemble them themselves at home. Consumers have a vast amount of choice depending on their style, budget, and material preferences, whether they are looking for beds, dressers, cabinets, or other storage items. Some of the top key players in the international children's furniture market include: Summer Infant Inc Sorelle Furniture Milliard Bedding Legare KidKraft Ikea Graco Dream on Me INC Bombay Dyeing Ashley Home Stores, Ltd Designer Children's Furniture The children's furniture market has seen a growing shift in preference for designer furniture. Increased awareness of environmental issues and the impact of plastic on the natural world has led many manufacturers and brands to explore new opportunities in designer children's furniture. The children's designer furniture market has also seen a wave of furniture made from discarded plastic toys and recycled plastic. This has led to the plastic material portion of the children's furniture market, expecting to reach around 200 million units by 2027. In recent years, the designer children's furniture market has seen several startups looking to capitalize on this growing and profitable trend. However, convincing parent consumers of the attraction and virtues of children's furniture made from recycled materials is a challenge. However, as startups collaborate with international brands and focus on innovative developments to improve children's comfort, it's expected that this share of the market will continue to attract eco-conscious parents. The global children's furniture market is experiencing a huge transformation. Intelligent furniture, more inclusive designs, and the use of eco-friendly materials are changing the shape of the market. Children's furniture manufacturers and brands are improving their capabilities to create and build high-quality furniture that meets customer demand for attractive and functional items and long-lasting products that will stand the test of time. However, those more green-conscious designers and manufacturers will continue to challenge convincing consumers of sustainable furniture's aesthetic and cost credentials. Therefore, companies shouldn't forget that even in our modern eco-conscious world, safety, quality, quantity, and longevity are the number one priority for most consumers looking to invest in furniture for their children's bedrooms, playrooms, and nurseries. Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 2:41 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

Record Energy Prices Are Triggering Energy Crisis Talk Among Experts

Some experts agree that the soaring prices of fossil fuels worldwide are building the case of an “energy crisis,” which could send shockwaves in the U.S. economy and its consumers, and also have an impact in energy policies in the country. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more According to MarketWatch, “Energy assets from […] Some experts agree that the soaring prices of fossil fuels worldwide are building the case of an “energy crisis,” which could send shockwaves in the U.S. economy and its consumers, and also have an impact in energy policies in the country. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more According to MarketWatch, “Energy assets from natural-gas futures NG00, 2.45% to crude-oil CL.1, 1.19% have been trading at or around multiyear highs, with the ascent notable for its pace and severity.” Energy Crisis As things stand the U.S. and the world at large, the ensuing energy policies will have a huge impact on the world’s attempt at transitioning from crude oil and its byproducts towards renewable power sources. On Monday, the U.S. benchmark price of oil hit $81 and traded just below $82 a barrel, in unison with soaring natural gas prices in Europe ahead of the winter period, with supply at a low. Natural gas prices in America also reached their highest level in 13 years last week, and they have room to continue rising. Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC and former senior economic analyst at the CIA, told MarketWatch: “It’s almost like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It’s a multifaceted story.” Experts are trying to put matters in perspective to define how the world reached this point, and what it means that economies might enter an energy crisis, as the supply of energy resources is reaching blockage stage, triggering fears of global economy damage. Energy Crisis Causes According to Goldman Sachs head of commodity research Jeffrey Currie, an “energy crisis” is the phenomenon of “not enough [energy] supply to go around to meet demand.” Growing prices are caused by several converging elements, experts say: the economic rebound after long pandemic restrictions, concerns about the capacity of energy producers to satisfy the demand, and “decisions by China, one of the world’s largest importers of energy products.” According to data from the Paris-based International Energy Agency and quoted by MarketWatch, the pandemic could have reinforced an existing trend in which investment in fossil fuels is waning. Global lockdowns in 2020 helped to “limit the spread of the deadly virus delivering a notable gut punch to crude-oil production.” As reported by Aljazeera, the EU has put forward tax reductions on energy bills and financial help for poorer households to mitigate the increasing gas prices. “We have to make our energy system better prepared and more resilient so we don’t have to face a similar situation in the future,” European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said. Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 10:11 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

Apple Set to Cut iPhone Production Goals Due to Chip Crunch

Apple is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units Apple Inc. is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company had expected to produce 90 million new iPhone models in the last three months of the year, but it’s now telling manufacturing partners that the total will be lower because Broadcom Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. are struggling to deliver enough components, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private. The technology giant is one of the world’s largest chip buyers and sets the annual rhythm for the electronics supply chain. But even with strong buying power, Apple is grappling with the same supply disruptions that have wreaked havoc on industries around the world. Major chipmakers have warned that demand will continue to outpace supply throughout next year and potentially beyond. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read more: America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Apple gets display parts from Texas Instruments, while Broadcom is its longtime supplier of wireless components. One TI chip in short supply for the latest iPhones is related to powering the OLED display. Apple also is facing component shortages from other suppliers. Apple and TI representatives declined to comment. Broadcom didn’t respond to a request for comment. Apple shares slipped as much as 1.6% to $139.27 in late trading after Bloomberg reported on the news. The stock was up 6.6% this year through Tuesday’s close. Broadcom and TI also dipped in after-hours trading. The shortages have already weighed on Apple’s ability to ship new models to customers. The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max went on sale in September, but orders won’t be delivered from Apple’s website for about a month. And the new devices are listed as “currently unavailable” for pickup at several of the company’s retail stores. Apple’s carrier partners are also seeing similar shipment delays. Read more: Review: The iPhone 13 Is Perfectly Fine Current orders are slated to ship around mid-November, so Apple could still get the new iPhones to consumers in time for the crucial holiday season. The year-end quarter is expected to be Apple’s biggest sales blitz yet, generating about $120 billion in revenue. That would be up about 7% from a year earlier — and more money than Apple made in an entire year a decade ago. Apple’s woes show that even the king of the tech world isn’t immune from global shortages made worse by the pandemic. In addition to facing tight iPhone availability, the company has struggled to make enough of the Apple Watch Series 7 and other products. Earlier this year, Apple warned that it would face supply constraints of the iPhone and iPad during the quarter that ended in September. The Cupertino, California-based company cited the global chip shortages at the time. That period included about a week and a half of iPhone 13 revenue. Broadcom doesn’t have major factories of its own and relies on contract chipmakers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build its products. Texas Instruments makes some chips in-house, but also relies on outside manufacturing. That means they’re part of an increasingly challenging fight to secure production capacity at TSMC and other foundries. Apple is a TSMC client itself — in fact, it’s the company’s largest. Apple uses the manufacturer to make its A-series processors, but they don’t appear to be under threat of shortages for now. Read more: Inside the Taiwan Firm That Makes the World’s Tech Run There are signs the chip crunch is getting worse. Lead times in the industry — the gap between putting in a semiconductor order and taking delivery — rose for the ninth month in a row to an average of 21.7 weeks in September, according to Susquehanna Financial Group. To help untangle supply chain snarls, the U.S. Department of Commerce is asking global chipmakers to respond to a set of questionnaires by Nov. 8, but that effort is facing resistance from lawmakers and executives in Taiwan and South Korea. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tweeted earlier this week about a proposed $52 billion plan to support chip manufacturing in the U.S. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also said he will work on establishing a chip production base in his country. Separately, a protracted energy crisis in China may add to the iPhone maker’s headaches. Apple supplier TPK Holding Co. said last week that subsidiaries in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian are modifying their production schedule due to local government power restrictions. That comes less than two weeks after iPhone assembler Pegatron Corp. adopted energy-saving measures amid government-imposed power curbs. ____ With assistance from Mark Gurman and Ian King......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 14th, 2021

Is Decarbonization Threatening Europe"s Energy Security?

Is Decarbonization Threatening Europe's Energy Security? Authored by Haley Zaremba via OilPrice.com, The energy crisis that is unfolding across the globe could set the world back in terms of carbon emissions as coal and gas demand skyrockets. China will burn and import more coal this year than it did last year, seriously imperiling the nation’s own emissions pledges as well as the world’s chances of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Achieving net-zero is going to require an extremely delicate balancing act as the world struggles to move away from fossil fuels while keeping the economy running smoothly. Later this month about 25,000 people are headed to Glasgow for the 26th annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP26. The UK, this year’s host of the Conference of the Parties, has asked participants to submit more ambitious targets for emissions reductions by 2030 in order to enable the possibility of achieving global net-zero emissions by mid-century. Conference leaders have also asked for increased monetary contribution to climate adaptation and mitigation funds, and have the stated goal of finalizing the regulatory framework for implementing and enforcing the pledges made in the 2015 Paris agreement. At the same time that the world ramps up for the latest and most robust global climate meeting, an energy crisis is unfolding in Europe and Asia which could set the world back in terms of carbon emissions, and which showcases just how difficult the road to decarbonization will be. As global economies have surged back to life in the post-pandemic era, demand for consumer goods and services has skyrocketed. While consumers have largely bounced back to business as usual, however, supply chains have not been able to keep up.  In the energy sector, supply has simply been unable to keep up with demand, causing an energy crunch and severe price spikes in the European Union, China, and India, leading to massive disruptions of supply chains and industries around the globe. In Europe, the EU is trying to walk a tightrope act between getting enough natural gas from Moscow to stay afloat without seriously compromising their energy security and giving the Kremlin too much geopolitical power. India is seriously at risk of running out of coal, which accounts for 70% of the national energy mix. In China, many energy companies have simply stopped producing, as coal prices have skyrocketed but national price caps prevent energy companies from raising electricity prices accordingly, forcing them to either run at a deficit or shut down entirely. The energy crunch and resulting energy insecurity in these regions has highlighted the extent to which all of these governing bodies, which have made considerable climate pledges, are still reliant on fossil fuels. Indeed, China has now lightened its restrictions on coal mining for the last three months of the year in order to keep the lights on and keep supply chains in motion, meaning that China will burn and import more coal this year than it did last year, seriously imperling the nation’s own emissions pledges as well as the world’s chances of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.  What’s more, China’s energy crunch stands to hurt consumers across the globe as energy shortages have forced Chinese production to slow down at a time that demand for Chinese-made goods is surging as consumers start spending again post-Covid. And the energy crunch is just the latest in a long series of pandemic-related unfortunate events for global supply chains, including worker shortages, microchip shortages, and shipping shortages. This means that we can expect rising prices on all kinds of goods while inflation is already on the rise in many countries.  Achieving net-zero is going to require an extremely delicate balancing act as the world struggles to move away from fossil fuels while keeping the economy running smoothly. This current crunch is likely just one of many similar hiccups to come. However, if these bumps in the road continue to send energy-strapped countries back to coal, as this current snap has done, that spells out major trouble for the climate. The green transition likely won’t be easy or smooth, and will almost certainly continue to hurt consumers in the process, but the alternative is far worse. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Kemp: Beset By Coal Shortages, India"s Power Grid Struggles To Meet Demand

Kemp: Beset By Coal Shortages, India's Power Grid Struggles To Meet Demand By John Kemp, Reuters energy analyst and reporter. India has experienced persistent electricity shortages since the start of October as power generators have proved unable to meet resurgent demand as the economy rebounds from last year's coronavirus-driven recession. The country's power crisis stems from the same mismatch between rapidly growing demand and lagging supply that is also causing electricity shortages in China and soaring gas prices across much of Europe and Asia. Generation shortages are manifesting themselves in blackouts and rotating power cuts as well as persistent under-frequency on the country's transmission system.  The crisis has been building for some weeks, first in the form of a slide in coal stocks, then a deterioration in grid frequency, and now most obviously in blackouts hitting parts of the country. Grid controllers normally aim to keep frequency steady and very close to target, minimizing the size and duration of any deviations, which can damage generators as well as customer equipment. Below-target frequency indicates there is not enough generation to satisfy the total load on the transmission system (by contrast, above-target frequency indicates there is too much generation). India has a grid frequency target of 50 cycles per second (Hertz) with controllers tasked with keeping it steady between 49.90 Hz and 50.05 Hz to maintain the network in a safe and reliable condition. But average frequency has fallen well below target since the start of October, and the shortfalls have become larger and longer, indicating a chronic shortage of generation. On Monday, the average frequency fell to just 49.96 Hz, down from 50.03 two weeks earlier, and the proportion of time spent below the minimum target increased to 21%, from less than 1%. On Oct. 7, the worst day of the power shortages so far, the average frequency dropped to just 49.93 Hz, and the grid was below its minimum target for almost 28% of the day. Transmission controllers have been forced to inflict local blackouts to prevent frequency dropping even further and threatening the overall stability of the network. On Oct. 7, the nationwide shortage peaked at 11.7 Gigawatts and the day's total unmet electricity demand hit 114 million kilowatt-hours, equivalent to almost 3% of total demand. COAL SHORTAGE Thermal power generators, most of them fuelled by coal, have proved increasingly unable to keep up with customer demand and the generation plan. Cumulative power production since the start of April has fallen 21.5 Terawatt-hours (-2.9%) behind plan, worsening from a deficit of 11.6 TWh (-2.0%) at the end of August. Thermal power generation has now fallen 21.7 TWh (3.6%) behind plan, from a deficit of 9.7 TWh (-2.0%) at the end of August. The shortfall in coal-fired generation has become so large it can no longer be covered by the above-plan output from nuclear and hydro sources. Coal-fired power plants are encountering increasing problems securing enough fuel to meet planned generation owing to a combination of fuel shortages and transport problems. Coal-fired power plants have an average of just 4 days of fuel on hand compared with 19 days in October 2020 and 12 days before the pandemic in October 2019. Coal stocks are rated critically low at 116 out of 135 generating plants (86%) across the country and those power plants account for 142 GW of generating capacity out of a total of 165 GW (86%). Fifteen power plants have less than one day of fuel on hand and another 47 have only 1-2 days fuel in their yards, according to daily reports from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Power producers report coal shortages are currently responsible for forced outages or some loss of production at 60 generating units across the country ("Daily maintenance report", CEA, Oct. 11). Outages and losses are reported at coal-fired units in the states of Uttar Pradesh (14), Maharashtra (11), Gujarat (7), Rajasthan (6), Chhatisgarh (6), West Bengal (5), Punjab (4), Tamil Nadu (3), Karnataka (3) and Madhya Pradesh (1). Until fuel stocks improve and more coal-fired plants are able to return to full production the electricity grid will struggle to meet high levels of power demand. * * *  What's worse, the energy crisis rippling worldwide could be doomed to repeat in the US. For more on that, read: "Energy Crisis May Unleash Winter Blackouts Across US, Insider Warns."  Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 19:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021