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9/5/09

Peru: Travelling without moving

Bill Weinberg in World War 4 Report has written an article about travelling on buses in Peru. Called 'Peru: bus travel reveals stark class divisions' it's an interesting first-hand account of experiences your author has also had. A good account of how things really are away from plastic-coated Peru-For-Export and well worth your time. Here's an extract from when he left the locals' service and got on a tourist-class vehicle:
The tourist bus may have been more secure, but it was completely insulated from local realities. The sunburned jet-setters were really paying a whole lot more for just one thing: to avoid experiencing Peru. The usual scenes of oppressive poverty—little villages of desperate campesinos scratching the dirt, improvised houses of mud and balsa with no indoor plumbing—went by like the towns far below for an air traveller. We were in an air-conditioned land-ship designed to deliver tourists from one air-conditioned resort to another. The sights that the promotional tourism video boasted between the atrocious movies—Machu Picchu, etc.—were just commodified spectacles, completely divorced from any cultural context.
Continues here

Rare Earth Elements

Mickey Fulp ran a very interesting radio report this morning on rare earth elements (REE) and you can hear what he had to say by clicking right here.

Thoroughly recommended.

¡Feliz Cumple, Hija Mia!

The youngest turns three years old today, so big kisses from her dada and a little post to commemorate. Here's what she looked like in April 2007 at around seven months (one of 10,000 photos to choose from).

She's currently playing with her new doctor's and nurse's set, examining her older sister's ears, giving injections, stethoscoping, telling her she has to stay in bed all day, etc.

Yes indeed, she's changed since that photo.........

9/4/09

The Friday OT: The Jungle Book; I wanna be like you

Disney's for kids? You gotta be joking, this song utterly utterly rocks. Or as the bear says, "Well maaayn, what a beat".



King Louie was voiced by jazz trumpeter/singer Louis Prima and here he helped lay down one of the all-time great moments in animation. Ahm gawn, man, sawlid gawn.

Trading Post (melt up edition)

Despite my deep set fears the market keeps giving me money. I keep accepting.

AuEx Ventures (XAU.to) up 4.3% at $2.89 and my idea of today's typical action. People beginning to pay up to get a piece of quality junior mining companies. Volumes fairly low but clearly interest around on the bid side. Gotta like Long Canyon. DYODD, dude.

Troy Resources (TRY.to) up 7.8% at $2.07. Don't touch that dial.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up 7.8% at $1.39. Ditto.

Castle Gold Corp (CGC.to) down 2.8% at 70c and not joining in the party today. I wonder why.......

Sacre-Coeur (SCM.v) up 15% at $1.15 and a virtual double in just over a week; the zoomfest continues.

And hey...I could pick out a whole lot more, but waddya expect with gold knocking on the door of $1,000/oz and the market looking round for TheNextBigThing™? Really, XAU.to sums it up for me today as quality under-the-radar things are beginning to catch a bid. The trick is to identify quality from here, cos when they drop they drop the least and bounce the quickest.

Capital Gold (CGC.to) (CGLD.ob): Trouble at mill

Thanks to reader "J" for the headsup.


What's the story over at Capital Gold Corp (CGC.to) (CGLD.ob)? The question arises cos it seems like things are getting a trifle, teeny, eensy-weensy bit antsy at board level. Well what would you call it when there's an en-masse resignation of board members and stuffy letters written to chairpeople that file their filings at the end of the week without bothering to mention a thing to shareholders?

Here's the SEC Ref F 8-K you need to read and here's the meat below. Also, keep reading cos underneath Otto got the letters written by two of the pissed-off/pissed-on ex-directors of CGC.to that make it pretty obvious that what went down on August 28th was clearly one of those moments that can easily be described as "a stormy meeting".

On August 28, 2009, Ian A. Shaw resigned as a director of Capital Gold Corporation (the “Company”). At the time of his resignation, Mr. Shaw served as the chairman of the Audit Committee and a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee and Compensation Committee of the board of directors (the “Board”). The resignation followed Mr. Shaw’s receipt of a letter from Gifford A. Dieterle, Chairman of the Board, President and Treasurer of the Company, requesting Mr. Shaw’s resignation due to, as expressed in the letter, inadequate performance as chairman of the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee that allegedly resulted in financial harm. In Mr. Shaw’s resignation letter, he disputed the allegations in Mr. Dieterle's letter and informed the Company of his disagreement with Mr. Dieterle's evaluation of his performance. A copy of Mr. Shaw’s resignation letter is attached hereto as an exhibit.

On August 28, 2009, John T. Postle resigned as a director of the Company effective as of the resolution of certain issues with his outstanding options. At the time of his resignation, Mr. Postle served as a member of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee of the Board.

On September 2, 2009, Mark T. Nesbitt resigned as a director of the Company. At the time of his resignation, Mr. Nesbitt served as a member of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee of the Board. The resignation followed Mr. Nesbitt’s receipt of an email from John Brownlie, a member of the Board and the Chief Operating Officer of the Company, raising questions about Mr. Nesbitt’s performance and certain actions taken as an independent director. In Mr. Nesbitt’s resignation letter, he informed the Company of his disagreement with Mr. Brownlie’s concerns, the Board’s failure to consider the views of the independent directors and with the strategic direction of the Company. A copy of Mr. Nesbitt’s resignation letter is attached hereto as an exhibit.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mr. Gifford A. Dieterle
Chairman, President and Treasurer
Capital Gold Corporation
76 Beaver Street
New York, NY 10005

Dear Sir

From your letter seeking my resignation it would appear that that I have lost the confidence of you, management and the Board of Capital Gold. While I seriously dispute the allegations you have made nevertheless I hereby resign from the Board of Directors of Capital Gold Corporation effective immediately. I have been granted certain options which I will exercise and I will submit an expense report for out of pocket costs incurred up until today.

Yours truly
Ian A. Shaw
UPDATE: Date-stamped 1:52pm, the dudes at CGC.to must have read IKN and thought "Oh crap, we gotta tell them now". Here's the link to the announcement and note the highly prized new boys are also in charge of the financial trainwreck also known as Palladon Ventures, sharing board seats with Capital's COO, John Brownlie.

Chariot Resources (CHD.to): Lukas's bathtime

Splat!

The Lundin dissident slate was today rejected and the current board keeps its jobs. Here's Reuters:

TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Shareholders of Chariot Resources Ltd (CHD.TO) on Friday, reelected the incumbent board of directors, rejecting a slate nominated by Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) Chairman Lukas Lundin.

The shareholders also shot down a motion proposed by the dissident slate to adjourn the shareholder meeting.

Chariot had accused the Lundin nominees of attempting to seize control of Chariot without paying a control premium.

Speculation that Lundin Mining could try to acquire Chariot or its Mina Justa copper project in Peru has intensified since the proxy fight -- led by Lukas Lundin and Lundin Mining Director Brian Edgar -- was revealed last month.

Lundin Mining owns more than 18 percent of Chariot Resources.

Lundin Mining has stated that it does not plan to acquire Chariot Resources, or its key project in Peru. The company said it was not directly involved in the proxy fight led by its chairman to remove Chariot's board.

However, Lundin Chief Executive Phil Wright had said the company would support the alternative slate of directors.

At the beginning of the shareholder meeting, the dissident slate moved to adjourn the meeting, alleging that yada yada continues here

Regarding stock liquidity

While checking round the radar today a subject sprang to mind inspired by previous e-mail conversations with several readers over the course of the year. What follows is nothing earth-shatteringly new but all the same it's getting written.

First off, a couple of facts: Over the last three months, Troy Resources Australian listing (TRY.ax) has averaged a trading volume of 165,000 shares per trading day. Now for sure that's not FCX or INTC levels of volume, but that should be enough to get you in and out whenever you want at the price you aim for (give or take a couple of pennies). Meanwhile, the same stock in Canada, ticker TRY.to, has averaged a touch under 27,000 shares and long suffering readers of IKN will know that until a few weeks ago there were plenty of days that passed without a single trade being made.

With that in mind, let's check the chart of TRY.ax versus TRY.to over the last two months (the recent timeframe in which TRY has made its significant move)....

...and we note that the two lines are basically lockstep. For the record, this also works for longer and shorter periods (e.g. check the 12 month chart and check the 5 day chart at your own leisure).

This harks back to conversations I had earlier this year as I banged on the table about Troy Resources and people would mail and say things to the effect of "Well yes I hear you on Troy, but there's no liquidity in the Canadian stock". It also reminds me of the recent analysis from a CFA working in a Canadian brokerage that used the very same argument, i.e. lack of trading volume in the Canadian stock, as one of the reasons to downgrade his recommendation on TRY a touch over two months ago....y'know, timing and all that.

Anyway, the point is that if you're looking to flip a trade in a couple of hours or a couple of days, then volumes are important. However if you're looking to park your money in a value investment over a longer period of time (couple of months, couple of years), don't worry 'bout it so much. The chart above is clear proof that non-liquid tickers rise (and fall) just as well as their liquid siblings over time. Right now I'm trying to fish my way into a couple of low-priced, low liquidity stocks (note subscribers, the one beginning with "R" and the one beginning with "D") but have already taken a starter position in both. If the value point comes to me then I'll take a fuller position and until then a bit of patience is needed, but one thing I won't be worried about is the amount of action or non-action in the stock once I'm bought in. When others work out the reasons for owning they'll get popular in their own time.

DYODD, dude.

How did economists get it so wrong....

...is the title of this op-ed in The New York Times by Paul Krugman this week. If you are at all interested in the subject and haven't read it yet, do so. It is a superb piece of narrative, neatly capturing the course of modern economics and giving a cogent argument as to why economics failed us all in such spectacular fashion this decade. Also, it avoids the common trap of economics and is not at all dull to read.

You may not agree with Krugman, but until you can break down the arguments given here you're on the losing side. Meanwhile, let us remind ourselves that the very people who led us directly into this mess are the same ones that are triumphantly declaring it all over. You think I'm bearish for fun?

Chart of the day is....

...gold, futures, weekly candle back to August 2007.

(click to enlarge)

If you've noticed that gold has something of an issue about the U$1,000/oz line, then you're not alone. Hey, I don't wanna be a party pooper with this post...I for one am long the stuff more than any other stuff in the world, but let's acknowledge that a little break above $1k/oz won't impress many outside the wingnut brigade and moonshouters....the thing that will set the finance world on fire is if it breaks $1,000/oz, falls back, re-tests the line from above and doesn't break it. When that happens every other advert on daytime teevee will be Cash4Gold.

9/3/09

Rafael Rey, Peruvian Defence Minister and winner of this week's coveted award

Rey (for it is he)

It's difficult to get across in mere words the moronic stupidity of Rafael Rey, Peru's new (and hopefully soon-to-be-ex) Defence Minister. The subject is the recent attacks on army personnel by Sendero (shining path) terrorists in the cocaine-producing VRAE region of selvatic Peru that we've mentioned here on several occasions.

There has been a marked uptick in attacks on Peru soldiers by the terrorists, within the last week or so a helicopter shot down, gunfights that resulted in deaths and injuries on either sides, etc. Skirmishes, in other words. The uptick is clearly caused by Peruvian army's own mini-surge into the region to rid us of the bad guys combined with a well-trained and entrenched guerrilla that will protect at all costs its highly lucrative cocaine business.

Now before we continue, let's make it clear that your author fully supports, as in 100% without a shadow of doubt and the merest hint of oppostion, the Peruvian government and its army in the current situation against the Sendero terrorists. This isn't even an issue and the world would be a better place if the outlaws of VRAE were defeated once and for all. However there's no way that the total and absolute moron in charge of Peru's Defence Ministry, Rafeael Rey, can say what he said today without comment made against him. In a presentation made to Peru's Congress today, Rey said the attacks against the national army must be considered "crimes against humanity".

Forgive him, Father, he knows not what he says, he is truly a dumbass.
He's just admitted to his enemy that they are in control of VRAE.

Yes, terrorist bands roaming semi-jungle, making cocaine and killing soldiers is bad, but there's no crime against humanity going on here. In fact the scumballs that run the Sendero operation in VRAE will probably be celebrating and toasting Rey by name tonight, such is the stupidity of what he said, because we need to understand what a "crime against humanity" really is. We all have a vague idea of course, and words like The Final Solution, Rwanda, Pol Pot, Stalin, Dirty War (I could continue, sad to say) come to mind. But there is a precise and legally recognized definition of the phrase. According to the people who created the standard, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, crimes against humanity (author's bold type added):

"....are particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape and political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of falling into the category of crimes under discussion."

Thus by calling Sendero's attacks "crimes against humanity" he is recognizing that the narcoterrorists in the region are either the government or the de facto government of that region. His words show the utmost disrespect to the fallen, not due to malice aforethought but simply due to lack of intellect, knowledge and education. Did the brave soldiers think they were going in to VRAE to take back the region from its rulers, or were they there to defend Peru? This isn't some hair-splitting about semantics either, worthy lector of IKN, this is about having a stupid person ordering around brave people. This is about an ill-educated fool rising to the executive power level of a country. Put simply, dumbasses with this much power are very dangerous people and need to be surgically removed from any type of decision-making process as soon as possible, for the good of all.

A man like Rafael Rey isn't fit to polish the boots of the personnel in the Peruvian army, let alone order them about. Twobreakfasts is the most mediocre of Presidents (as recognized by this humble corner of cyberspace and by his own citizenry in approval polls) but at least he has a brain about him. He should sever his links to the stupid, stupid person (I keep coming back to the word to describe Rey's actions today, as no other seems apt) immediately before he is not simply the cause of a dialectic scandal but his clear ineptitude spills over into policies lethal to the soldiery he controls....or perhaps it is already too late there, too.

Anyway, Rafael Rey, you win this week's coveted award hands down. Nobody's gonna come close to you in the days remaining, that's a stone-cold cert. Enjoy, dumbass:


toot flash toot

A couple of reactions from subscribers concerning this morning's Flash Update, sent at 08:40am:

Subscriber one
Your weekly letter, embedded ideas and research along with updates like this are all good and most appreciated. Specifically you have also just now added 32,500 reasons to keep holding (name of stock withheld).

Nicely done too with (name of stock withheld). Selling remainder here too early but figure if it's possible to be locking in equivalent of about 5 years subscription to your weekly letter with your idea and related reasoning/research in just under a month it probably worthwhile to do it.

Subscriber two
Great flash. I actually went to my inbox to see if you had sent a flash on (name of stock withheld) regarding the incredible action on the stock this morning. To my surprise you actually sent out your note "before the action began".

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) scores for Peru


Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) +12.5% this morning on strong volume. And if you think this a great result for Peru versus Mexico's laggard silver plays, just wait til FVI.v gets to play its away game in San José, builds its mine there and shows locals close up and in face how to run a profitable silver mine. FVI got the mojo working now, folks. Feel free to jump on and send my shares even higher. DYODD.

DMM and MAI doing well today, too. Sheesh, I should turn off the interwebnetpipes in trading hours more often....

FYI


Posting will be light today, as there is work to do before paying clients get annoyed.

Alan Garcia has Swine Flu CORRECTED

Betcha he's regretting this 'abrazo' with Uribe now.

NOTE: THIS NEWS IS NOW UNCONFIRMED AND PROBABLY A HOAX CAUSED BY A CHAIN MAIL (pasted underneath)

The commiepinko conspiracy continues, as now both LeadersOfTheFreeWorld™ based in South America are down with AH1N1 First Uribe came down with it, now Peruvian local news station RPP reports that Twobreakfasts got da swine flu.

Confirmado Alan Garcia contagiado por gripe porcina:
Ante las especulaciones que se dieron los últimos dias, se confirmó de manera oficial que el Presidente Alan Garcia contrajo la gripe AH1N1 junto con 4 miembros mas de la delegación que formo parte de la cumbre de la UNASUR en Argentina.

Por mas que se trató de ocultar el hecho, y a raiz y de algunos comentarios que se dieron durante el dia en Torre Tagle no se pudo ocultar mas, y el Vice Presidente Luis Giampietro tomo la conducción del país en este dificil momento.

Además del mismo modo se confirmó que los presidentes de Bolivia y Brasil también se contagiaron de la gripe AH1N1, pero estan en proceso de recuperación, practicamente esta cumbre ha puesto en jaque a toda la región, enterese como finalmente se tuvo que hacer pública esta noticia, descargando el audio.

don't touch that dial


Troy Resources (TRY.ax) tonight in Oz. Up 8.5% right now and another new 52wk high.

9/2/09

Excellent trader's rant from Jack Crooks of Black Swan Capital today

You need to click through here to get the whole thing and every word is recommended, but here below is an excerpt. Crooks nails a few basic and valuable points in his short article:

  • don't try to know everything about the market
  • don't expect anyone else to know everything about the market
  • play to your strong points, acknowledge your weak points
  • and as Livermore said "be right, sit tight"

Those and plenty more. Good headcheck material. Here's that excerpt:
I once spoke with a very smart man. A man who has made hundreds of millions of dollars for himself and investors over the years—his name is Bill Dunn. I don’t know Mr. Dunn personally, unfortunately, even though we live in the same town. But I do greatly respect him and what he has achieved. He is one of the largest Commodities Trading Advisors out there, and one of the most successful investors ever—real Hall of Fame material.

When I spoke to Mr. Dunn, about 15-years ago, we talked a bit about a man named Ludwig von Mises—a favorite of Mr. Dunn’s and me. We discussed briefly the economy, etc. He was very gracious to even spend time with me—I was impressed. I asked him about how he thought x-y-z would impact the prices of x-y-z…I don’t remember the exact question. But I do remember the answer, he said: “I don’t know nor do I care. I’m interested in that stuff, but I never let it impact our trading decisions at Dunn Capital Management.” That was a wake-up call to me at the time.

Here is arguably one of the best investors ever that doesn’t try to forecast or predict, and by the way, you will likely never see him on TV. Years later read an interview of him in a book about trend trading, he hadn’t changed a bit. He said this:

“I ride the bucking bronco.”

Bingo! An ah-ha moment indeed!

Not sure there is a moral to this rant other than this: be careful about prediction and do it in time frame and during periods that appear seemingly better than normal for prediction, based on some knowledge of your edge (system for getting you in and out of trades). And of course, be careful of the most confident TV guests.

Trading Post (nothing to see here move along now edition)

Gold at $977, silver beating it out on the day, copper "bounces from two week low", all is right in the world..what could pssibly go wrong?

Nadagold (NG) up 11.9% at U$4.17 and enjoying the "leverage" as its promo shiller call it. Us normal people call it "Hey, at $1,200/oz gold for the next 20 years they might even build a mine at Galore". Today's a great day to lighten, 'MC' :-)

Ecometals (EC.v) up 8.1% at $0.47 and so great so see such a reliable and trustworthy management team getting a pop from today's action. Couldn't happen to a nicer set of shepherds.

Pediment (PEZ.to) up 1.3% at 0.77 but its journey to the very low 70s earlier this week made my "76 to 78 is a line in the sand here" recent call suck bigtime. Jeesh, beats me why you bother reading this blog sometimes...never any value here....still like PEZ, though.

Dynasty (DMM.to) up 6.4% at $3.50 on something close to tradeable volumes, too. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone...

Minera Andes (MAI.to) up 6.6% at $0.65. I was told by a mailer that the chart didn't look very good on this yesterday. Well, gold popping 20 bux kinda trumps that one.

Radius Gold (RDU.v) up 5.6% at $0.19. I'm now long this stock, small position that can get added to if value shows its head. Long-term play with a target price noted in The IKN Weekly. DYODd, dude.

Machu Picchu is not real

it's that photo again. Click to enlarge, it's a hi-res and
gets very big....you can almost see the hotdog stands

Best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson has a new book out called "The Road Less Travelled" which checks out a thousand places to visit that are off the beaten track. But part of the book is devoted to the world's five most over-rated tourist sites and Peru's Machu Picchu makes that list. Here's the UK Times' report on that section of his book (note £100= U$160, more or less).

MACHU PICCHU, PERU

THE BUILD-UP There’s no doubt that Machu Picchu holds its own as a premier tourist stop. Possibly South America’s most-promoted destination, it has held the top spot for travellers eager to see the majesty of the Inca for several years.

THE REALITY The journey to Machu Picchu is not pleasant, and the entrance fee has risen to more than £25. Add to this the round-trip train fare to the village at the foot of the mountain (the most common means of transport from Cusco), the bus fare from here to the site, plus the food and water you’ll need during the day, and you’re well above £100 before you’ve even set foot in Machu Picchu. . .that is if you fall within the number of people allowed in daily.


And y'know what? It's true. For one thing Machu Picchu is over-rated as a destination. For another, there are other places less well-known that are steeped in just as much history in the ex-Inca (and pre-Inca) regions of the Andes. Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia all have their historical jewels to offer. Machu Picchu is the touchstone place and people travelling 10,000km or more to get to South America feel obliged to make it a stop-off on their way. Yes, the place is well-tended. Yes, the tour guides are very knowledgeable and professional. Yes, it's a tourist trap, and an expensive captive-audience one at that. Want to pay Tokyo prices for mediocre goods and services in the middle of smalltown South America? Aguas Calientes is the place for you. Want to buy a genuine Inca ballpoint pen? Cuzco's Plaza de Armas awaits with open arms. Machu Picchu (and Cusco for that matter) is another great location covering itself with plastic and pretending to be something it isn't. Man, gimme La Paz (Bolivia), Medellín (Colombia), Tucumán (Argentina) or Asunción (Paraguay) any day of the week. Real places, beautiful places, places not trying to fake themselves to conform to an image created for outsiders.

News roundup (reheated in the microwave and served on a plastic plate)


Uribe gets his parliamentary vote and is now an easy-to-win referendum away from being able to run for re-re-re-election. Jeesh....gonna be fun watching all the wingnut Chávezhaters jump thru hoops backwards as they try to explain the benefits of this one

The Mex Files picks up on a fellow blogger's post about how style is so, so much more important than substance in the scrubbed-clean fantasy Mexico presented for Labor Day tourists to Tijuana.

This DJNW report on the Peru's fiscal stimulus program bases itself on the words of Julio Velarde on Peru's CenBank. As such it makes a lot of sense because the dude is basically pretty sound. A bit disconcerting to hear that the bankers are trying to find ways round the rules to allow them to jump on the QE bandwagon, however.

Ecuador wins the "best place in the world to retire" award from the magazine International Living. There goes the neighbourhood.

Gary Biiwii, gold and good business sense


Anyone who's a regular at Gary Biiwii's blog would have noticed a pair of related posts there last couple of days. First up was this message:
A guy who years ago was highly influential in my education about the gold sector used to call Sinclair 'Foghorn Leghorn', or in the words of Henery Hawk a 'loud-mouthed schnook'. As in 'Foghorn Leghorn is crowing again, time to take cover'. Thus illustrates the main reason I am on his email list. A stellar contrary indicator. Mish checks in with his not so polite view this morning: Countdown to Dollar Implosion Madness From day one I have wanted this blog to be a place free of hype. Way more people want to have their perceptions reinforced than challenged. Hype is pervasive, and the gold sector is one of its most active breeding grounds.
Then yesterday, this one went up.
Post something critical of the gold bug supreme commander and watch the blog un-subscriptions come rolling in. Can't be good for the newsletter business either, can it? Well, that's showbiz. There are plenty of blogs out there to suit your needs.

Not being in it for the short term, and not being the most polished person in the world, I'll just continue on as is. Get me or don't get me. It's what makes a market. And you know, everything is useful. You may find it useful that some jerk blogger is not on board the 'go gold!' express. I may find it useful to know just how many people are.
Now you can say all you like about Sinclair (hell, I've done my share on that score) but you have to admire the canny business sense of Gary Biiwii all the more after this episode. For one thing, those that appreciate Gary's most excellent subscription letter (I for one get it every week and recommend it without hesitation as highest quality intellectual fare) are likely to be free-thinking individuals and not the sheep that a charlatan such as Sinclair is looking to shear sans pareil. But more importantly, getting rid of the blind, unquestioning Sinclair-lovers from his roster by what they perceive as an insult (but in fact is clearly nothing of the sort...more like throwing them a life-vest) also means he's getting rid of stock market losers and concentrating success and wealth around him. That can only be good in the longer-term.

Clever dude that Gary.

Chart of the day is...

....an update on the Gold/Silver ratio.


No real conclusion to draw from this right now, just there on the radar, gauging the fear factor out there. This morning the GSR has crept up and over 64X again.

9/1/09

Bolivia has its Sarah Palin moment

even the 'tache looks silly

Remember back in 2008 when that crusty McCain character chose Sarah Palin as his running mate for the US Presidential elections? At first it was a bit of a showstopper, then suddenly McCain was polling close to level pegging with The Hawaiian for the first (and as it turned out only) time. But then....well....then reality set in. As the novelty of Palin quickly wore off it was clear that McCain had basically thrown away his chances on someone that carries more baggage than a bellhop at the Ritz. Loved by hardcore Republicans and unelectable by normal people, the choice of Palin for Veep is now writ large in the book of tactical mistakes by politicos.

And thus last night Bolivian opposition candidate for the Presidency, Manfred Reyes Villa (photo above) presented his running mate for the December 6th vote, Leopoldo Fernandez. If that name sounds familiar, he's the prefect (aka governor) of the Pando region arrested as being the brains behind the Sept 11* 2008 Pando Massacre. Currently still on remand in a La Paz prison cell, Fernandez has joined Reyes Villa on a ticket that both hope will unite the opposition against President Morales.

Fat chance. When I first heard of Reyes Villa's pick for Veep this morning it was a difficult choice between cheering and laughing. Cheering because with this it's clear the opposition is done for. This choice of Fernandez means that the attempted opposition alliance that has for the last few days been trying to reach agreement and finding a single candidate to face Morales has failed miserably. It means the opposition will be fielding multiple candidates. It means they're plug stupid and have not a snowball's in hell of getting even close to Evo.

And I was laughing because I was thinking "Is that all you got, nutbars?". The great hope of the anti-Evo brigade now lies with two old hand politicos that have close historical ties with previous military dictatorships and all the muck that goes with them. Reyes Villa couldn't even keep his own job this time last year, as he was voted out of the Cochabamba prefect's job by a score of 35% for and 65% against him. His running mate, locked away in jail awaiting his day in court, has been in charge of the unpopulated and highly corrupt drug-running region of Pando and ruled via quasi dictatorship all this time. Just another tired old far-right racist that couldn't see the world changing around him and tried to suppress said change via hired gunmen and bullets sprayed at indigenous protestors.

In the comments section of this post last week (the one with the recent polling numbers), reader MyC left this comment which had merit to it:
"....the solution to that would be a strong centre-right (it will claim to be center left but will be center-right) opposition candidacy of Doria Medina, along with people who are willing to negotiate with the next Evo government for Bolivia's benefit, not that of the displaced or up and coming elites. and willing to enforce the law against their erstwhile political allies"
I replied at the time like this:
"Fair enough MyC, but a 'strong centre right' doesn't just appear out of thin air. For such a thing to happen the people that are currently on the right will have to stop their separatist flights of fancy, disalign themselves with the extremist racist tendencies and start listening and responding to all the electorate, not just the section of it that thinks it has divine right of rule.

Or in other words, until they get real you'll have a fractured opposition that looks very much like the shambles up against Hugo in Vzla. Or in two words: Evo wins."
And that has simply been confirmed by the Reyes Villa/Fernandez ticket today. Bolivia's opposition is living in the stone age and has no concept of the world around them. If they stopped preaching to their own converted and listened to the wants and needs of the whole country they might be able to put together a credible alternative to Evo. But until then they're just a bunch of reactionary fools with zero chance against a popular man doing a good job for his country....all his country, not just the light-skinned parts of it. The pick of Fernandez to run with Reyes Villa is Palin for Veep parte dos and will finish in the same trainwreck. Pandering to its own hardcore will consign the present political opposition in Bolivia to the dustbin in the same way that the choice of Palin and the step towards the hardcore GOPpers in the USA made the whole party unelectable there.

* Seriously, what is it with that date? Allende in Chile, twin towers, Pando...

UPDATE: Check out T'anta Wawa and her take on the Fernandez Veep story. She knows her Bolivia.

Mysteries of economics forecasting explained (Peru finance ministry edition)

El Comercio is today running this report on how Peru's Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF) is forecasting the local currency, Peru's Nuevo Sol (PEN), to reach a foreign exchange rate of S/2.90 versus the US Dollar in 2012. The MEF forecast is part of its tome-like "MultiAnnual Macroeconomic Update" published last weekend.

Now this all sounds very, but very important and calculatory and I'm sure you're mystified as to which powerful algorithmic formulae those MEF suits are using to come to their extrapolated conclusions, so let's just explain how things really work chez Spongebob Carranza.

All you really need to make official economic forecasts like these are:

1) A chart ripped from Yahoo Finance
2) A straight-edged ruler

(click to enlarge)

Five minutes later you have your three year forecast for the national currency. Six minutes later you're off for that long lunchbreak you and your MEF colleagues so desperately deserved.

Cusqueña and canchita served. The end

Checking in on the Peruvian consumer

Here are two charts with stats taken from this INEI bulletin. They show how Peru's national sales tax receipts have been coming on recently in Peru. The first chart shows receipts in monetary terms, month over month, since 2007. The growth has been pretty impressive.

However this chart shows more clearly the recent weakness in the growth pattern, with last month the first time that sales tax receipts have shrunk on a YoY basis.

So what happens if a country announces an economic recovery and nobody shows up for the party?

LME copper inventories about to break through 300,000MT

Here's the chart as stands today, with the latest LME number hot off the press:


Add to this the first inventory climb in Shanghai for nine days (up 1.7% to 19,656MT) and the rise over at COMEX, up 228 short tons to 53,209 tons. For sure, these smaller warehouses aren't as important as big daddy LME but the trend is clear in all places, this despite lower than expected recent copper production in the world's two biggest export countries, Chile and Peru.

DYODD, dude.

UPDATE: Nervous copper longs send anonymous messages to Otto, hiding their fear and loathing of his superior economics skills behind mockery.
Copper levels up a bit lately.. STOP PRESS! LOL Otto, come on.. it was at 550,000 tonnes this February and now it is at 300,000.. it's a natural swing. I expect the spot to retrace to around 2.40-2.50 before another run up. Didn't you say it was ready for a pullback around 2-2.20? That was over 30% ago. We know you are bearish on copper but you were plain wrong. Let it go.


Whatever makes you think Ecometals (EC.v) is full'o'bull, Otto?

Ahh, just a feeling, y'know....

On August 12th, Ecometals (EC.v) said this, adding a new layer of smoke'n'mirrors to its bullshit operations in order to dazzle its obedient sheep-like followers over its Zarza crapshoot project in Ecuador:
The final remaining Environmental Management Plan and Environmental License approvals are expected to be received this month.
Result? Pumpy pumpy, up she goes again.

But wait! Today isn't August any longer. Today be September and there's still no news on those permits. Could it possibly be true that EC.v has been bullshitting the market again? After all, on that same August 12th date I wrote this, offering to accept bets on that permit (non) issuance. Damn pity that nobody took me up on the deal....not even EC.v management.

Question of the day: What common word in capital markets, used when stock drops in price on high volumes, rhymes with the word "pump"?

Crown Point Ventures (CWV.v): Two from two, one to go


Crown Point Ventures (CWV.v) is a tiny little O&G play drilling in Argentina that we featured in The IKN Weekly issue 14 (we're now at IKN18, so call it a month ago). At the time we noted it was a risky play for sure, but also noted some decent sounding jungledrums that had been picked up Chez Otto. At that time it was 35c and it's now 37c, so not much change there.

Here below is the press release from last night, which has CWV.v saying "We're drilling three holes down here, the first two look pretty darn good and we're now on the third". DYODD and for the record I don't own (it's tinysmall and not my personal risk profile) but I know a couple of subscribers have recently bought in.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2009) - Crown Point Ventures Ltd. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:CWV - News) advises that it has completed the drilling of the second well of a consecutive three well exploration drilling program at El Valle in the San Jorge basin of Argentina and is casing it as a potential dual zone oil well.

This EVx-21 well has been logged, evaluated, and cased as a potential oil well. Among the potentially hydro-carbon bearing zones of interest are two significant zones. The first zone encountered four meter thick sandstone in the Caleta Olivia Member of the Canadon Seco Formation. Analysis of the wells logs and drilling samples indicate that it is prospective of containing light/medium oil. The second zone of interest is a three meter thick sandstone in the Mina el Carmen formation. Logs and drilling samples indicate that this zone is prospective of containing a medium grade of oil.

Crown Point will be commencing the drilling of the third well as soon as the drilling rig has moved off the EVx-21 location. Crown Point has contracted a service rig to complete the EVx - 19 and EVx - 21 wells which is expected to arrive on site later this week.

"This is the second well that Crown Point has drilled on its El Valle block, with both containing highly prospective zones of interest," said Murray McCartney, President and CEO. "We are pleased with our drilling results to date and look forward to completing the wells to confirm the quantity and amount of hydrocarbons present. Both locations show potential for significant development programs."

Chart of the day is....

Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to), three months to date.

Featured here today because it's good to see the market recognizing this polluting scam for what it is.

8/31/09

Right now it's Sept 1st 2009, 04:45am in Poland

70 years ago to the minute, Germany fired the opening shots in its invasion of Poland.

The rest, as they say..............................

New Zealand Accountancy Methods: A User's Guide

From the TMF Glow Bull Gains twitterfeed, we're brought a dialogue between PGG Wrightson (New Zealand's biggest agro supplies company) and the New Zealand Stock Exchange regulators. The problem concerns a sidebar note in the company's end of year annual financial report.

Here's the link and here's the paydirt:

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Ltd – Annual Financial Statement

August 26, 2009

Julian Daly
NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited
57 Waterloo Road
Christchurch 8042

by email: jdaly@pggwrightson.co.nz

Dear Julian

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited - Annual Financial Statements

We refer to the Annual Financial Statements and Audit Report (“Financial Statements”) of NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited (“NZS”), released today, 26 August 2009.

Note 3 to the Financial Statements, regarding depreciation, included the comment “fudge this to equal depn in FA note 11 $2391 - via no ca” (“the comment”). The comment has caused NZX, and the market, concern that the Financial Statements may not be accurate. In this regard, please respond to the following questions:

What exactly is meant by the comment and why is it included?
Please confirm that the figure included for depreciation is true and accurate in all material respects.
Please confirm that the Financial Statements of NZS give a true and fair view of the financial performance of NZS as at 30 June 2009 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year ended that date.

Please respond to this letter by 9:00am Thursday 27 August 2009. Please note that your response to this letter may be released to market.

Yours faithfully

Caroline Young
Head of Market Supervision

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Dear Caroline

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited (NZS) – Annual Financial Statements

We refer to your letter of 26 August 2009 regarding the Financial Statements and Audit Report released on the same date for the annual period ending 30 June 2009.

We respond to the questions you have raised as follows:

1. The comment was a personal file note included in an earlier working draft of the notes to the Financial Statements. The file note was made as a prompt to reconcile a minor rounding difference between the cash-flow reconciliation note 3 and the fixed assets note 11 in respect of depreciation expense for the period. Importantly the comment was not in the Financial Statements reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors of NZS or its auditors.

While the comment was deleted from the final version of the Financial Statements tabled for approval by the Board of Directors; it was inadvertently retained in the results released to NZX, notwithstanding that the reconciliation had been completed. This was purely an administrative oversight. While the words in the comment were not well chosen, they were merely a prompt for the author of the Financial Statements to reconfirm the rounding difference expressed in an early draft of the Financial Statements where there was a minor rounding discrepancy. This reconciliation issue was resolved in the final checking of the Financial Statements against the supporting notes.

2. We confirm that the depreciation figure included in the Financial Statements is true and accurate in all material respects. Please refer to the comments in item 3 below regarding the process employed in relation to the preparation and approval of the Financial Statements.

3. We confirm that the Financial Statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of NZS as at 30 June 2009 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year ended on that date. NZS has followed a robust and thorough process in preparing the Financial Statements. This has involved preparation and verification of financials by the internal management team and Chief Financial Officer, review and approval by the NZS Audit Committee, review and approval by the Board of Directors and audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

While the inclusion of the comment in the Financial Statements is regrettable and disappointing given the rigorous and thorough process that has been adopted in their preparation, we would assure NZX and the market that the comment should not be a cause for concern regarding the accuracy of the Financial Statements. The file note comment was added to a working draft of the Financial Statements and was subsequently overlooked.

As soon as the issue came to our attention, steps were taken to immediately correct the oversight and re-release the corrected Financial Statements to NZX. We have also reviewed our internal processes to establish how the issue arose. It would be our preference that NZX remove the Financial Statements originally posted on NZX.

Finally, we note that NZS management team and its Board of Directors understand the importance of accuracy and integrity in their financial reporting obligations and wish to assure NZX that they take these obligations extremely seriously.

We hope that we have addressed the concerns raised in your letter and if there is any additional information that NZS can provide please do not hesitate to let us know.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Yours faithfully

Julian Daly
General Counsel / Company Secretary
PGG Wrightson Limited


Petrobras (PBR): And now they begin to believe me

On September 7th 2008, Petrobras stood at U$44.44 a share and your humble correspondent wrote this article called "Petrobras: Great for Brazil, not so great for shareholders" that finished up with this conclusion:

"It's at this point the plain, boring, simple fact that Petrobras is a state run company needs emphasizing. Bottom line results are not the be-all-and-end-all of PBR's corporate philosophy. Never have been and never will be. Do you honestly believe that the company will continue to pay enormous dividends to foreign shareholders while at the same time taking out massive debt lines to pay for the capex? If so, you are in for a rude awakening.

"So I'm still neutral on Petrobras stock. I'm reasonably bullish on the company and what it will do for Brazil in the long term future, but because shareholders are not the raison d'etre of PBR there's no reason why you or I should prefer it over CVX, COP, XOM or whatever other big oil strikes your fancy."

Cut to August 31st 2009, a share price 10% lower than a year ago at U$39.64, and the latest news from PBR.

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled a plan to increase state control of the oil industry, proposing regulations to help the country become one of the world’s 10 largest oil-producing nations.

....................

Petrobras common shares tumbled the most in six months as the company said it may sell new stock to help finance its exploration. The plan raised concern among some investors that the government is seeking to increase its stake at the expense of minority shareholders.
Any further questions?

Zero Currency 4


August 31

Trading Post (cuddabin worse edition)

With Shanghai dropping 6.74% last night I was all ready for that BOHICA moment at the bell this morning, but despite the general negativity around things aren't that bad. Pass the Kool-Aid.


Dynasty (DMM.to) up 1.2% at $3.42 and bits of volume, too. Value hunters out and about, with rumbles from down under about the mining regs coming out soon. Ahh, that wonderful word "soon" as applied to South America.

ECU Silver (ECU.to) down 3.1% at $0.475. Hey, I got a great idea. I'll refuse to learn about finances, refuse to learn about reading balance sheets, then buy ECU.to and then shake my fist at the illuminati market manipulators when my stock goes down. I'd feel sorry for these saps if it weren't for their potty mouths.

Riverside Resources (RRI.v) down 8.4% at $0.38 and this is the support zone where the value buy is made in this stock. Volumes traded tend to be low so patience is needed, but there's a trading profit to be made in this one here. Solid company, well managed.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) down 2% at $1.15. I could have chosen about three dozen examples of bellweather stocks showing general market feeling today and decided on FVI.v as the example. Volumes low-ish, small down move, nothing much going on. That's today in jr miners, folks.

Venezuela Parallel Exchange Rate Update

Here we go with the latest in this semi-regular series.

First the main chart, that of the VEF/USD parallel (permuta) exchange rate...

...and as things stand, you need VEF6.49 to buy a dollar on the streets of Caracas today. The recent news has been that Chávez&Co is now studying a new multibanded exchange rate system to take pressure off the official 2.15-to-1 fixed rate. Or put into simple English, as this blog predicted Venezuela is in the process of a currency devaluation. We also predicted that the deval wouldn't happen in the first half of the year, but run the risk of getting Argentines shouting "¿Che, no tenés abuela?"* if we start preening too much.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. The driving force of the weakness in the VEF (as we've explained many a time) isn't inflation. The cause of inflation is the problem, and that's a monetary thing known as M2, which measures the amount of currency in circulation inside the country. Here's how M2 stands right now..

..with the VEF equivalent of U$101.79Bn sloshing round inside Venezuela. This amount of money is up from under U$90Bn (equivalent) at the beginning of April and explains why Venezuela's inflation rate stays stubbornly in the high 20s to 30% range. Put in the most basic terms, if you add 30% more money to a country there are 30% more pieces of folding paper trying to buy the same amount of goods, which means you'll find you're using 30% more of those folding pieces of paper to buy that thing you want to buy. Just good ol' fashioned supply and demand stuff, ask Adam Smith.

However, the Central Bank keeps a store of wealth that backs up the money in circulation. Called International Currency Reserves, it provides backbone to the fiat system. So if we look at the amount of reserves in Venezuela right now....


....we see they've tucked away U$31.45Bn. This means (and the calculation is pretty straightforward), for every single dollar the Central Bank keeps in reserve, there are 6.96VEF circulating in the country. This gives us our theoretical equilibrium point for the VEF/USD exchange rate.

So right now the rate is lower than the theoretical rate by about half a Bolivar Fuerte. This indicates that the financial brains out there in Venezuela expect good things from the government and its plans to tame the permuta. What IKN can say right now is that if the Vz gov't does devalue (or stealth devalue by adding different exchange bands...it's the same thing, really) the parallel rate will drop further as people see arbitrage value in buying dollars at a lower price and selling them higher. However if the Vz Econ team make a SNAFU of plans and the new devaluation system brings no extra flexibility to the exchange rate, the VEF parallel rate will certainly float back up to 7:1 and probably go higher still.

DYODD.

*"Hey, don't you have a grandmother?", an expression that says " grandmothers kiss you and love you, but it seems like you have to love yourself, so presumably you don't have a grandmother to do all that for you"

Ecopetrol (EC): One for short-term traders today

You want the following?

  • Short-term trading set up
  • Technicals that suit
  • Solid company in oil&gas sector


If so, check out Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC) today, as it just broke down through the technically important U$26 barrier, right now trading at U$25.90. DYODD on the rest, dudes.

Chart of the day is....

....Hugo Chávez's presidential approval ratings, monthly in 2009.

There are many surveys done in Venezuela on this subject, but with yesterday's Datanalisis survey results for July published it give us a chance to track one single (and reputedly reliable) survey company's results using the same question and same demographics every time.

We see that in the period January to March, Chávez won support through the constitutional amendment period (when there was no poll taken). No poll taken for April. Then his support dropped back down to what the boss of Datanalisis calls his "traditional support" of between 50% and 54%. This month it's moved back up to 57.3%. The negative views towards Chávez dropped from 41% in June to 38.8% in July. Presumably the other 13.9% are neutral towards him or offered no opinion.

Thus, if media channels were to reflect the true state of opinion in Venezuela, on average 573 out of every thousand news reports or articles should be supportive of Chávez, 388 should criticize him and 139 should take a neutral stance. Anybody note a slight discrepancy with reality there?

8/30/09

Shanghai down 5% tonight...

...and dropping. Weak bank lending is the catalyst, apparently.

Shanghai Composite, three month chart

So the index is down over 20% in August, but don't let it worry you. They told you it's a bull market, remember? When have they ever lied to you?

An interesting read


Here's the link to the 191 page from the CIA Office of Inspector General entitled "Counterterrorism, Detention and Interrogation Activities, September 2001 to October 2003", written in May 2004 with 191 pages ready to read. A real pageturner, guaranteed to keep you enthralled right to the end.

Hey, why not download a copy? It's 17 mega big and so takes a while, but maybe it's one to keep for reading in your own time. H/T Miguel Olivera and his great blog

Uribe's plot to destabilize South America revealed

Uribe takes his Tamiflu by grinding up the pill into a
fine powder and sniffing...old habits die hard
(photo courtesy borev)

We now understand why President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia refused to attend to Ecuador UNASUR meeting but then just a couple of weeks later attended the Bariloche meeting that just ended. Uribe wanted to wait until he had a nasty case of swine flu before meeting, greeting, shaking and baking with all those commie devils that head up the other lands. So as it's now been confirmed that Uribe has AH1N1, expect other regional leaders to be confined to quarters as of this week.

And once they're all tucked up in bed part two of the CIA/Illuminati plot swings into action as Uribe leads multiple attacks using Colombian-based USAF F-16 jets to bomb every single presidential palace in South America, thus allowing the Honduran army to march in and take over the world...errrrr...I think.

Anyway, Uribe got da flu..the first part of the plan is in place.

UPDATE: Colombia Reports has the story in an English language report right here.

The IKN Weekly out now


Subscribers, IKN18 should be with you by now (a little earlier than usual). Any glitch or comment, you know where to find me.

Enjoy Sunday.