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8/3/13

Live for 100 years, eat Kuchucho

Many years ago your humble scribe made friends with the owner of a health food store in the Altiplano region of Peru. The conversations were wide ranging (as they tend to be amongst friends) but his job and the body of understanding about the properties of local plants were often there or thereabouts. At one point the local beet-like plant 'maca' had started gaining press for its supposed benefits, including giving greater energy, sexual appetite and fertility to the person who ate it (often as a flour). When maca came up, my friend once replied to the effect of, "Yes, but you wait til they hear about kuchucho" and that memory was jogged this week by reports out of Peru such as this one which have one Vidal Villagómez, head of the Program of Tubers and Edible Roots at Peru's National Agrarian University (La Molina), talking up kuchucho to one and all.

The plant itself is a carrot-like thing which is mainly grown around the Lake Titicaca region (top spot for its cultivation is the Peru town of Ilave, on the banks of the lake). It's been known for hundreds of years locally as the "plant of longevity" and the spiel has always been that people who eat it "stay young and live to 100". It's also known as a libido kickstarter that's more powerful than maca. After his faculties' official-type studies Villagómez said this week that the local Altiplano residents may indeed be onto something, because results show that kuchucho contains a whole bunch of good things including high-quality starches, double the amount of calcium than milk and very high phosphorous content. To which news the locals around the lake will almost certainly shake their heads and wonder why the world needed a scientist to tell them what they knew already. 





8/2/13

The unethical fuckwits at Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal, stealing stories and giving no credit to scoop sources

No need to elaborate, the basic facts will do nicely.

1) Setty hits a scoop here, follows it up here.

2) Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal reporters read Setty's blog posts. Evidence here and here.

3) DJNW runs its own report on the news, giving no credit whatsoever to Setty for his scoop. WSJ paywalled edition here, full story in other place here.

4) DJNW/WSJ, its reporter José de Córdoba, its editors and its fact-check desks, need a lesson in manners. Fuckers.

Lobito mailbag

A whole virtual bagful of mail this morning about Casey Research and Louis Little Wolf Lobito James, so thanks for that but I get the strong feeling that I shouldn't be egged on into this much further, even though the theme seems to be a popular one. Looks like there's a rich vein of comedy to be ploughed here and lots of people who are "rather disgruntled" (let's say, all pretty like after yesterday's foul-mouthed IKN) over the way Doug Casey is running his shop these days, as well as the more specific "personal character descriptions" (let's say, all pretty again after yesterday's foul-mouthed IKN) of Lobito. The best mail of the lot came from reader "D", who has kindly let me reproduce his rant on the blog (and although a regular reader here, he prefers to keep his real name off the record...fair enough). Anyway, here's what D had to say.

...but since the world cottoned on to the fact that he knows fuck all, even his "Action Alerts" are greeted with a great big fat round of apathy. Take for example Louis Lobito Little Wolf's latest buy call to the "elite" Casey flock, dated July 31st (i.e. yesterday) on Kaminak (KAM.v)....

Not that you  give a ... but they used to have a guy named Paul Van Eeden as their writer, and he was good at it. To my thinking anyway also fairly honest. Then they bought in the little wolf and in doing so basically gave the proverbial finger to their subscribers. It really underscored the "we don't really give a fuck about you guys" attitude and "it's about us because we known this is a Ponzi scheme disguised as an investment letter."  Why Casey doesn't put someone of Van Eeden's caliber back in the roaming rock kicker seat is also a tell. Why should he? It's not about identifying an Aurelian Resources at $1.02 before the rest, is it?  It's about front running. He doesn't care about quality of content, he cares about time of content.  And is basically saying "Look, look how stupid you all are.  But hey your special!". Sadly I think there are those with more money to lose than brains that need to be stroked and Casey knows and digs them up at every metals conference. 

For me, D really hit the spot with, "He doesn't care about quality of content, he cares about time of content" and it's why asked him if I could share the rant.

It's August 2nd! It's Hijo de Puta Day!

Golly jeepers, I nearly forgot. August 2nd has seen a new tradition (?) spring up, being as it is the birthday of the now dead Jorge Videla. In South America August 2 is now "Día del Hijo de Puta" (direct translation "son of a whore day", so "son of a bitch day" would be close enough) in which Videla and others are fondly remembered.


I'd personally like to send wishes on this fine day to Alberto Fujimori, ex-President of Peru, for the cherished memory of his forced sterlization program of indigenous Peruvian women. Have a great day, Chino!

IKN Predicts: It'll take about two days for the chattersphere to get to "Look folks, the NSA is doing a good job, let's not...(etc)"

Queues to get on the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu just got a little easier. Here's how the US Travel Alert begins:

August 2, 2013
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.  Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.  This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013.
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling. continues here

And by the way, I'm with George Carlin on this issue:



Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar (USD) index:


A lot of goldbugs' fapping over the drop in the dollar this morning on the back of a relatively soft US jobs number. This weekly chart gives you a little more perspective, dontchathink?

8/1/13

A Thursday OT: Neil Young: Rockin' in the free world

Canada, listen carefully: If you have a person from your country that can do this...



...and can do Harvest Moon as well, that person is nothing short of a national treasure. Look after him, for your own sakes.

Time was that Casey's Lobito would move the market...

...but since the world cottoned on to the fact that he knows fuck all, even his "Action Alerts" are greeted with a great big fat round of apathy. Take for example Louis Lobito Little Wolf's latest buy call to the "elite" Casey flock, dated July 31st (i.e. yesterday) on Kaminak (KAM.v)....


Wow, look at that reaction!

UPDATE: Ok. I shouldn't really react to this kind of thing but I've just been sent the latest proletarian publication from Lobito&Co, precisely the August 2013 edition of International Speculator. The guy's a cunt, simple as that. And full apologies to all people offended by what I consider the single worst word in the English language as well but after the complete stupidities I've just read from his hand, no other description will do. You are seriously suggesting that this apologist for rank amateurism gets paid for publishing such tripe and nonsense? Fuck me, just another chapter of gringo buy anything, innit. Doug Casey is either ashamed of this or making a shitload of cash off his back. 

Exeter Resources (XRC.to) (XRA) pops on volume

You'd never think a bullshit rumour could possibly be going round about Exeter (XRC.to) (XRA), what with its CEO being an ex-sellside analyst at The Can of Corn. Would you?


Anyway, this dog of a stock popped on volume after the open today. More volume in USA. Expect the Canadian regulators to ask XRC to say something, then XRC go "oh, we know of nothing unusual" and then the asshole Canuck regulators do their normal fuck all about it.

Disclosure: No position in this stock for certified dumbasses, but it may turn out to be a short if it pops some more. Oodles of gold in the deposit, virtually impossible to dig it out the ground at a profit. It's worth precisely its cash at bank, which if memory serves is about 60c/share now. I'd laugh like a drain if Hochschild bought it (remember Volcan, anyone?)...and then I'd short HOC.

Chart of the day is...

...Barrick's (ABX) write downs since 2011*:


That's U$15.802 billion (with a B) that once belonged to somebody somewhere but is now mysteriously vanisherated. Blame Igor! After all, here's what the tippy top ABX said about its now resigned COO in 1q12: "Under Igor's leadership, the South America region has consistently demonstrated strong performance in production, cost control, project development and in the corporate social responsibility arena where he has focused on building positive relationships with local communities, through increased engagement and new initiatives to promote sustainable economic development. His background and experience make him an ideal choice for this position."

A company of fuckwits. See above chart for more details. And yes, that says nine point three two seven billion for 1q13, not $8.7Bn. Read the company's sheets for more details.

*setty requires, setty is given

7/31/13

(UPDATED) Is it my imagination, or are the Kinross (K.to) (KGC) quarterly numbers pretty good?

Here's the NR link to start you off, the real info in the quarterlies is already on SEDAR so go pick up your copy. So to business and before I expand on that title line there's some negatives to deal with of course. Top of the shop is the $1.41Bn wrote down at Tasiast, mostly due to the fact that K has decided to defer any construction decision on the expansion (aka "Tye's Folly") until 2015. Then there's the $720m Fruta del Norte write-off, which we knew about already. There are more impairments too, mainly on goodwill due to new lower price assumptions (e.g. U$1,300 for FY14, which is conservative and probably smart at this point) and the whole post-tax total balance hit is $2.29Bn. Then there's the suspension (for me "cancellation" would be a more honest word there) of its 8c-every-half-year dividend. Err, no surprise there, K has more pressing things to do with its cash than give it to shareholders, especially if such a policy eats directly into working cap. GORO, please take note at what serious boards of directors do with suddenly expensive dividend policies.

Anyway, K has put in a kitchen sink quarter and the balance charges have put book value at $5.93/share, which means today's closing share price is at 0.87x BV. And here we get to the point, because it looks reasonably good value all of a sudden (OH MY GOD DID I JUST SAY THAT ABOUT MEGADOG KINROSS?????????)  for a company that's kept operating costs under control, is getting leaner and has a decent gross margin on ounces produced that's going to get better now that the highly profitable Kupol has its expansion coming online. It's taken the balance sheet hit, frozen the divi, deferred Tasiast and is cutting back on some exploration costs too. The result is that it will now be able to collect cash and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the type of gold mining company that shouldn't trade under book in 2013 (and 2014). A lot will depend on what gold does in the near-term, but given a level playing field on the price of the things it sells, K could rally pretty easily from its current low level.


Disclosure: No current position in Kinross, not long or short or anything. Once upon a time I owned a few and did pretty well on the trade, too. I may go back, but no decision yet.

PS: On the other hand, New Gold's (NGD) (NGD.to) quarter absolutely sucked.

UPDATE: After hitting send, your humble scribe went over to Kitco to see how things were and...


...sure enough, the people incapable of looking forwards and obliged to scream as hard as they can are going for it with the Kinross headlines. "Massive", Defers" and "Multi-Billion" dontchaknowz. Hmmm...interesting.

Visual Capitalist does Mexican exploration junior mining companies

There are 28 featured on the free report, click here to get your 2Mb download PDF and find out what the Visual Capitalist guys think of the companies in the space, all ranked under their system with scores and winners and losers and everything.

Gold and the FOMC: Deutsche Bank's call

Right here you have DB's overview from its analysis today and the chart it references:

Overview
Today marks the conclusion of the 2-day FOMC meeting.  We find that the performance of gold in the days after a FOMC meeting has changed markedly over the past year.  Figure 1 reveals that prior to the December 2012 meeting, gold prices tended to trade higher after a Fed meeting while in subsequent meetings the Fed has been unambiguously negative for the gold price.  We believe this reflects the dramatic turn in US real interest rates, which have been moving higher since the end of last year.  Consequently how US real interest rates and the US dollar perform after the FOMC meeting will determine the likely path for the gold price.  Since we expect US yields and the greenback will continue to move higher over the medium term we would view gold price rallies as likely to be temporary.
More promising are prospects for the PGM sector.  Unlike gold, platinum and palladium have been able to attract modest investment inflows.  Figure 2 examines the change in ETF holdings across the precious metals complex since the end of last year.  What stands out is not just how PGM have continued to enjoyed strong investment inflows but how extreme the decline in the silver price has been and which has occurred despite little change in investment flows, at least from an ETF perspective.  Positioning data from the CFTC reveals that silver has succumbed to a significant reduction in speculative length since the end of last year.
Looking ahead, we expect PGMs will remain the most resilient part of the precious metals complex.  The next highlight will be this week’s payrolls report since the US unemployment rate has been inversely correlated with US car sales.  Hence a further improvement in labour market trends will tend to imply additional upside in palladium demand side fundamentals.


The Pope's economic miracle

Your humble scribe is sure you'll be shocked, shocked ah say, by this news relayed to us in English by Gabriel Elizondo of Al Jazz (who runs a must-read Twitter account for anyone interested in LatAm issues): 


For the record, Mônica Bergamo is one of Brazil's leading journalists and works for the bigtime newspaper Folha.

Chart of the day is...

...Peru's Lima Stock Echange (BVL) IGBVL index for the last four years, with a few notes about GDP growth scribbled on top:


A point Iwnatoss makes on occasion is that GDP growth and stock market performance are totally separate animals. He's right, of course.

7/30/13

The brand new Chocquibtown track, here and now

Colombia's finest with their new song, Uh La La and a video out today.



¡Sabroso!

VeneBirtherism: Nicolás Maduro gives the Venezuelan opposition just enough rope... then hangs them

It's typical behaviour amongst press and media, be they English or Spanish language, to portray Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro as a wet-behind-ear, not-up-to-Chávez naive politico who got the big job dropped into his lap and isn't capable of filling the ex-boss's boots. Well ok, fair enough, oppos gotta oppose and all that, but Maduro isn't some green fruit of a politician either and he's shown enough nous to run rings round the dumbass opposition in Venezuela recently, with a big fat win registered today.

The issue is "Venezuelan Birther", a story that started a few weeks ago that was propagated by the right wing opposition to Maduro and stated that the man hadn't been born in Venezuela but was originally from Colombia. And due to that (and the Venezuelan constitution) it would mean that Maduro wasn't eligible to be Prez. In recent days the story has picked up a bit of steam too and has even made it into some English language reports. Admittedly from the dumbass end of the news-o-sphere (Fox, CNN, WashTimes) but covered all the same:


However, all this time, the weeks until today, Maduro has kept totally schtum about it all. Not a comment, not a word, no denials, not a dicky bird*, nothing. This non-reaction unsurprisingly just fuelled the passions of the dumbass Venezuelan right who smelled a fishy smell. Right up until today, when Maduro got the reaction he'd been looking for all along. Head oppo Henrique Capriles (fresh from hanging with far right wing ex-Pinochet politicos in Chile) on his TV show this morning said:

"Nicolás, I ask you, Where were you born? ... Are you lying about your nationality too?".

And then, all of a sudden, Bang! Slam! Whack! Nico Attack! First up irrefutable evidence that the person who started the rumour, an ex-senator in Panama who's had it in for Maduro and Chávez for years, made shit up. The Public Records Office in Colombia, in comments to AP, makes it clear that the "birth certificate" at the centre of the growing scandal is a obvious forgery; the dates are wrong, the number on the paper belongs to somebody else and the person who supposedly emitted the certificate had already been retired for two years before it was signed, making the forgery pretty darned obvious. And right on the heels comes Maduro with his first statement on the birther story just a few minutes ago, saying that the Venezuelan right wing (i.e. Capriles, now with a large plate of huevo splattered all over his cara) had been taken for a ride by a demented ex-senator from Panama.

So if you feel like writing Maduro off as a non-competent President for his political stance and philosophy, then go ahead and state your case. But don't fall for the "he's a amateur politican" schtik because if you do you too might get eaten for public opinion breakfast the way Capriles has been well and truly done over today.

*pun intended


I've been asked for a thought on Osisko Mining (OSK.to) this morning, so...

...here you go:


Why you want this cynical bastard's opinions on obviously failed ideas is beyond me.

Has the Brazilian Real (BRL) been weaker than other regional currencies versus the dollar recently?

Answer: Yes.



Now at 2.27 to the dollar, it wasn't so long ago that the Real was under 1.50 per greenback and serious people were seriously talking about parity. But now things are weaker and that's good news for people thinking World Cup and Olympics, as the country will only cost you an arm instead of an arm and a leg to visit. If you think I'm joking, go ask Al Jazz's expert journalist on Brazil, @elizondogabriel, all about the prices for a hotel or a pizza in Rio or SP.

Chart of the day is...

...two years in the Cardero Group of Companies. We include mothership Cardero (CDY) which is now apparently in such a state that it can't pay its bills, then there are the stablemates Indico (IDI.v), Dorato (DRI.v), International Tower Hill (THM) (ITH.to), Wealth Minerals (WMD.v) (a corporate name that's always struck me as a little ironic, not to mention the weapons of mass destruction feel of the ticker), Abzu (ABS.v) and Balmoral (BAR.v):


Oh Henk...

Anyway, congrats to all those who went for Trevali (TV.to) as their Cardero Group pick, as they're only 50% down on their money. 

7/29/13

Atna (ATN.to), Huldra (HDA.v), Technical Analysis, Crowds, Idiots

In my ongoing attempts to try and understand technical analysis (I'm honestly trying to get it at times, it just that my eyes glaze over really quickly) I always appreciate the posts on the subject by mickeyman over at The World Complex. He's come out with a very good one today, here's an excerpt but there's plenty more to digest, so I strongly urge you to go over and take a better look.
"As in all crowds, there are a number of idiots who influence the price so much that they can temporarily overwhelm the fundamental case, until they either suddenly realize they have made a mistake or run out of money. If the crowd-sourced price is a mean of a population, that value can be exaggerated by a few idiots greatly overestimating (or perhaps underestimating) the real value of a stock or commodity."

He sets a nice puzzle, too. Link here, please use.

NovaCopper (NCQ.to) headsup

This could be interesting. NovaCopper (NCQ.to) (NCQ) is one of the very few Cu junior explorecos that have managed to buck the trend and see share price appreciation this year and maybe, just maybe we get to find out why tomorrow. NR linked here, blurb below and I for one will be tuning in to hear Rick Van Alphabet's dulcet tones. I might even ask a question, for example ask them why the company does that freakin' annoying thing of throwing a capital letter in its corporate title.

NovaCopper To Host Conference Call and Webcast to Present Arctic PEA Results

VANCOUVERJuly 29, 2013 /CNW/ - NovaCopper Inc. (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NCQ) ("NovaCopper" or "the Company") anticipates releasing the results of its preliminary economic assessment for an open pit mining scenario at its Arctic Deposit tomorrow pre-market open.  In anticipation of this release, the Company is scheduling a conference call and webcast on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8:00am (Pacific Time) or 11:00am (Eastern Time) to discuss the PEA results.
Conference Call and Webcast
Call-in details for the conference call and webcast to be held on July 30, 2013 at 8:00am (Pacific Time) or 11:00am (Eastern Time) are:
North American toll-free: 1-866-212-4491
Standard International Dial-in: 1-416-800-1066
Listeners can also access the live webcast of the conference call at
http://pragmatic.adobeconnect.com/arctic-pea/
A replay of this conference call and webcast will be available from Tuesday, July 30 until Friday, August 30 and will be posted on NovaCopper's website at www.novacopper.com.

What Eco Oro Minerals (EOM.to) full of shit again? Hoodathunkit!

From IKN221, out yesterday:

Colombia’s “National Interest” projects: A complete red herring.
Earlier in the week Colombia’s government published (12) an official document list of forty mining projects that it officially considers “in the national interest” and it got plenty of column space in the country, not least because the Eco Oro (ex-Greystar) controversial  ‘Angostura’ gold project in the Páramo high country was included as one of the projects. Along with several non-metallic mining projects (coal, salt etc) here’s the section of the list that covers the metals mining projects deemed worthy of consideration.



In short along with Angostura you have the Cerro Matoso nickel expansion project that’s already had its environmental licence refused, you have Cosigo’s going-absolutely-nowhere project in the South, you have Eike Batista’s AUX (poor Eike doesn’t have the cash to build that one any more) and you have AngloGold Ashanti’s several projects that include La Colosa. Suspicious to say the least, which gets your author scratching beneath the surface of the simple “government source” to find out exactly where it came from. The answer is that the paper is a resolution (i.e. a document that can be emitted without peer review by any government department) dated June 19th and so unimportant that it was only officially passed through the public disclosure system a full month later. It was signed off by the vice-president of oversight, control and mining security, one of the departments of the National Mining Agency (ANA), or if you prefer, an underling to a department head, one of several department heads in the one of the government mining offices. In other words, this whole thing in an exercise in governmental bureaucracy that bears little resemblance to any sort of practical list of projects or companies to move forwards, almost certainly created by a department out of touch with sector reality and that hasn’t bothered to do the slightest by way of interdepartmental investigation to see whether all branches of the executive agree with its findings. This is an example of the officialdom crap that comes from LatAm governments of all shapes and sizes and is 100% ignorable. However, that didn’t stop the bullshit merchants at Eco-Oro (EOM.to) from publishing a NR on the subject (13) and trying to make it out to be some sort of important step, clowns that they are.

Dacha Strategic Metals (DSM.v) today

Being a slow news day like wot it be, your humble scribe decided to have a look at the numbers behind this part of the Dacha Strategic Metals (DSM.v) NR this morning:

"Subsequent to March 31, 2013 , Dacha sold 1,000 kilograms of Dysprosium Fe, 18,000 kilograms of Neodymium Oxide and 3,000 kgs of Terbium Oxide for aggregate proceeds of $2.9 million .  Market conditions at the time of these sales were such that, in each case, these metals investments were sold for materially less than their estimated fair market value as at March 31, 2013 as reflected in Dacha's audited consolidated financial statements."

For several reasons, but mainly because this company had previously been flagged as a purveyor of prime bullshit at this humble corner of cyberspace when under the control of Stan Bharti's F&M mob and it was of vague interest to find out whether its attitude had changed since then. 

It hasn't. Here's a little table compiled from the annuals which shows just how much DSM pretended its rare earths recently sold for $2.9m was worth:


So, DSM decided to sell rare earths that according to its audited annual filings were worth $5.28m...for $2.9m. Buy high sell low, it's the way forward.

Hmmm, perhaps in need of a writedown guys? I mean, that's a 45% haircut on book value we're talking there. You say 34c/share in net assets, I say 18.5c...well not just me, in fact the real world says it too. A round of applause to McGovern, Hurley, Cunningham LLP, the auditors that signed off on these annuals.

7/28/13

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN221 has just been sent to subscribers. Full of the usual tripe and nonsense.


Bolivian street art: Something beautiful for a Sunday

Via twitterpal @karaspita and her pal @e_liana IKN is pleased offer you this, from the town of Cochabamba in Bolivia.


Oh wowsers, that's wonderful.