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Wikileaks quote fun quiz thingy

Which South American President yesterday said the following about the quality of information relayed to the USA by its ambassadors abroad and revealed by Wikileaks? 

"The poor ambassadors they send here have a very limited capacity and this is why afterwards they end up bombing a country (and) looking for weapons of mass destruction that don't exist."
"They told me there was an atomic bomb in Iraq, (but) it was all rumours. This has cost Mr Tony Blair, who believed the rumours, very dearly."
 Was it:

a) Hugo Chávez
b) Alan García
c) Rafael Correa
d) Lula da Silva
e) Evo Morales
f) Cristina Fernandez
The answer is here, so guess first and click second.

The Friday OT: Robert Earl Keene; Merry Christmas from the Family

The best Christmas song ever.

Kyle over at the now defunct Trend&Value introduced me to this tune and now there can be no other. If you know the song, kick back and enjoy it again (because you know you will). If this is your first time, prepare for a wonderslice of real life Christmas.
Carve the turkey, turn the ball game on.

A media agenda for Venezuela? Surely Not!

Part of the daily routine at IKN Nerve Centre™ is to check on news stories doing the rounds in the region and to help that along, your humble scribe has a Google News widget that separates news stories by country. It's always Spanish language reports, but for some unknown reason this morning the whole Google feature had lapsed into English language (I have no idea why...first time ever).

Anyway, one shrugs one's shoulders and gets on with it. As usual I skimmed across the various country buttons such as Brazil...
Bogota – Brazil and the International Committee of the Red Cross agreed to provide logistical support for the planned release of five Colombian public ...
Fox News View related stories »
...which had the usual mix of bizstuff, a bit of Lula-talk, political bits and bobs etc. And so it continued with Peru....
BY KIMBER SOLANA • • December 24, 2010 About a dozen Salinas High School students will welcome the New Year in Peru by working ...
The Salinas Californian
...and its general, newsworthy infromative mix, then to Colombia....
Bogota – Brazil and the International Committee of the Red Cross agreed to provide logistical support for the planned release of five Colombian public ...
Fox News View related stories »

...and the same kind of thing, even Paraguay...

By PEDRO SERVIN AP ASUNCION, Paraguay -- The Paraguayan government worked closely with the DEA earlier this year to expand its capacity to spy on cell phone ...
Washington Post

...and Bolivia got the same type of journalistic, no-nonsense information-first headlines that keep you up to date with things happening in the country.
(RTTNews) - Latest in a trend of growing Latin American political support for the Palestinian people, Bolivia recognized Palestine as a "free and ...
RTT News View related stories »

But then I clicked on the Venezuela button:
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci Due to the Venezuelan flood emergency that resulted in more than 130000 homeless nationwide, the Parliament gave President Hugo ...
Hudson New York View related stories »

Notice anything different about the coverage, folks? This was all a bit of an eye-opener to me, because I usually get the Google news service piping me Spanish language reports and features which never hold this amount of obvious media bias. For sure they'll cover the polemic issues out of Venezuela, but there's no obsession on Chávez, pseudo-human rights issues and general vitriol towards the country, because Venezuela has all its own business, political and social affairs worthy of report and comment. In Spanish language reports, headlines will tell you what to expect in the report, they don't immediately try to enforce an image that's been built up around a country. 

No wonder you guys get South American affairs so wrong.

A chart of the GDP of Latin American countries

Here, with data from the CIA factbook, are the GDPs of all mainland states of Latin America as measured in 2009 and in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in US Dollars.

This is to remind certain bloggers with more strength in academia than economics that countries such as Uruguay and Costa Rica count their GDPs in the billions, not millions. Let's just hope a Texan doesn't take offence at being labelled an academic ;-)

Chart of the day is....

..crude oil, monthlies.

Because today I read that crude hit a 27 month high. You'll note it'll have to jump $10 or so and get over $100/bbl in order to make that a 28 month high. By the way, I watched Wall Street Money Never Sleeps (aka WallSt2) last night. Apart from a decent acting display by Douglas, not much to recommend. Certainly not a patch on the original.


Lard for laughs

For RickB and all who understand that Mickey Rourke is pop star.

Because it's Christmas week.

Toronto Stock Exchange Christmas opening hours

Just in case you were wondering (and I was), here's the rundown of when the TSX is open over Christmas 2010.

2010 Stock Market Holidays - Stock Markets Closed

  • Christmas Day - December 27, 2010 (in lieu of December 25)
  • Boxing Day - December 28, 2010 (in lieu of December 26)
** Please note that the TSX and the TSX Venture Markets will close at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 24, 2010. The Extended Hours will begin at 1:10 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. on this date.
** On December 31, 2010 regular trading hours will be observed.

Pretty bizarre all told. They open tomorrow Friday 24th for 3 1/2 hours while the US is closed, then shut up shop until Wednesday 29th.

Randgold (GOLD) has a message for the violent gangs of Ivory Coast currently running amok in the country

"Hey guys, this is the exact place where we're producing and storing a whole heap of gold bullion."

 Form an orderly queue right here, gentlemen. AK-47s may come in handy.

And thusly Randgold's IR dep't scores low marks on the common-sense-o-meter. Today's NR here, excerpts below:
"Randgold Resources said today the effect of the continuing political impasse in Côte d'Ivoire on its Tongon mine and a below-target contribution from its Loulo complex would have a negative impact on its fourth quarter performance and its year end results."

"....the company has revised its production guidance for Tongon and stated that assuming the supply chains could be managed and the situation on site remained as it is today, the mine was planning to process approximately 350 000 tonnes of oxide ore at a grade of 3.4g/t to produce approximately 35 000 ounces for the year. Bristow added that given the current situation and the resultant delays, gold sales were expected to differ to production." CONTINUES HERE

Meanwhile, check out WaPo on the post election violence on this link. Over 200 dead now, we hear.

A digital nativity

With thanks to reader 'P' for the headsup, this is witty, cool and nicely festive.

PS: don't miss tomorrow's Friday OT: Best Christmas song ever coming up.

Mickey Fulp, CNBC teevee star

Ace metals dude, standup guy and site friend Mickey Fulp is in the bigtime media swimming lane nowadays, as shown by his appearance later today on CNBC. In fact, there are two lined up and here are the details:

Thurs Dec 23rd 5:00pm EST Live TV CNBC Fast Money with Melissa Lee.

So today The Mercenary Geologist gets a five minute slot on Fast Money. Then next week....

Mon Dec 27th 6:35-6:50pm EST Live TV CNBC: Asia Squawk Box with Martin Soon.

....Mickey gets 15 minutes to shoot the breeze on metals, a slot that will also air on CNBC World. 

So make sure you watch Fulp today and then write in to CNBC to tell them it's nice to have a bit of commonsense about metals on their channel at last. Personally, I just want his autograph......

Colombia Porn Bandwidth Congress Government Shock Horror Scandal

Your humble scribe has decided not to include a picture with this post. Not much  in the way of comment either, as the story speaks for itself. What you get, no more nor less, is a translation of this story today. Enjoy.

Excess of visits to pornographic pages collapses internet in Colombian Congress
In the  last week there have been 5,000 visits to web pages with adult content and 3,000 websites to find partners.

The multiple visits to pornographic pages and partner search pages have made internet access difficult in the Colombian House of Representatives, according to an analysis made by IT systems engineers reported today.

The newspaper 'El Tiempo' says that the revision was done due to complaints from users about the lack of speed of the system. The experts found that in recent days there has been consultations made from computers installed in Congress of more than 5000 pornography pages and 3000 partner search pages.

Directors of the House of Representatives said that from this point onwards internet access would be restricted for those that do not belong to Congress.

"The objective the administration is looking for are simply to cleanse the system and to avoid access to pages that do not bring benefit to work practices, such as porn pages, person-to-person programs, downloading free program, messenger, yahoo messenger and other improductive services not required in the daily legislative work", said the Lower House in a communique.

The administration of the House of Representative cause controversy at the beginning of the month by censuring the use of internet that offered free e-mail and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The measure was called 'absurd' by the House president, Carlos Zuluaga, who rescinded the order.

UPDATE: Reader Hanuman Bismarck comments, your author agrees:
"Directors of the House of Representatives said that from this point onwards internet access would be restricted for those that do not belong to Congress." Gee, THAT's going to solve the problem!

Chart of the day is....

...zinc spot price, five year period.

You want a call for 2011? Ok, here's a call for 2011: Think Zinc. We'll be expanding on this thought in the next few issues of The IKN Weekly, subbers.

A Flash update...

...was sent to subscribers about 15 minutes ago (50 minutes before the opening bell). It's one of those actionable ones too, folks.

DYODD dudettes and dudes.


OT: Some music

Faith No More's 'Evidence'.

Because it's Christmas week

IKN recommends: Fixing The Economists

So last night I got sent a link to a note entitled 'The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange' that only  got clicked on because it was sent by a pal, avoiding as I do most of the Wikileaks stuff'n'nonsense (except those leaks that pass our criteria of 1) LatAm and 2) fun).

But click on the above I did and it turned out to be well worth the trouble, firstly because the excellent and perceptive post from author Phil Pinkington woke up a rusty corner of my brain that had been asleep for about 15 years. Secondly because the whole site, Fixing The Economists, is a well-written, witty and intelligent source of brainfood (e.g. anyone that uses Spinal Tap references while talking about the Irish economic situation is automatically good in my book).
It's not LatAm, it is economics, it's also fully recommended reading. So go see for yourself.

Asset Allocation

Interesting graphics from Reuters today. Link here.

click to enlarge

Mailbag on the Vancouver Cambridge House mining conference, January 2011

IKN Nerve Centre™ gets all sorts of mail and mailers, but 'JM' is one that's always good for raising a laugh. Here's what your humble scribe received from JM yesterday evening (I'm sure he won't mind):

Wow, the Van Cambridge 2011 in January sounds like a who's who of folks that you've heard of.
Thom Calandra. Marin Katusa. James West. Bill Murphy from GATA. Um... then Grandich and Jay Taylor. Um... then Fulp and Cook.
I guess you really can't choose who you share a room with when it comes to the Cdn mining analyst biz, eh? Fulp and Cookie both even get to be on a panel with Louis James.
I almost want to go.... Are these things good fun? Do they let you take video or audio recording gear in? Is it easier to smuggle it in than at a Marilyn Manson show?

Indeed, it'll be interesting to hear Cook and James on the same "Yukon area plays" panel, especially when the subject of the Katusa-fuelled Casey bullshit pump on Bayfield (BYV.v) comes up, the one that made Katusa and his pals hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions on the $1.40 remember that one, dontcha Lobito?

Greystar ( gets a thumbs down (but not THE thumbs down)

Here's Reuters version of the news:

BOGOTA Dec 21 (Reuters) - A Colombian state ombudsman on Tuesday recommended the government consider rejecting a license for Canadian miner Greystar Resources (GSL.TO: Quote) to develop a gold project because of environmental concerns.
The national Inspector General's recommendation is not binding, but the ruling could bolster those who argue the Angostura gold mine project would impact the delicate paramo ecosystems in northeastern Santander province.
"The Inspector General's office has requested the ministry... study the possibility of not authorizing the environmental license for the mining project Angostura," said the ombudsman CONTINUES HERE

Meanwhile, here's the link to the procurator general's press release (Spanish language). What? You're long GSL but need a translation because you can't speak the language? Well in that case Have A Nice Day :-)

PS: Talking of people who don't speak Spanish, I wonder how Nicholas CampbellSoup over at the Can of Corn will feeling about this news out of Colombia? After all, he's the dude that reiterated his spec buy on GSL with a $9 price target.....on November 19th....when the stock was at $5.19....and now it's going under $ have a nice day too, Soupy.

Disclosure: no position in (because I may be slow but I ain't stupid)

Chart of the day is....

...a 2010 comparative of the five most traded stock markets in South America via their headline indices, namely Brazil's Bovespa, Chile's IPSA, Argentina's Merval, Colombia's IGBC and Peru's IGBVL.

With 2010 wrapping up very soon, the writing is on the wall and Peru's market has fared the bext of the lot in 2010. Second place comes Argentina, third is Chile, fourth is Colombia and a long way behind in fifth place and only just scraping a win on the year, is the supposed darling market of them all, Brazil's Bovespa.

So to borrow from that terse instruction often seen in exams; Discuss.


How beer consumption in LatAm MUST BE reported by the English language media

BS Newswires Dec 21, Miami: Peru's National Industries Society (SNI) today reported that beer consumption in Peru has risen from 20 litres per person per year in 2000 to 39 litres pppy in 2010. Country analyst Anne Eejit remarked from New York that the upsurge in beer consumption "was a clear indicator of the vibrant and ongoing growth in the country being enjoyed by all social strata."

BS Newswires Dec 21, Miami: Beer consumption figures are out from Latin America today, with Venezuela topping the brew-guzzling charts as they knock back 100 litres, man woman and child, every year. When consulted on the latest figures, LatAm economy expert Anne Eejit remarked from New York that "the overconsumption of alcohol in Venezuela is a clear indicator of the country's decadence, sense of hopelessness and lapse into industrial inertia we've seen since the quasi-dictator Chávez seized power." 

IKN back: BS Newswires doesn't exist, but the stats do and are from this report in today.

Updating Pachamama (PMA.v) vs Regulus (REG.v)

As we mentioned yesterday, there was a decent arbitrage on display between these two. Here's the updated chart.....
...and it's all but disappeared now, thanks to the move in REG from 70c to 90c in a touch over 24 hours. So we'd like to thank Axemen Resource Capital for giving us lil' retailers the chance some easy money winnings as fruit of their price propping (because it's usually the other way around, ain't it guys....).

UPDATE: REG.v now 93c, market cap at $33.67m, arb now under $2m

UPDATE 2: Ok, to stop the mystery play here's part of a long note about REG.v that appeared in IKN85 last Sunday. Basically, subscribers knew that the 70c and 75c prices offered up yesterday were a bargain and a decent little quicktrade was in the cards.

  • Now for the arbitrage calculation with Pachamama Resources (PMA.v), holder of the other 50% of the Rio Grande project. At Friday’s close for PMA.v of $0.80 and via the 44.3m shares out at the company, PMA’s market cap stands at $35.4m. PMA has a similar amount of cash at bank as the new REG.v (not exact, but close enough), so the two treasuries basically cancel each other out.

  • If we assume REG.v’s 50% of Rio Grande is valued the same as PMA’s 50%, REG.v should trade at a little under $1 next week.

  • This presents a potential opportunity, ladies and gentlemen readers of The IKN Weekly. It’s possible that REG.v sees selling tomrrow morning as people cash in on the new issue and turn paper into cash. We went through this argument with Renaissance  Gold (REN.v) when it was spun out of AuEx Venutes and it didn’t happen and we also went through it when Canplats spun out Camino Resources (COR.v) and it did happen, so if it does tomorrow your author would be interested in adding REG.v at a price that shows a significant discount to that of PMA.v.

  • On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible that REG.v is bid up tomorrow morning, as a price of above $1 (pretty close to ‘fair value’ accoridng to our line through PMA.v) would mean there were less pressure from any large institutional holders of REG.v to dispose (recall that some instos have a “no holdings under $1 rule” and may feel forced to sell if REG.v trades lower).

  • It’s difficult to say which way the wind will blow on the trading tomorrow (e.g. at the table last night, the Antares team had split opinions and could see both sides of the equation) but we should keep an eye on proceedings as there is at least the potential for a bargain.

What about this chart? Would you buy this?

We did on August 1st, then sold it mid September for a 41.5% gain, then bought it back a month later and have ridden it up since then. 
So...would you buy this chart now?

Would you buy this chart?

The IKN Weekly and plenty of its subscribers bought this chart:

Mind you, we did buy it in March and we're now 211% up on the trade in nine months. So would you buy the chart now?

The flushing sound of Nature's Call (NATC.ob)

Reader 'CHM' gave your author the headsup on a new junior exploration stage company so let's start out with the basic info. The new junior mining scam in town is named (one I still can't get over fully) Nature's Call (NATC.ob).

  • It's a scam.
  • Really, I'm not joking, it's an obvious scam. Start by visiting the paid pumper report with all the hallmarks of the scamster mining pump. BigRedLetters? Check. Use of photos of gold bullion and of the US Flag? Check. Outrageous claims for stock price upside knitted into that ever-so-special copywriter's text which Green Laser Reviews explains so well? Check. And the list continues.
  • So just to make sure we're dealing with a scam, the first thing to so is go over to the SEC filings for NATC.ob where we see that as at its last quarter (ended August 31st) NATC had assets of thirty-nine dollars. We then find out on further reading of the 10-Q that NATC got loaned $150,000 at 5% interest rate by a certain Graeme Renton to start this scamball running and secure an option on 70% of the Los Amoles property held by Yale Resources (YLL.v), details of which you can see here
  • The next thing is to note the share price action:

So the pump starts, somebody who just happened to have about nine million shares of NATC hanging around decided it was a great time to sell and not wait for the $3 price that the newsletter pump promised and made off with...let's say..$2.2m in cash from the sales (a rough call, using 9m shares at an average of 25c apiece). which is more than enough to pay for the fees to the guys behind the BS pump:
"...(Cesari Services Limited C/O Hardtman and Associates) for coverage of Nature’s Call. Cesari Services LTD paid two hundred and ten thousand dollars to marketing vendors to pay for all the costs of creating and distributing this report online"

Would it surprise you to find out that Hardtman & Assoc is based in Nevis, The West Indies? Nah, didn't think so. As for the owner of the sold shares, it could have been most anybody on board beforehand, because just before this BS pump started the shares outstanding count was expanded via a stock split from 9.05m to 190.05m

To cut a long story short this one is an awful smelly scam. Avoid like the plague.

Chart of the day is....

...copper monthly candles.

That's a new ATH, folks. ¡Feliz Qhapaq Inti Raymi!


2011: One prediction per country

Today IKN joins the ranks of the hackneyed and jaded commentators and puts together a list of predictions for the new year, but instead of a whole bunch of things we're going to keep it sharp and aim one forecast per country in South America. so in alphabetical order.....

  • Argentina: Cristina is re-elected
  • Bolivia: GDP grows by 4% in 2011, nobody cares.
  • Brazil: The new Dilma government tries and fails to weaken the country's currency, the Real.
  • Chile: Piñera's popularity stays roughly where it is right now, bobbling around 50%.
  • Colombia: Santos comes under pressure from the USA to cool his new-found buddypal relationship with Chávez next door and diplomatically flips Hillary the bird as his reply.
  • Ecuador: Correa moves forward the country's mining industry and gets plenty of pushback from indigenous populations via protests, marches etc.
  • Paraguay: Another record soybean crop in 2011. Nobody will care.
  • Peru: Toledo wins.
  • Uruguay: Another good growth year for Uruguay in 2011 with no big problems in store.
  • Venezuela: The country will come out of recession in 2011 and post strong growth numbers. This will coincide with the precise moment when foreign journalists stop reporting on Venezuela's GDP growth numbers.

Remember to check back at this post in December 2011 and laugh about how stoooopid the author was.

recent buys

Away from the longer-term positions held by The IKN Weekly with their multiple-bagger wins, we've been adding new names to the list in the last three months. In total we've added eight buys to the list since September and here are the dates of purchase and the percentage change since we bought (something we track every single week for every company covered, be the results good or bad). The only things missing here are the names of the stocks...for obvious reasons. The percentages changes are good as at yesterday

stock added % change since buy
22-sep-10 54.5%
26-sep-10 48.3%
03-oct-10 45.3%
13-oct-10 20.5%
13-oct-10 59.1%
07-nov-10 16.0%
21-nov-10 52.4%
05-dec-10 34.7%

Just lucky I guess. DYODD

Good news and bad news for the Argentine economy

The good news is that Standard & Poor's has raised its ratings on eight large companies in Argentina covering many and varied sectors. The companies are Alto Palermo (shopping malls), IRSA (construction), Loma Negra (cement), Petrobras Energía (O&G), Telecom Personal (telephone), Telefónica de Argentina (telephone), Transportadora de Gas del Sur (gas pipeline) and Clisa (construction/infrastructure), with the reason for the upgrades is that (translated) "Argentine companies face a more favourable operative scenario thanks to our forecast of strong economic growth and a positive external backdrop."

The bad news is that nobody gives a toss about what S&P thinks these days after the pig's ear they made of the last few years.

Comparing copper explorers in Argentina

This one for those who are already briefed and know what it means:

DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is.... that examines the essential ingredients of a family Christmas dinner in Peru.

The single most important item on the table come Christmas is panetón, a sweet bread with dried fruits that originates in Italy but is also popular in many places in South America. Then comes the hot chocolate that you drink while you eat your slice of panetón, with third place taken by the turkey, which has been getting more popular in recent years but still doesn't have the same fundamental role as in many northern countries. Data from this article in today's Peru21


The IKN Weekly, out now

kinda predictable, but I still couldn't resist

IKN85 has just been sent to subscribers. Time to party! Left side of the bus, please.

Far more important than kicking a ball around a field

When Andrés Iniesta scored Spain's winning goal in this year's World Cup final against Holland he peeled off his shirt to reveal a message underneath, "Dani Jarque, Always With Us", in homage to his close friend and fellow pro footballer who died of a heart attack aged 26 in 2009.

Jarque was captain of Espanyol, the other team in the city of Barcelona and bitter rival of Barcelona (as city rivalries tend to be, of course). This weekend, Espanyol hosted Barça and got a thorough 5-1 drubbing from the world's greatest club team (at the moment, anyway) but at the end of the match, when Iniesta was substituted, something special happened.

The Espanyol fans, normally without a good word for anything Azulgrana and on the receiving end of five goals from their enemy, remembered Iniesta's gesture to their dead captain and gave him a standing ovation as he left the field. The Espanyol players joined in, too. A moment in sport and life.