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The Church of Casey follow-up

Interesting multi-mail reaction from yesterday's post, with some hearsay that your author would love to pass on but even this humble corner of cyberspace has its limits. But we can share with you this exchange between IKN and a reader.

Reader writes:
Few have made more money predicting the end of the world than Casey (except of course the various religions). I think his first book was in 1980 or so and he and his followers are still here. It may take 100 years for him to be right. 

Interesting cult following but to be honest, I do enjoy some of his speeches and company.  

To which your humble scribe replies:
So a successful glorious leader and parasitic prophet is also

1) intelligent

2) capable of good speech making
3) interesting and charismatic company

Well there's a shocker!

The more I think about it, the more yesterday's Title "Church of Casey" seems to fit what's going on around Duggie and his disciples. And an estancia in Argentina may yet turn out to be the new Promised Land, so call Casey now and get your downpayment arranged. Amen.

UPDATE: Also great to hear from Lucas Trend&Value this evening who mailed in with this:

You can apparently buy his prophetic book _Investing in Crisis_ (1979/1980) for $0.01 used on Amazon. Pretty ironic.
Yup. So much for hyperinflation, Doug....

Happy Birthday!

Your author's eldest turns eight years old today. I thought of putting up a photo of her (again), but on checking the RSS this morning the below was waiting for me Via Ritholtz (and with perfect timing sir, thank you).

Come the time, I'd like to hand it over to her generation's care in better condition than it is now, not in a worse condition. ¡Feliz cumple mi amor!

Five days of metals and miners: Jan 7th

We check out how the metals and the miners have done in the first week of the year via this chart. We've done this one before using the gold ETF (GLD) as the gold proxy, the silver ETF (SLV) as the silver proxy, the miner ETF (GDX) as the digger's proxy and the junior ETF (GDXJ) to cover the more volatile end of the sector, but this time we add the copper miners' ETF (COPX) to throw in an extra layer and check out how the industrial metals miners got on compared to the others.

So overall a good week, with the metals (GLD, SLV) underpinning the sector and giving ok gains in the bigger miners, a good move for the base metallers and very decent rebound gains in the juniors, though they benefited more from the end of tax loss selling than anything else, I'd best-guess.


The Friday OT: Kasabian; Fire

A good call by my brother.

Nice to hear a current era band with decent musicians making original sounds. Watchable video too.

The Church of Casey

Mere hours ago, reader 'JR' wrote in to bring your humble scribe's attention to this link. Now I know that even pointing at these things and laughing is generally a bad idea on the interwebs because these scumbags all use the PT Barnum publicity school rules*, but sorry guys, I can't resist. This ad sees scam-runner Porter Stansberry team up with arch-sophist Doug Casey to produce a puff piece that had me laughing in my chair longtime. Watch the embedded video on that link if you dare, but you only need to read one of the top-quotes to get the hang of it:

"A hundred years from now, should mankind survive that long, Doug Casey may well be remembered as one of the great prophets of our time."

This is life imitating Monty Python's Life Of Brian and I defy you to watch it all without laughing out loud at least once. It's the worst sort of emotionally charged rip-off pump job imaginable, designed and tailored word for word to press the greed/fear glands of the greenhorn sheep Casey preys upon, those people who think there's a shortcut to wild riches just by listening to a couple of self-help CDs, that more-money-than-common segment of society that feels a deep need to be hand-held into financial quackery. And down the line when Casey is richer (off their backs) and they're not, they may wonder just why that get rich quick'n'easy thing didn't work out the way they planned. Then again, they probably won't wonder at all.

* "I don't care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right."

Attention Okke at Bananama Republic

Looks like Martinelli is onto you, my man. A reader just sent me this screenshot (his personal info redacted) he took when trying to access Bananama Republic today and I just got the same

Meanwhile, for the rest of you we can assure that Bananama Republic attacks are directed against corruption in Panama, not your computer.

UPDATE: Problem solved and Okke's on the case, as this tweet notes:
Hackers placed a line of malicious code in one of the files, has been removed and the page should load okay now.

Dead reporters, end 2011 edition

We now have the International Press Institute's figures for the number of reporter deaths in 2011 and it makes for depressing reading. The 103 deaths on its Death Watch for last year is two more than in 2010 and second only to 2009 in the all-time records (110 that year), or in other words killing over a hundred journalists a year is the new normal on our screwed up planet (author shudders at the thought). Here's how those numbers split down into the geographic zones used by the IPI:

Yup, sadly The Americas keeps up its record of being the most dangerous in the world for reporters, with MENA second and Asia third. As for the breakdown in our region of choice at IKN, here's a chart for that dataset too:

We note Mexico at number one and Honduras at number two, then Brazil and weirdly Chile joint third, both with five deaths. Another regional blackspot was Peru with three dead reporters during the year just gone. We also note by deduction that there were no deaths in some larger population countries such as Canada, The USA, Argentina, Ecuador and yes, Venezuela.

Charts of the day are...

...the Canadian Dollar (CAD) versus the US Dollar (USD) monthlies, and copper monthlies:

Your humble scribe was checking out the short-term Loonie/Greenback progress for his own sweet reasons yesterday evening when for some reason or other decided to get a longer view and switched to the monthlies. On doing so the immediately neuron burst was, "Hey dude, you've seen that chart before!"

And we know it's not a perfect fit, but hell's bells it's close enough not to be coincidence. Here's the copper showdown over the same period:

Canada = One big fat metals arbitrage. Molsons served, the end.


Ok, so Gmail's new layout sucks, but there are remedies

 IKN's top tips for a better New Gmail page:
1) Open your Gmail page
2) Hit the "settings" button in the top right of the screen (it's that cogwheel icon thingy)
3) Choose "Compact" display density (the default is "comfortable" and it sucks)
4) Then go back to that settings button and choose the "themes" option
5) Choose "high contrast" option from that screen (the default is "light" and it sucks).
6) Then on the same Themes screen, choose "Soft Gray"

Once Gmail says the changes are done (only takes a second or two) click your inbox link again and you're now looking at a mail inbox page which still isn't as good as it was before, but at least it doesn't totally suck. The end.

Rio Alto Mining (RIO.v)

Your author had an interesting Q&A with Alex Black of Rio Alto (RIO.v) this morning, mostly about the news release today concerning the resource upgrades of both oxide and sulphide at La Arena, but touching on other matters RIO.v too. Plenty to write about so IKN Weekly subscribers can expect a full briefing Sunday.

Oh yeah, we got a new 52wk and all-high time in RIO.v this morning, too. Now, if it'd only stop raining round my way the day would be near perfect...

Peru stock market calling Canada stock market...come in, Canada stock market

Dear Canada,

Your junior mining companies suck.

Lots of love, Peru.

Euro chart

This time it might well be broken.

The interesting bit about today's drop is that gold in dollar terms seems to have broken its direct correlation with Euro in dollar terms, after seeing those moves matched for maybe a month or so. Swiss Franc worthy of your attention because of this, perchance?

dyodd, dude.

Chart of the day is...

...this one, which shows what's about to happen to the prices of travelling on Buenos Aires' very popular 'Subte' underground transit system this week:

Reason? The management of the Subte is getting moved over from the National government (Cristina's people) to the City of Buenos Aires (Mayor Mauricio Macri, right wing dumbass of the highest water and i'm not just saying that cos he's right wing; he's a classic brain drained stuffed suit). So yesterday evening Macri's crew announced the price hike from the previous ARGP$ 1.10 (U$0.255) to ArgP$ 2.50 (U$0.58), effective Friday.

There will be hell to pay.


Canada's 100 best paid executives, a truly fascinating read

This link takes you to the PDF compiled by the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives and here's part of the "top 100" table showing the top 20 best paid execs in Canada in 2011:

And hey wow! Why only have one fatcat when you can have four? Pacific Rubiales ( sure knows how to look after itself. Sadly, they continue to refuse to give their workers a fair wage or decent working conditions but on the other hand what's the point of having uncontrollable greed capitalism if you can't take advantage of it, right Serafino? But there's plenty more in this 21 page report, so us 99% guys should take a good look at it all. 

  • Want to know the tax breaks these guys get and why they're all so keen on picking up large chunks of their remuneration in options? 
  • Want to see how the top salaries stack up against the other ranks (including yours, pawnface reader)? 
  • Want to know where Tye Burt ( (KGC) ranks? Or Charles Jeannes (GG), Peter Marrone ( (AUY), Randall Oliphant (NGD) (, Aaron Regent (ABX) Sean Boyd (AEM)? Plenty of other mining metals executives to choose from on the list, too.

All there for your perusal, kind lector, so peruse away.

News roundup (getting gluteal on you since 2008)

Colombia Reports wins headline of the day with "Transexual beauty queen dies after failed DIY buttock enhancement". Today's irresistible link, so you may as well give in and click it now. 

Gold doing well, juniors less so. I think there's profit taking going on and those taking profits will feel sheepish by the end of the week.

An exception to that is Rio Alto (RIO.v), up 6.5% on double average volumes after last night's production numbers. It still has to break into new hi territory, though.
The wife of Rio Negro's dead governor, who is also his presumed killer, tried to commit suicide.

According to the next batch of school textbooks in Chile, the Pinochet dictatorship won't be called a dictatorship any longer. The Piñera government will instead use "military regime" to descibe its country's past, because Chileans are often total assholes like that.

How's the scam pump North Springs Resources (NSRS.ob) getting on?

Wowsers, they've managed to get it over 50c! I'm impressed.

We're now moving out of the birthing phase and into the "this is becoming an obvious and worthwhile short" phase. Now with a market cap of over $300m, all you need is 1) the lend and 2) the patience because it may go higher. all depending on the scamrunners' internal strategy. But it'll be down at mere pennies eventually, of that there is no doubt.

Attention mining and financial professionals: A top class opportunity awaits

The following mail was sent into IKN Nerve Centre and it's a pleasure to get this message out to a world of eyeballs that might well be interested in a person of this calibre. 

The man in question is a friend (so before you ask it's not me, no way José) he's married with children and a really fine person in general. He's made a good life for himself and as such isn't after the first job available, rather he wants a job that challenges him and is suited to his complete and strong skillset connected with mining, finance and geology.

Here below is the mail. Anyone connected with metals and/or mining and/or financial analysis of mining companies who is looking for a type of "Our Man In South America" should sit up, take notice and read on:

Hi Otto
Know anyone caught out pumping dollars into rocks with no return?
I am a 42 year old professional (B.App.Sc.(Geol.) M.Aus.I.M.M.) looking to use my skills to work as an analyst or manager with good people. So where else but at IKN could I find such splendid company?
My expertise is in underground mining, particularly for gold, in all aspects of planning and operations. With 15 years post graduate geology experience I have been responsible for ore reserve reporting, mine planning, grade control, scheduling, budgeting, and operations management. Additionally, I have won Mines Rescue Competition awards and have worked as a hard rock lead/silver miner; have several licences for operating cranes, trucks, diggers et al, so my experience in mining really is comprehensive.
As a qualified geologist and Competent Person I have demonstrated a strong track record in report writing, liaising daily with the CEO and Directors, as well as leading engineering consultants, suppliers, construction staff and contractors on site. Based in S.America for the past 6 years, I have analysed concessions in Lat Am countries from Paraguay to Suriname and am bilingual in Spanish.
Having staffed booths at PDAC and other such conferences, I am confident standing in front of people breaking down complex information to make it easily understandable.
So what does this broad experience in the mining industry signify?  Crucially, where research and analysis is required, I know how to ask the right questions.  Now, increasingly with the skills shortage in the mining industry, there is an even greater lack of critical mining knowledge in the financial world. This knowledge gap is where I provide the vital missing link, particularly where investment is concerned.
To find out more about how my knowledge and skills in mining can help you turning rocks into dollars contact…..

IKN back. So to get in contact with him, all you need to do is send in a mail to IKN at the normal address..

otto.rock1 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

...and I'll forward your mail to our jobseeker. At this point it's worth mentioning that any mail sent in will be treated with absolute confidentiality and none of my business personally. All I'll do is flip your mail along to my man and then it's up to him to get into contact with you. After that, you guys can fight it out between you.

Don't let this one pass you by, folks! A top class metals and mining guy with experience, qualifications and personality is up for grabs and you could be the one who benefits from his skills.

ps: put something like "ikn job opportunity" or "job hunter mail" or "ikn job post" in your title line, in that way i don't even have to open and read it in order to pass it on.

Today's top story in South America is...

(and we apologize, but those multiple exclamations are necessary this time)

Apparently TheFateOfDemocracyAsWeKnow It rests in the hands of one throat surgeon. Jeez, what a freakin' circus, right up to the long-range photos of people getting out of helicopters. The worst part of it are the self-important Argentine analysts and commentators that actually think the rest of the world cares. Aca tenés un consejo, boludo sudaca farandula de mierda:

have a nice day

UPDATE: For those that care, it's just been announced (09:40am EST) that Cristina is out of surgery, all went well and she's doing fine.

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/oil ratio, two year timespan.

Even your humble scribe, well-documented cynic of all things technical anal ysis, finds this chart very interesting indeed.


Peru reports worst month for gold production since June 2007

The Peru Mining Ministry monthly dataset has just hit the streets and as far as gold goes, November sucked bigtime. Since January 2003 (as far as my records go back, which is far enough under the circumstances) it's the second worst on record, only underdone by June 2007. Here's a chart:

That's 12,089,064 grams of gold (388,716 ozt), which is around 60,000 oz less than the average of the last few months.And below, here's how gross gold revenues stand (we use the average London PM fix for each month).

And watch out folks, because in November gold still averaged U$1739/oz, plenty above the December (and current) number. Dutch disease....mmmm....

Goddam Commie Lefty Bedwetting Latino Tinpot Gubmints....

...they just can't help attacking free market economics and real freedom of choice by continual privatizing of their State run oil industries, can they? Jeesh, those good for nothing yellow-bellied sponging....wait a minute...

This from Peru's bizrag of choice, Gestión, today:
Petroperú to Quote on the Lima Stock Market in April

13:03: The State-run company reported a profit of S/316m (U$117.5m) in 2011, 6% than the year before.

Petroperú, which in April plans to float a minority of its shares in the local bourse, said Tuesday that it had registered a profit equivalent to U$117m in 2011, 6% higher than in 2010. The president of Petroperu, Humberto Campodónico, said that the petroleum company had reported a profit of 316 million Soles last year, compared to S/299m in 2010, without giving any further details of the financial results.

Stock Market IPO
The law tells us that we can place up to 20% [of shares on the open market] and we are in the process of ascertaining, along with an structured broker who is helping us with this process, which is the best way of presenting the float to the Lima Stock Market (BVL) and how many shares we will place", said Campodónico.

He went on to say that 80% of shares of Petroperú will continue to be owned the The State of Peru to guarantee its public nature, although it is also looking to compete on an equal footing with other companies in the sector.

"We hope that this year will be better than last year. Last year the BVL lost 12% or even more (ottonote; real figure 16.7%) therefore it's something we have to evaluate", he stated. He estimated that by April Petroperú will be in conditions to quote on the BVL.

story here

Murders down more than expected in Guatemala

Mike at Central American Politics has the lowdown, the numbers in full and the yearly comparative chart over at his post right here, but the 2011 headline number of 35.74 murders per 100,000 population is a big improvement over the last two years and brings the notoriously high murder rate down to levels last seen in 2005.

We like starting new years with good news. Go gawk at the chart yourself and see the final tallies.

Good trading advice from Ritholtz today

Right here on this link.

Simple, straightforward and smart. Obligatory reading if you care about what happens in the market this week. Here's a short excerpt to whet the tastebuds:

Lots of fund managers come into the new year carrying plenty of cash. They had unceremoniously dumped the losers they were too embarrassed to show on their books at the end of Q4. This sets up the January effect, especially amongst smaller cap names, that can snap back after the December sales.
But it also leaves these managers holding excess cash, which they often feel compelled to put to work right away, so as to not fall behind their benchmark (which carries no cash).

A quick update on the death of Rio Negro Governor, Carlos Soria

I'm really not sure how much I care about this episode but as we left the story hanging in the air on Sunday with a "did he fall or was he pushed" type update (and pretending to be a reporter sometimes isn't out of bounds round here), we fill in the latest news today. 

Basically, Soria's wife is now assumed by the investigation team and the judge in charge of the case to have pulled the trigger in the midst of an argument with him. Apparently they have a "tempestuous" relationship and it wasn't the first time a gun had been brandished while they were shouting at each other, what with Soria being an (ex) gun aficionado and having them dotted round his weekend retreat, including the one that killed him which was always in his bedroom. Soria's wife is currently under heavy sedation and is on suicide-watch, too. When she's in a fit state to testify correctly she'll make her appearance before the judge who will then, presumably, formally charge her with some or other degree of homicide.

All in all, one of those sad human stories. We wish peace on both the passed over and the living.

Regarding the post-Christmas moves in the price of gold

This is, of course, coincidental. Reuters report linked here.

Chart of the day is...

...the traffic registered per year through the Panama Canal, 2000 to 2011:

A man, a plan a canal, Panama was good for decades but by the looks of things they have a capacity issue here and will need to make it wider one of these days. Oh, wait...

By the way, roughly 90% of traffic comes from the demoninated "large vessels". Data from here

Live from Cuba


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN139 has just been sent to subscribers. We'll be back to normal full-scale Sunday service next week though that might turn out to be a bad thing rather than the intended good thing. Anyway, happy days.

Chile: A tale of two Presidents

This is page 54 from this extensive CEP Chile survey of political opinions for the month of December 2011, just published:

Guess who gets to be the next President of Chile?

Thanks to setty for the headsup

The 'Small Silvers' 2011 sweepstakes final score

Here's the chart:

click to enlarge

So hats off and huzzahs to Endeavour Silver ( (EXK), crowned 2011 Small Silver Champion. It might not be my own particular first choice, but there's no knocking success so my sincere congratulations go out to EDR.

Second spot was sneaked at the line by First Majestic ( (AG), as third place finisher Fortuna Silver ( (FSM) faded at the end of the year and was pipped for the place. Not too many tears lost however, as these three were the only ones to 1) make a net profit on the year and 2) beat out SLV, our silver bullion benchmark. Therefore, and did well on the year and all deserve pats on the back.

Then fourth was SLV, which means all below are official failures. Those include, IPT.v and bunched at-or-around the 20% loss level. Then come the big losers, namely MAG Silver ( (MVG), Bear Creek (BCM.v) and the worst of the lot, Golden Minerals ( (AUMN).

Thus ends 2011 and let's looks forward to a healthier 2012 for the sector.

Chart of the day is... that compares the following
1) What Exxon-Mobil (XOM) wanted from the arbitration brought before the ICSID/CIADI international arbitrations court.

2) What Venezuela wanted to pay XOM

3) What ICSID/CIADI ruled yesterday

And yet XOM and the northern business press is spinning this decision as a win for XOM. Go read Setty today for lots more, with specific posts here and here, to find out the truth of the matter. As Setty rightly says, yesterday was a massive win for Venezuela, no split hairs, no bones, no subtleties, no comebacks. Not only that, but it sets legal precedent on the policy of paying book value on nationalizations that Venezuela has always used.

UPDATE: Reader 'JW' writes in to note that Venezuela was willing to pay $1Bn, not the $750m noted on the chart above. That's true JW, so to cut a long story short and get it at least in the ballpark Venezuela was willing to pay $1bn as an out of court settlement, XOM refused that number so Venezuela at court pitched for Book Value of XOM's part of the Cerro Negro project. The court in the end awarded less than Venezuela's out of court offer.

By the way, there's also a moving scale on the XOM demand, which may have been as low as $6.5Bn in the end, but started at $12Bn (according to Setty's post). So "ten times less than the demand" is where we're pitching that chart but whatevs dudes...XOM large fail on this.


Message to IKN Weekly subscribers

As all major stock markets (USA, Canada, the Europeans etc)  are closed tomorrow, as today is Sunday January 1st and as I'd like to take a bit more time on it, this week's edition of The IKN Weekly, IKN139, will be sent out tomorrow, Monday January 2nd.

Ten IKN random 2012 predictions

Well, eleven really because here's the important one: I'll still be happily married and a proud father come December 31st 2012. Now for the periphery stuff on matters mining and/or LatAm.

  • Gold will make it back up to U$1,800/oz during the year. I continue to prefer gold to silver, by the way. No real call to make on Ag.
  • Copper has a weak-ish first quarter and picks up as the year goes on, with $4/lb seen again.
  • Junior mining companies have a much better year than 2011
  • The USA recovers economic momentum as the Presidential vote nears and Obama gets the re-election.
  • Peru's government uses police/army force to quash anti-mining protests and push through projects. The Yanacocha Minas Conga project is approved. Humala ends the year with no more than a 30% approval rating. Peru's mining industry carries on regardless.
  • Chávez wins the Venezuela election and loses weight, too. His win is due to 1) promises to his faithful and 2) the mediocrity of opposition.
  • AMLO wins the Mexico election and upsets PRI ambitions.
  • Brazil's economy has a fairly weak though overall positive GDP growth year, with public sector stimulus and its decent internal economy making the difference.
  • Colombia's mining industry has a good year, with % growth and more investment dollars received. Santos remains popular.
  • Evo Morales has a better year and his approval rating gets back over 50%.

And pretty promise, at the end of the year we'll revisit this post and laugh heartily at the mistakes made. The end.

Argentina, starting its new year with... (post updated)

...the bizarre death of a provincial governor.

To be precise, the death of the Governor of the Province of Rio Negro, Carlos Soria. It's made the briefest of news so far in English language reports, but this breaking story is front page stuff in the Argentina media and the latest is that he died via two gun shots to the face during an argument with his wife in the wee small hours of January 1st 2012. If that's true the original hypothesis of suicide can be thrown out, as rare indeed are suicide victims that shoot themselves twice (early versions of the news had him "shot", which kind of implied just one shot). That'd also discount the "domestic accident" hypothesis that's still doing the rounds, as two shots would be one helluva weird accident. We also hear that his wife has been taken into police custody in the last couple of hours, which adds weight to the argument theory.

UPDATE: Late afternoon and we've just heard from the Rio Negro judiciary (the people running the case) that Soria died from a single shot, not two shots as reported earlier. Present in the room with him at the time was his wife.We don't yet know who pulled the trigger or whether there was an argument in progress at the time. We do know that his wife gave testimony this afternoon to the judge in charge of the case and for the moment, that testimony is being kept under wraps.

In other words, all options are back on the table. Could be an accident, suicide, or homicide. Time will tell.