Week 4

22nd August 2016:

  • The biggest European car producer Volkswagen is facing production delays in a dispute with component suppliers. A week of production delays at the main Wolfsburg plant may cost VW up to €100 million in gross profits.
  • Iran is suggesting it may soon let the market decide the exchange rate of the Iranian rial. The current dual-exchange rate system is hindering the inflow of foreign cash, which is crucial to rebuilding the Iranian economy.
  • Libya’s internationally backed parliament says it has voted “no confidence” in the country’s UN-backed government.
  • The Philippines is not leaving the UN, the foreign minister said Monday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to quit the body after it called for an end to the wave of killings unleashed by his war on drugs.
  • Brazilian police have seized passports, computers, mobile phones and tickets from three Olympic Council of Ireland members.
  • The Russian Ministry for Far East Development will soon prepare and release 30 model business plans to develop and use the 1-hectare land plots that are being offered to citizens for free.
  • The Russian Communications Ministry has prepared a bill that formally defines critical digital infrastructure and allows only Russian companies to own the hardware and databases that control the .ru and .рф domains of the internet.
  • Egypt is ready to create separate security zones in airports for Russian tourists entering and leaving the country, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy confirmed. “This does not concern the country’s sovereignty. We are ready to provide special zones for Russian tourists if their number increases accordingly,” the minister said.
  • Former editor of the Daily Telegraph and now columnist for the Spectator, Charles Moore is being investigated by the police for election fraud, Moore claims he cast his ballot twice in Britain’s EU referendum to expose how poor the voting rules are.
  • Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande for talks on the future of the European Union in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the bloc amid growing calls for a new formation of the European Union.
  • Russian scientists have discovered a new kind of silicon nanoparticle which may pave the way for a revolution in computer chip technology.
  • Egypt plants to finalize the signing of a raft of contracts to build its first nuclear power plant by the end of this year, the nation’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi told newspapers. The 1,000-megawatt power station in northern Egypt’s El Dabaa will be built and serviced by Russia. An intergovernmental deal to this effect was signed last November.
  • Russia’s high-quality food produce is proving to be hit with importers in the Middle East and elsewhere, as the agricultural industry reaps the benefits of sanctions and an increased investment. Following another bumper harvest, Russia’s farmers are seeking even more favourable conditions as the country’s grain production is forecast to outstrip all rivals for a second straight year.
  • There is more concern over the EU-Turkey migration deal, with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim accusing the EU of not holding up its end to the deal, labeling the situation a “one-way road.” Yildirim took aim at Brussels over a series of alleged failures to meet earlier promises made to Turkish authorities.
  • Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the new government in the country is ready to cooperate with Russia against terrorism by allowing Russian access to Yemeni military bases.
  • Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said in an announcement that Germany’s exports to Iran over the period, H1 2016, has seen a rise of 15 percent year-on-year.
  • Iran says its trade surplus exceeded $3.4 billion over a period of four months starting March 21, 2016 in what is seen as the country’s best post-sanctions trade performance. The country’s non-oil exports over that period stood at $16.3 billion – a figure that was higher than the corresponding period last year by 21.11 percent.
  • Syngenta takeover by ChemChina has been given the go-ahead by a US regulator. The $43bn (£33bn) deal is set to be the biggest ever foreign takeover by a Chinese company. Clearance was granted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which checks deals for national security implications.
  • The Bank for International Settlements puts the size of the over-the-counter derivatives market at $493 trillion as of the end of last year. U.S. regulators said firms would eventually need about $315 billion in initial margin to meet the requirements.
  • USMint suspends silver coin sales, amid a surge in demand leading to a chronic shortage.

 

23rd and 24th August 2016:

  • A 6.1-magnitude earthquake, which hit central Italy around 03:36 local time resulted in serious damage and civilian casualties, 38 so far, across the region.
  • Turkey has launched a ground incursion into Syria targeting Islamic State and Kurdish fighters near the town of Jarablus. Ankara says it wants to take the town to stop cross-border attacks.
  • Privacy advocates have been alarmed by calls of French and German interior ministers, who proposed a law that would make it compulsory for digital messenger services to offer unencrypted records of users’ conversations to security services.
  • The Paralympic medals will lose their value after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Russia’s appeal against a blanket ban from the Rio Games.
  • A North Korean submarine has test-launched a ballistic missile in the East China Sea.
  • The largest German chain of retail stores that typically specializes in selling non-prescription medicines, cosmetics, healthcare and household products has added pepper spray to its ordinary product line, citing “growing demand” from customers.
  • The initiative for Russian planes to use Iran’s Hamadan Airbase in their strikes against terrorists in the Syrian city of Aleppo came from Tehran.
  • Police taking part in a large-scale anti-drug operation in the Philippines which started after the president took office are “not butchers,” the police chief has said, adding there is no declared policy to kill drug users and pushers.
  • People with Turkish roots living in Germany should show a “high level of loyalty” toward their adopted country, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. It comes amid tense relations between Berlin and Ankara.
  • Nigeria says the leader of one of the deadliest terror groups in the world, Boko Haram, was fatally wounded in an airstrike carried out by the Nigerian military in its northeastern Borno State.
  • A team of Russian physicists has found a way to tune silicon nanoparticles so they can process optical data at previously unattainable speed.
  • Tehran has told OPEC it will attend talks between the world’s biggest oil producers in Algeria in September. Iran’s reluctance to talk has been one of the main stumbling blocks to a global production cap.
  • Wheat production in Canada grew by 10.5 percent to an almost record 30.5 million tons this year, according to Statistics Canada.
  • Poland is expecting a record apple harvest, but growers are having difficulty selling their produce and even face bankruptcy. Before the trade dispute with the EU, Russia accounted for more than half of Polish apple exports.
  • Orders for British manufacturing exports rose to their highest level in two years in August helped by the Brexit-induced fall in sterling.
  • The price of fruit and vegetables in France has soared by up to 18 percent compared to last year.
  • Russia’s Investigative Committee has started a criminal case against the Ukrainian defense minister and several top military commanders over charges of using banned means of warfare in civilian areas in the conflict in Donbass.
  • Crimea’s deputy PM has told reporters that the republic could sue Ukraine in an international court for damages inflicted by 20 years of disastrous misrule that could be compared to looting.
  • Britain’s supposedly close ally, Israel, armed Argentina as the South American nation was bombing Royal Navy ships and killing UK troops in the vicious 1982 war to reclaim the Falkland Islands.
  • China’s growing foothold in North Sea oil has got experts worried about the rising power’s influence and intentions amid heightened tensions over who owns Britain’s energy production resources.
  • Ecuador has criticized British police for their slow response to a call reporting that an unknown man was trying to break into at its London embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living for four years.
  • The Netherlands hopes for improved bilateral relations with Russia amid declining trade between the two countries. A spokesman pointed out that trade between the countries has declined by a third since 2014. He added that the areas hit worse were the dairy and meat sectors, with agricultural companies in general losing about a fifth of their total export volumes.
  • Russian Deputy Trade Minister Alexander Potapov said that Russia offered India to launch production of Ilyushin Il-114-300 regional airliners at India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities.
  • Western banks may soon lose their dominant positions to their Asian rivals, which have already occupied top positions as the world’s largest financial institutions in terms of assets in global charts.
  • Four of the world’s largest banks, namely UBS, Deutsche Bank, Santander and BNY Mellon, have begun working on a new digital currency with the UK-based brokerage company ICAP. These banks have teamed up to create a new industry standard and are hoping to launch the new digital currency commercially by early 2018.

 

25th August 2016:

  • Slower revenue growth and large spending will expand the US budget deficit to $590 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
  • Left without a fully-functioning government for eight months, Spain has been demonstrating some signs of economic stability despite constant pressure from the European Commission.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss bilateral trade and economic relations with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on August 25.
  • Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has made an iconic purchase in America – a stake in the company that owns New York’s Empire State Building. The $622-million purchase by the Qatar Investment Authority comes as the Doha fund increases its investments in the US.
  • Norway wants to maintain a good relationship with Britain after it leaves the EU but it may take a long time for a new trade agreement to be established.
  • The EU called on Greece on Wednesday to quash what Brussels said were false accusations the Greek statistics agency rigged data to help foreign creditors and warned that the row posed risks to Athens’ current bailout program.
  • US Army Axes Training Materials That Name Petraeus, Clinton as Security Risks.
  • With tensions mounting throughout the Pacific with issues including the South China Sea, the THAAD missile defense system, and US meddling in general, leaders from Asia’s top powers sat down without the Americans in the room to look for paths of peaceful cooperation.
  • Russia is ready to supply part of its surplus electricity in the Far East to Japan and South Korea, Russia’s Minister for the Development of the Far East, Alexander Galushka said.
  • Stability and peace in the Middle East, hit by a jihadists insurgency, cannot be reached without taking into account the stance of Kurds on the issue, the Russian parliament’s Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak said.
  • No decision was made on Wednesday as to whether there will be an injunction on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as hundreds gathered in protest outside a Washington DC courtroom and in North Dakota.
  • The Chinese military base in Djibouti is set to complete by next year, China has repeatedly expressed that it has no intention of following the US’s example in expanding its global military influence and projecting power over other countries.
  • Employees of Parana Technological University in Brazil designed a vehicle prototype that can cover a distance of more than 300 kilometres with just one litre of ethanol.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Bangladesh and India next week for talks in New Delhi to expand bilateral strategic and commercial ties.

26th August 2016:

  • Turkish military have targeted US-backed Kurdish YPG militia with artillery fire south of the Syrian border town of Jarablus. The units allegedly refused to withdraw from the area despite warnings.
    • Note despite media reports that Turkey was seemingly forming an alliance with the US they have been targeting US backed militia. However clearly this is not the answer to the ongoing crisis in Syria.
  • The German chancellor’s “we can do it” approach to refugee crisis is “irresponsible” as it lures more migrants to Europe instead of capping their number, Austria’s defence minister, Hans Peter Doskozil, said calling on European leaders to promptly convene a “summit on deportation.”
    • The refugee crisis has now reached the stage where it is engulfing the political rhetoric between nations. Furthermore Merkel is increasingly becoming isolated within Europe and seemingly also within her nation.
  • Czech police had to use the threat of gunfire to halt a man in a black 4×4 Mercedes who was attempting to join German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s motorcade during her visit to the Czech capital.
    • Questions remain to be answered as to precisely what this driver’s intentions were in joining this motorcade. However it would appear that Merkel was the target and given he was armed his intention was to kill her. Perhaps he was the lone wolf but plausibly was he acting at the behest of someone else. We can speculate who might be involved but if so the more immediate question is why?
  • Two Okinawa newspapers have accused the Japanese riot police of using force to remove their journalists from a protest against the construction of US military helipads in the area last week.
    • The Abe government still seeks to quell any anti-US sentiment but their rotation towards Russia and China is ongoing as they seek to free themselves from the iron grip of Washington who has been in control since the end of WW2.
  • In a major development in Colombia, the country’s government has reached a historic peace deal with the ‘People’s Army’ known as FARC.
    • After a 50 year CIA funded war this is a clear example of Langley’s ever decreasing influence on the world stage.
  • Documents containing detailed descriptions of key features of India’s naval submarines were stolen from the French contractor that built them and not leaked as had been suggested, a French government source said.
    • Speculation will be rife as to who was responsible for this theft but it should be noted that once again France are caught in another scandal. Russia and China would be the obvious nations but do not rule out someone within the NATO alliance.
  • A device developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) may have been responsible for a barely-conscious patient recovering from a coma and becoming fully able to comprehend language just three days after being the first subject of a novel brain treatment.
    • We are going to increasingly see alternative treatments such as this come to the fore as the world transitions away from Big Pharma towards a more holistic approach to medicine.
  • German MPs are reportedly considering withdrawing six Tornado aircraft from Turkey’s Incirlik airbase if Ankara continues to deny them access to the German troops deployed there.
    • The relationship between Turkey, NATO and the EU grows ever more precarious, none more so than with Germany. Incirlik has become the focal point for what is now seen as the catalyst for the breakup of NATO. Germany continues to behave as a vassal state of Washington but privately continues to rotate East.
  • European Union’s energy chief Maros Sefcovic plans to visit Russia and Ukraine next month to explore the interest in trilateral energy supply talks ahead of the winter, according to the European Commission.
    • Another attempt to normalise relations in Ukraine as the US leaves with their tail between their legs.
  • The US Treasury Department has warned about possible retaliation if the European Commission pursues American companies like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks over tax avoidance.
    • Another pathetic example of US policy towards anyone or anything who defies their will. It is time that the Western world collectively stands up to their bullying tactics.
  • The European Commission and Portugal have agreed to inject up to €5 billion into the country’s biggest and ailing bank Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD)
    • Notice how we continue to see bank bailouts and not the much vaunted bail-ins. Expect to see more examples of this as the systemic economic crisis takes grip across Europe.
  • Automobile manufacturing in Britain has reached a twelve-year high exceeding one million vehicles rolling off production lines in the first seven months of the year.
    • Global demand for UK cars continues to grow despite the obviously misplaced concerns which came out post Brexit which suggested this industry would be deeply damaged as a result of this vote.
  • Russian truck manufacturer KAMAZ is to partner Daimler AG in the construction of a plant to assemble Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles in Russia.
    • Another example of ever growing ties between Russia and Germany.
  • US Vice President Joe Biden says Washington regards Russia’s Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline as a “bad deal” for Europe
    • This is an acid test of relations between Germany and Russia. The pipeline would provide an additional direct route for Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea bypassing Ukraine. The anti-Russian rhetoric coming out of the US is largely now ignored as it has become a political embarrassment. Biden perhaps conveniently forgets to mention that his son, Hunter, is on the board of the Ukrainian private oil and gas company Burisma.
  • China and the US are still in frequent discussion about a bilateral trade pact, despite ongoing political and economic challenges Last year, the US trade deficit with China was $336.2 billion.
    • The US continues to shoot itself in the foot by imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese goods and has also brought charges against China at the World Trade Organization in relation to such matters.

27th August 2016:

  • The thousands of migrants that flooded into Germany thanks to Chancellor Merkel’s open-door policy should be sent back home within the next three years, Bavaria’s Finance Minister, Marcus Söder, said.
    • Once again we see Bavaria at loggerheads with Berlin and Merkel. The divisions within Germany are becoming more apparent. Ongoing talks between Germany and Russia, without the presence of Merkel.
  • In a breakthrough move, Russian scientists have become the first ever to successfully test a pulse-detonation rocket engine (PDRE) on clean fuel, claiming this will be the future of space travel.
    • Russia continues to demonstrate its technological prowess, this time in relation ro the future of space travel.
  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has once again called on the European Union to put an end to the sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, saying they have proved ineffective.
    • Nations are increasingly realising that not only are sanctions ineffective but they are deeply damaging towards their own countries.
  • The drive to create a joint European army appears to be gaining momentum with the Czech Republic and Hungary both speaking out in favour of deeper defence ties within Europe
    • European military integration is a clear indication of a desire to break away from NATO, something which will deeply anger Washington.
  • US sanctions are threatening to derail Russian energy major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 49 percent stake in India’s Essar Oil.
    • We shall see what the outcome is with regards to this acquisition. What is clear though is nations are growing intolerant of the sanctions which the US themselves choose to by-pass when it suits them.
  • Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) has posted a loss of $52 billion for April to June, following the tumbling Tokyo stock market and the rise in the Yen.
    • One should also look at the role the Bank of Japan (BoJ) played via the expansion of QE to include equities using the GPIF as a conduit.
  • Russia’s international reserves grew to $398.2 billion in the week through August 19, the Central Bank, its highest level since December 20, 2014.
    • The strengthening oil price has contributed, as has an improvement in the Russian economy as they continue to find innovative ways around the US led sanctions.
  • Iran and South Korea are to start trading in euros, legally circumventing US sanctions on dollar transactions with Tehran.
    • Not only are nations finding ways to bypass US sanctions, but they are also de-dollarising in the process. Washington continues to play hardball tactics which are deeply damaging to themselves.
  • The Russian Government has approved an initiative to create a register of former officials who have lost their posts due to “loss of trust” in order to prevent them from re-entering state service.
    • Russia continues to adopt a tough line on corruption, but admits there is still much work to do.
  • Venezuela has signed an agreement with foreign partners worth over $5.5 billion on investment in mining projects in the south of the country,
    • Venezuela has been in a state of an economic emergency since January, with product shortages having become widespread in the country. The need for inward investment continues with both Canadian and Chinese companies, the latest, to sign deals.
  • Italian lawmaker Stefano Valdegamberi has said that a delegation of lawmakers from northern Italian councils would visit Crimea in the autumn in a bid to promote closer ties between cities in Italy and the peninsula.
    • Another example of the desire to build bridges with Russia and in this case Crimea. In June, a French delegation visited Crimea in a similar manner.
  • European equities posted a record 29 straight weeks of outflows with a drawdown of $2.0 billion, according to EPFR Global data. Conversely investors bought $6.6 billion worth of bonds, marking the 19th week out of the past 21 weeks of inflows, the data showed.
    • This is a major contributory factor was to why bond yields are falling. However given the outflows in European equities, it is clear that the ECB is propping up the markets, given their upward trajectory in recent months.
  • Researchers at Utah State University have been able to convert carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion into usable fuels. Phototropic bacterium, which respond to light stimuli, known as Rhodopseudomonas palustris act as a catalyst to generate methane from CO
    • Will this ever see the light of day commercially? What is the future demand for methane likely to be?
  • Russia and the US failed to reach a comprehensive agreement on stepping up military cooperation and a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria after nearly 10 hours of talks in Geneva on Friday, 26 August.
    • This was an inevitability given the US wants regime change in Syria and Russia wants to end the civil war, caused by Western backed terrorists groups such as ISIS, and restore peace in the region.

28th August 2016:

  • Theresa May will not hold a parliamentary vote on Brexit before opening negotiations to formally trigger Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
    • Contrary to media speculation, it would appear that the UK PM will not impede the process for withdrawal from the European Union.
  • The plight of the white working class in modern Britain is a “difficult truth” and is as much of an injustice as discrimination against ethnic minorities, Theresa May has suggested.
    • This is an acid test of whether May will prove to be the PM to lead the UK into the new paradigm or whether this is mere lip service.
  • The Russian Defence Ministry has announced that 120 militants have voluntarily left the Damascus suburb of Darayya with their families.
    • It is good to see that issues can be dealt with in Syria that do not involve further and unnecessary bloodshed.
  • A video has emerged online showing alleged smugglers throwing felled trees and large branches directly at the windscreens of vehicles en-route to Britain, near the migrant camp in Calais, France.
    • There is no doubt that the situation in Calais is now completely out of hand. The question remains is when will France and other European nations decide to deal with the real issues associated with migration, rather than the divide and conquer agenda that infests so much of the mainstream media.
  • Turkey should refrain from trying to interfere in the Netherland’s internal affairs, Holland’s Foreign Minister said in response to a controversial letter sent by the Turkish consul to Dutch mayors instructing them on how to control anti-Ankara sentiment.
    • It is good to see Holland taking this stance and show how much political interference goes on behind the scenes.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s potential run for a fourth chancellor’s term is opposed by 50 percent of German voters, according to a recent survey.
    • Merkel’s unpopularity grows to reflect the mood of the people as well as commerce and lawmakers who realise that she is merely a Washington pawn who serves their agenda and not the needs of her own nation.
  • Chinese authorities on Sunday launched a freight train route from country’s southern city of Guangzhou to Russia’s central Kaluga Region, to travel some 7,150 miles to reach the logistics centre in the Vorsino industrial park located near Kaluga.
    • The New Silk Road continues to grow to reflect the ambitions of Russia and China in being the pioneers of a new world.
  • Two years after oil prices tumbled and Western sanctions against Russia were imposed the Russian economy is once again attractive to investors, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The Russian Central Bank decided to float the ruble exchange rate and then sharply increased interest rates to prevent capital flight and curb inflation. This proved to be a success move for the Russian economy.
    • Despite alternative media speculation the Russian Central Bank is very much aligned with Putin’s vision as reflected in the economic measures they have implemented to stabilise and grow the Russian economy.
  • Russia’s Krasnye Barrikady Shipyard signed a deal with Iran’s Tasdid Offshore Development Company worth $1 billion to build offshore drilling rigs to be used in the oil and gas exploration project in the Persian Gulf.
    • Further signs of Russian Iranian cooperation. These are clear signals of the multipolar world whereby nations can both benefit from mutual cooperation.
  • The US economy expanded slower than initially estimated in Q2 as a decline in business inventories turned out to be a more significant downside factor to business activity and broader growth.
    • Economic reality is biting hard and you can be sure these figures are heavily manipulated. This is another reason why Interest Rate hikes are an illusion.
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) earned $404 billion in oil export revenue in 2015, down from $753 billion in the previous year, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.
    • Oil prices falls are hurting the entire sector, but particularly the banks who seek to manipulate the price to prevent defaults and derivative implosion. Meanwhile the likes of Iran sell oil at significantly below the price of Crude.
  • The modernization of Russia’s missile approach warning system is in full swing, including state tests of the advanced A-235 Nudol anti-ballistic missile system and the deployment of the warning system’s radio electronic components.
    • Russian technology continues to outstrip its competitors. However you can be sure that whatever advancements it makes public, they are several iterations behind where they truly are in terms of their actual capability.

 

29th and 30th August 2016:

  • There will be no deal this year between the EU and the US on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), French President Francois Hollande has said.
    • Unsurprisingly more delays to a trade deal which is dead in the water.
  • German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday said the US had effectively ended talks on a free trade deal with the EU because Washington had not wanted to compromise with its European counterparts.
    • Germany is increasing becoming sick and tired of Washington and the war of words is heating up. The rotation east is now becoming a public one, although as ever the lack of context leaves many people in the dark.
  • Russia has condemned jihadists’ attempt to disrupt a vital UN humanitarian aid mission in Aleppo and urged western “sponsors” of armed extremist groups to exert influence over the responsible opposition militants on the ground.
    • Another clear example of where the US clearly is supportive of any group who has the capability to undermine Assad.
  • A recent combat picture, supposedly taken in Ukraine’s war-ravaged east by a Ministry of Defence adviser, who was recently dismissed from his duties, has been unveiled as “fake” following a public outcry.
    • It would appear even the Ukrainian’s are beginning to get tired of the endless propaganda aimed at the people of both Donbass and Russia itself.
  • Ukraine is facing pressure to come clean on its secret detention centres after it was revealed that 12 men and one woman have been set free from a clandestine facility run by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Kharkov.
    • The sinister undertones which haunts Ukraine are finally coming to the fore, e.g. I have heard that harvesting of human organs is commonplace there.
  • The Turkish authorities will allow German lawmakers to visit Incirlik airbase only if they openly reject the results of the parliamentary resolution that recognized the 1915 massacre of Armenians as “genocide,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has said.
    • Turkey are deliberately playing hardball with both the US and Germany, over Incirlik. To request that the German government renounce the results of the resolution over the 1915 Armenian massacre is political brinkmanship at its worst.
  • The US says clashes between Turkish forces and opposition groups in northern Syria are “unacceptable.” Washington is concerned this will take the focus away from fighting Islamic State and give the terrorist group the possibility to capture more territory.
    • One suspects the exact opposite. The US have repeatedly done next to nothing to quell the threat of ISIS. Their goal remains regime change in Syria, although that is no longer a realistic goal, thanks in the main to Russian and now Iranian and Chinese intervention.
  • Iran has deployed a Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system at its Fordow uranium enrichment facility, the country’s state media have reported.
    • Russian and Iranian military cooperation is growing rapidly as well as economic and political ties.
  • The European Commission concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. The US Company has been ordered to pay up to €13 billion to cover the unpaid tax.
    • The Irish government has strongly condemned this move by the EC, primarily because it is damaging to its future relations with US corporations. However the bigger issue here is that it is clear that the EU and US are at loggerheads now with the US making veiled threats at taxing such corporations. Expect to see more of these moves as increasingly the EU looks to sever ties with Washington which it now realises has used Europe for its own ends.
  • Weak corporate earnings, a banking crisis, and the Brexit vote are forcing banks to prepare for the worst case scenario in the second half of the year. According to CNBC quoting a major lender, banks are “preparing for an economic nuclear winter situation.”
    • The reality is that the banks are looking for any excuse to justify their own crass ineptitude during the financial crisis which has never gone away since 2008. They are all teetering on the edge of serious liquidity and tier one capital requirement deficiencies when facing a serious financial shock.
  • Riyadh’s foreign reserves dropped to $555 billion, down $6 billion in July, as low oil prices continue to eat up the country’s assets abroad.
    • Saudi Arabia is in huge financial trouble and resorting to draining its foreign reserves to pay for its liabilities. There is every chance that they will have to resort to taxation to bridge even larger gaps. There are also suggestions that they are privately dumping treasuries in keeping with other nations such as China.
  • Hit by the sharp decline in oil prices the Canadian economy is struggling with a property market approaching the peak of a massive bubble.
    • The ensuing housing bubble is prevalent across most Western nations as inexplicably they regard a strong house marketing as an indication of economic strength and stability.
  • In an effort to wean itself off foreign suppliers, Beijing has launched the country’s first aircraft engine manufacturer for the domestic market.
    • China is diversifying its economic and this is yet another example.
  • The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland agreed on Sunday there should be greater international efforts to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.
    • Now that the US has all but left Ukraine, nations are beginning to face the stark reality that confronts Ukraine nationalists and those who seek to attain independence in the Donbass region.
  • The Czech Republic will not accept refugees under the EU-Turkey migrant deal till the end of 2016 due to very thorough security control measures, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said.
    • Nations across Europe are now openly defiant of Washington policy on immigration.
  • Russia’s Security Council could transform the country’s digital landscape in order to create a secure communications network for state employees. Under proposals by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Russia would create a new, independent Internet backbone, physically separate from the country’s pre-existing Internet and public telecommunications systems.
    • Russia is tightening up its internal security to ensure that hacking is kept to an absolute minimum. They are acutely aware of US reprisals given they consider Russia to be behind NSA disclosures.
  • The US may soon curtail the use of privately-owned immigration detention centres as the Department of Homeland Security’s head has ordered closer scrutiny. The move would reflect the Justice Department’s step to phase out private prisons.
    • Interesting to see that the US is looking to re-nationalise detention centres and prisons. Safety concerns have been cited as well as the need for independent checks to be stepped up to ensure inmates are treated humanely
  • China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) reported a 21.6-percent drop in net profit for the first half of 2016 on Sunday mainly due to persistently weak oil prices.
    • The fall in oil prices is hitting all nations pretty hard, except Iran and to some extent Russia.

31st August and 1st September:

  • The ministry said, Canadian Foreign Minster Stephane Dion will meet with Vietnam and Cambodia to discuss and support security, dialogue, trade and climate action efforts. Canada wishes to develop bilateral relations with these two emerging economies and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
    • Pay close attention to Canada as it starts to develop stronger ties, starting in the Far East.
  • Pakistani farmers are willing to increase fivefold, up to 1 million metric tons per year, the volume of their food exports to Russia, Zahid Khan, the CEO of the Russian Business Council for Cooperation with Pakistan.
    • Expect to see a direct rail route built to Moscow. Currently produce has to be transported via St. Petersburg which is clearly problematic given it increases transportation times significantly.
  • Rosneft head Igor Sechin said South Korea’s Hyundai and Rosneft would sign a designing and engineering supervision contract at the Eastern Economic Forum to build the world’s first tankers burning natural-gas-based motor fuel at the shipyard.
    • Increasingly we are seeing Russia undertaking these technological based ventures with other nations. We need to pay attention closely to such future developments.
  • India plans on purchasing the Kalibr cruise missiles from Russia, according to Izvestia newspaper, quoting a diplomatic source. It is a significant step in boosting Indian-Russian cooperation.
    • Whilst India still courts the US to some extent, Russia remains India’s principle trading partner, militarily and technologically. However expect to see further developments in science and ecology.
  • The Russian Direct Investment Fund will participate in talks on the bilateral funding of projects with Japan and South Korea on the periphery of the Eastern Economic Forum due to start in Russia tomorrow.
    • Further evidence of Russia’s ever growing sphere of influence in the Far East. Japan is of particular interest as it is one of the key swing nations having been a cabal vassal nation since WW2.
  • Beijing is revising its economic strategy to cut the dependency on cheap labour and foreign investment to build factories in China. The new model is focussing on the domestic market and its growth potential.
    • What most Western commentators fail to understand is that the much vaunted slowdown in the Chinese economy was a result of diversifying a proportion of its export market to stimulating demand in the domestic market.
  • The success of the first “green bonds” issued by the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in China is an endorsement of these tax-exempt bonds issued for the development of environmentally friendly projects.
    • Expect to see a significant increase in these types of financial instruments coming out of China.
  • Russia and Turkey have set up a multi-billion dollar sovereign investment fund to create a mechanism for joint investment in infrastructure development, agriculture and medicine projects.
    • One of the many new initiatives between Russia and Turkey after the failed coup attempt, backed by the US.
  • The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) expects to meet potential partners interested in investing in Russia’s Far East, as well as finding attractive projects at the 2016 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
    • Russia is currently looking at huge investments for a major development of its Far East regions. This included offering free land to foreigners who are prepared to live there for a period of five years and develop it accordingly.
  • The Russian Railways state-owned company plans to construct a high-speed railway line worth some 1 trillion rubles ($20 billion) between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan.
    • The NDB is likely to invest in the Russian Railways’ proposal to build the first high-speed railway line between these cities. We are going to see many more of these initiatives as part of the New Silk Road initiative which includes national and regional developments such as this proposed rail link.
  • The NDB and the Russian government are in talks on issuing ruble-based bonds in the Russian market, the bank’s vice president, Zhu Xian said.
    • Confidence is returning into the Russian economy, not only within the BRICS alliance but also in the West. Prudent economic measures undertaken by the Russian Central Bank have borne fruit.
  • President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Jin Liqun welcomed the Canadian decision to apply for membership of the bank.
    • Canada is beginning to look to develop economic and political ties with the Far East in particular. Eventually it will also do so with Russia but that is some way off at this time.
  • Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co will purchase 5% of the shares of Russia’s RusHydro hydroelectricity company for 21.7 billion rubles ($332 million).
    • Another example of the subtle but profound moves that Japan is now making.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will lead to tougher competition in the market place prompting manufacturers in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to produce cheaper and better goods.
    • It was clear that the EEU would not take this proposed TPP trade deal lying down. However despite the fact that deal was signed nearly 12 months ago, nations have yet to ratify it.

 

2nd, 3rd and 4th September 2016:

  • The joint share of the BRICS emerging economies in the International Monetary Fund’s capital has almost reached 15 percent, Putin said Sunday at an informal meeting of BRICS leaders at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.
  • Russia and Turkey have moved closer to the conclusion of an agreement on a free trade area (FTA) after a recent meeting between Erdogan and Putin.
  • China’s President Xi Jinping hopes the G20 summit in Hangzhou will create a new economic growth momentum. “I hope this summit will provide solutions that address reasons and causes of the economic problems and help to achieve sustainable and balanced inclusive global growth,” Xi said.
  • A project to connect the energy grids of Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and Mongolia was discussed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
  • Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract to construct a crossing of the Power of Siberia pipeline under the river of Amur.
  • Russia plays an important role in the promotion of global economy’s stable development, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday.
  • At a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Xi said: “Russia plays an important role in the promotion of healthy and stable development of global economy. I am sure that your participation in the G20 summit will contribute to achieving positive results of this forum.”
  • China and India plan to contribute more significantly to the expansion of the world growth, China’s President Xi Jinping said Sunday. Xi held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
  • Russia and China have many things to do to optimize bilateral turnover, but the two states are “on the right track,” Putin said.
  • Erdogan said that he intended to discuss at a meeting, during the G20 summit, with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin the development of bilateral cooperation in the energy sector.
  • Kevin Rudd, the ex-Australian Prime Minister, said that he had been impressed by President Putin’s effort to develop the Russian Far East. ”Having listened to his development proposals I realized it was a reasonable plan that provided for tax benefits, business facilitation, better visa arrangements. To me it sounds like the [Russian] government is quite serious about developing the region. I was quite impressed by the depth of what is being proposed.”
  • Gazprom and its European partners are working together to overcome difficulties with the realization of the Nord Stream-2 project. The new gas pipeline is highly important for the European market since the consumption of Russian gas is increasing in Europe.
  • Russia and South Korea signed an agreement on maritime search and rescue, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ministries of industry and trade, after the talks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye.
  • Moscow has agreed with Japanese state-owned banks on special lending terms allowing them to finance Russian projects without participation of private banks.
  • Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft jointly with South Korean Hyundai Heavy company expects to start production of tankers running on natural gas motor fuel by 2020.
  • The Algerian energy minister will visit Russia on September 8-9 where he will meet his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak.
  • Russia may expect the highest ever domestic crop in the current agricultural year, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. This year, the Agriculture Ministry expects the grain harvest in Russia at the level of at least 110 million tonnes, or 113-116 million tonnes under good weather conditions.
  • The number of Japanese companies working in Russia’s priority development areas, as well as in the medicine and fishery sectors will increase, the head of the ROTOBO, a representative of the Japan Association for Trade with Russia and the Newly Independent States said.
  • Canada strives to strengthen commercial ties with China, focusing on opportunities for small and medium-sized Canadian enterprises, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said following an official visit to Shanghai.
  • Banca Intesa, a subsidiary bank of the Italian Intesa Sanpaolo, one of the top banking groups in Europe, is interested in financing projects in the agricultural sector of Russia’s Far East, as well as projects in other spheres, said their chairman, Antonio Fallico.
  • The Russian president said Moscow hoped the Turkish Stream pipeline project would be eventually implemented.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Turkish Stream project would be implemented. “I believe that we will eventually complete it, at least the first part, which expands transport capacities and increases supplies to Turkey’s domestic market.”
  • Commercial banks from Russia and Iran have agreed to pay for bilateral supplies of products in national currencies, the Central Bank of Russia said.
  • The Netherlands is confident that the country’s relations with Brazil will continue to develop in a positive way following the impeachment of the country’s former President Dilma Rousseff, a spokesman for the Dutch foreign trade minister said.
  • Russia does not want the Eurozone to fall as the country keeps significant reserves in euros, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Yes, I hope so, because we, first and foremost, believe in the fundamentals of European economy.”
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the support of the Russian aviation helped Syria maintain statehood, as well as dealt a blow to terrorists in the war-torn country.
  • Syrian Army troops along with militias have completely liberated the territory of the Air Force school and logistics support college in the south of Aleppo.
  • Russia estimates its efforts on economy recovery as modest, however, the situation has stabilized, the reserves have maintained, the capital outflow decreased by 5 times in comparison to the last year. The budget deficit stands at 2.6 percent. Unemployment is 5.7 percent and external debt only 12 percent a year.
  • Russia attaches great importance to expanding multifaceted cooperation with Saudi Arabia without whom it is impossible to solve any serious international issue.