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11-20-2013, 05:02 PM
Car bomb targeting Egyptian soldiers kills 10

At least 10 Egyptian soldiers were killed when a car bomb hit their bus in the Sinai Peninsula near the city of El-Arish, while 35 were wounded.

The attack that targeted the soldiers who were traveling from Rafah to Cairo is the latest attack on security forces battling insurgents.

Violence has surged in Egypt since the army took control of the country after removing Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

This attack is one of the deadliest in the Sinai Peninsula, which is near Israel and the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip, since Morsi was removed from office.

In August, a blast in Sinai killed at least 25 members of the security forces, and since then gunmen carry out near-daily attacks on checkpoints in the region.

In a separate incident, three people were wounded in a bomb attack today on a security checkpoint in Cairo, adding to worries that Islamist insurgents might take hold beyond Sinai.

The rising violence and political struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army-backed government already started hitting investment and tourism in the country.

11-26-2013, 10:11 AM
U.N. nuclear agency review Japan’s Fukushima

An expert from the U.S. arrived in Japan on Monday to review Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plans and the operator`s progress in removing fuel rods from a destroyed reactor building and minimizing leaks of contaminated water.

Moreover, The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 220 km (130 miles) north of Tokyo, was wrecked by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More than 150,000 residents were evacuated after the natural disasters triggered three nuclear meltdowns

11-26-2013, 10:12 AM
Abe to end rice policy for farm reform

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government approved a plan to end the nation’s 1.2 million rice farms plans four-decade long policy, where the plan helped to sustain the nation’s rice farms.

Moreover, Japanese agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi noted that the gentan system which has led landowners to reduce rice crops since 1970, will be dismantled by the end of this fiscal year through March 31, 2019.

11-26-2013, 10:16 AM
Yen consolidates after crucial fall

The yen is currently narrow trading along with major pairs within the US session after that it actually plummeted today to its lowest level in almost six months versus the dollar as demand for the safety of the currency waned after that World powers and Iran reached a deal early Sunday that would halt parts of Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for what was described by Washington as “modest relief” from international sanctions on Iran

This deal is a six-month agreement that allows for Iran to continue its activities in its nuclear sites in the cities of Arak, Fordo, and Natanz, a deal that was reached early this Sunday after several intense nuclear talks between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Accordingly the euro is presently narrow trading on the four and one-hour charts as a result of the current technical movements sending in fact the EUR/USD pair to trade up around $1.3512 while recording the highest level of $1.3559 and lowest level of $1.3489, knowing that the pair may decline but slightly as mixed signs are seen throughout the four-hour and one-hour momentum indicators.

As for the British Pound, it is also consolidating on these correctional movements driving the GBP/USD pair to trade around $1.6151 while recording the highest level of $1.6239 and lowest of $1.6132 and is most probably going to remain at consolidated levels as mixed signs; buying and selling, are also witnessed at several time scale within the stochastic oscialltor.

Finally, as a result of mixed signs witnessed throughout the momentum indicators at different time charts the USD/JPY pair is consolidating around ¥101.68 while recording the highest level of ¥81.05 and lowest levels of ¥80.66.

09-03-2014, 06:23 PM
5 Reasons to fade the Ukraine-Russia ceasefire

The breaking news about a “permanent” ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia triggered a relief rally that sent EUR/USD up alongside stock markets. The much needed good news from the region could be short lived.

Is it all over for real? Here are 5 reasons to doubt the move:

Confirmation only from Ukraine: The announcement of a “permanent” ceasefire came out only from Kiev. The Kremlin only said said that a conversation will take place. Update: Putin’s spokesman did not wait too long to say that no ceasefire was agreed upon, as Russia is not a side in the conflict.
Previous ceasefires have broken down: This is not the first ceasefire in the conflict. Russian and Ukrainian leaders are in contact and have already met in Minsk recently. This didn’t stop the recent violence and recent “incursion” of Russia into Ukraine. So, it is not too hard to doubt this ceasefire.
Responding to international pressure: US President Obama is visiting Estonia, another ex-Soviet country ahead of the NATO summit in Wales. There were reports about a 4000 strong “fast response” task force from NATO. Update: Obama mentions Russian aggression in Ukraine but does not mention a ceasefire.
EU Ultimatum: In addition, the EU set an ultimatum to Russia to enact more sanctions if Russia doesn’t back off. These “Winds of Change” from Moscow (still awaiting confirmation) could be meant to stave off this pressure and get the world off Putin’s back before the next move.
Ukrainian army retreats: The timing of the move also comes after the Russian backed rebels have made significant gains against the Ukrainian army, basically forcing them to retreat from both the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the new front that Russia opened closer to the Black Sea. Putin may be consolidating his gains before the next move.

All in all, Vladimir “Master of Surprise” Putin might be making a tactical retreat while all the world is watching, and might later take another bite out of Ukraine after the world’s short attention span has moved elsewhere.

And like with this ceasefire, also EUR/USD could see a consolidation of the recent fall,. making the necessary correction before resuming its slide.

What do you think?

09-16-2014, 07:43 PM
Scotland Referendum: “No” vote is more priced in

Betfair, which already placed a giant octopus in the middle of Oxford Circus and caused traffic jams, has made another publicity stunt: it is paying out on existing gambles for a No vote on the Scottish referendum, albeit only on the specific “sportsbook” bets and not the wider “exchange” system.

Nevertheless, this move seems to be supporting the pound. Less than 48 hours before Scotland goes to the polls, the chances of a No vote seems to be more priced in. Or if you wish, the magnitude of the collapse of the pound in case of a Yes vote has risen.

01-14-2015, 08:24 PM
Warren Buffett's investing successors blew it in 2014
Stock picks like General Motors and Viacom didn’t pan out for Berkshire Hathaway’s Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.

Warren Buffett’s hand-picked successors may turn out to be more ordinary than the Oracle of Omaha.

Todd Combs and Ted Weschler both appear to have failed to beat the market in 2014. Combs missed the mark by the most. His portfolio appears to have fallen slightly, down 0.3%, in 2014. Buffett famously said that his No. 1 rule of investing is to never lose money. His second rule, the legend goes, is not to forget Rule No. 1.

Weschler did better. His picks rose 6.7%. Still, that wasn’t enough to best the S&P 500, which was up by just over 11%, before dividends, in 2014. (Fortune calculated the returns of Combs and Weschler before dividends as well.) It was the first year both Combs and Weschler lagged the market index since they joined Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Last April, Buffett touted the managers’ performance in his annual letter to Berkshire BRK.A -0.74% shareholders. He wrote that both Combs and Weschler, who Buffett has indicated are likely to take over managing the bulk of Berkshire’s massive stock market portfolio when he leaves the company, had “handily” beaten the market, as well as Buffett’s own performance, for the second year in a row.

The managers will not be able to claim a three-peat. The biggest drag on Combs’ performance was Chicago Bridge & Iron CBI -2.15% , which was his biggest holding coming into 2014. The share price of the Netherlands-based construction company, which specializes in the oil and gas industry, was halved in 2014. Media company Viacom VIAB -5.26% , down nearly 15% for the year, was another laggard for Combs. Combs’ other picks did well, like defense contractor General Dynamics GD -0.32% and credit card company Visa V -1.83% , up 44% and 17%, respectively. But that wasn’t enough to push his portfolio above water for the year.

Weschler’s big miss in 2014 was General Motors GM -3.80% . Shares of GM dropped 15% last year, amid massive recalls related to its ignition switches.

A number of Buffett’s own investments also didn’t fare too well in 2014. Shares of IBM IBM -0.78% , one of Berkshire’s largest holdings, fell by just over 12% last year. ExxonMobil’s stock XOM -1.64% , of which Berkshire holds $4 billion worth, has fallen 7% in the past six months. Buffett called his purchase of shares of U.K. supermarket chain Tesco, which were down 50% last year, a “big mistake.” But Buffett’s, and Berkshire’s, largest holding, mega-bank Wells Fargo WFC -1.56% , was up 24% last year.

Berkshire shareholders don’t seem concerned about the ability of Buffett—or Combs or Weschler, for that matter—to manage the insurance conglomerate’s $100 billion-plus stock portfolio. The company’s shares rose 27% in 2014. Admittedly, after years of acquisitions, Berkshire’s bottom line has more to do with the performance of the increasingly large companies it owns—including, for instance, railroad giant BNSF and Heinz—and less to do with the returns of its stock market portfolio.

Buffett and Berkshire did not return a request for comment for this story.

Buffett regularly compares the annual performance of Berkshire’s book value to the S&P 500. Last year, the company’s book value underperformed the S&P for a five-year period for the first time in Berkshire’s history. But Berkshire’s book value, like all companies, is in part a product of accounting rules, and perhaps not the best indicator of the company’s performance.

Berkshire doesn’t officially disclose its investment returns or those of its individual managers. But, like other large asset managers, it discloses its holdings each quarter. Fortune calculated the investment returns of Combs and Weschler based on that information. The returns do not include any changes the two managers made to their holdings in the fourth quarter, which Berkshire has yet to disclose, but those adjustments will not change the figures much. We used the same methodology to crunch Combs and Weschler’s investment performance in 2014 that we used in an article on the two Berkshire up-and-comers last year.

Up until 2014, Combs and Weschler’s track record had been hard to beat. Combs’ portfolio was up by an astounding 51% in 2013. Through the second quarter of last year, his portfolio was up 116% since joining Berkshire. Weschler, who joined Berkshire a year later, was up 81% through the middle of last year.

In Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire shareholders last year, after saying that the investments of Combs and Weschler had outperformed his own, Buffett joked that if the ”humiliating comparisons” continue, “I’ll have no choice but to cease talking about them.” This year, Buffett has another reason to stay mum.

01-14-2015, 08:26 PM
Moody's: Risk of Greek exit credit negative for Euro Member States; contagion risks lower than in 2012
Global Credit Research - 14 Jan 2015

London, 14 January 2015 -- The recent political turmoil in Greece and early Greek elections have increased the risk of a Greek exit from the euro area. However the likelihood of a Greek exit is still lower than during the peak of the crisis in 2012 and remains relatively unlikely, according to a new report from Moody's Investor Service. The report adds that this higher risk could have negative credit implications for other members of the European single currency, despite contagion risks being materially lower than at the peak of the crisis.

Greece will hold early parliamentary elections on 25 January, which has rekindled concerns around a possible Greek exit from the single currency given the lead that anti-austerity party Syriza has in the polls. While Syriza is committed to the monetary union, it has also signalled that it could seek debt forgiveness from its euro area peers. Other euro area governments are likely to reject such a request, partly because it could lead to similar demands from other highly indebted euro area countries.

The report, "Greek Exit Would Be Credit Negative for other Member States; but Contagion Risks are Lower Than in 2012", is now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

"Any exit from the single currency would be a defining moment for the euro: it would show that the monetary union is divisible, not irreversible," said Colin Ellis, the report's author and Moody's Chief Credit Officer, EMEA.

"However, although a Greek exit today would likely trigger renewed recession in the remaining euro area, the credit impact may be less pronounced than in 2012 because contagion risk from a Greek euro exit has materially declined and because policymakers now have stronger tools to limit the damage from such an event."

The range of factors that would limit the credit impact of a Greek exit on other European countries include weaker cross-border links between European banks, the significant reduction of European banks' holdings of Greek government debt, the structural reforms undertaken by several European countries that have made them more resilient or cut their current account and fiscal deficits, and stronger safety nets created after the crisis first broke. "Although, even with these tools, a Greek exit would trigger heightened market tensions and a renewed recession in the euro area", Ellis adds.

While European policymakers could use their stronger powers to limit the risk of contagion from any Greek exit in the short term, they would face further challenges in the medium term. Other euro area countries still have high debt burdens and unemployment rates and face headwinds from the weak economic outlook and deflationary risks.

Conversely, in the event of a Greek exit, its economy would probably suffer severe economic damage in the short term before the likely decline in any new Greek currency would aid the subsequent adjustment of its imbalances. "Over the longer term, economic growth in Greece following an exit could exceed that in remaining euro area countries -- which, in turn, could trigger discussions around further euro exits," adds Dr Ellis.

mirza ally
05-05-2015, 11:28 AM
Greece’s undeclared domestic default takes hold (http://www.usagold.com/cpmforum/2015/05/04/greeces-undeclared-domestic-default-takes-hold/)

When will Greece run out of money? The question has been vexing European capitals and the markets for months, as the stand-off between the new government in Athens and its Euro zone creditors remains unresolved.
So far,Greece has managed to both service its external debt and pay for wages and pensions.

But the worst kept secret in the country is that for thousands of people, businesses and institutions relying on government pay cheques, in every practical sense,Greece is already out of money. Greece has not received any loans from the Euro zone or the IMF since August 2014.

There is €7.2bn (£5.3bn;$8bn) left in the country’s bailout program, but creditors refuse to release the money before their demands for further reforms, spending cuts and tax increases are satisfied by Athens.

05-07-2015, 10:31 PM
US jobless claims: 265K – better than expected – USD strengthens
A better than expected jobs number from the US: 265K. Continuing claims are down to 2.228 million, also better than predicted. No revisions were reported. The 4 week moving average is down to 279.5K – the lowest since May 2000.

The US dollar is extending its gains, with EUR/USD down to 1.1265.

The US was expected to report weekly jobless claims at 277K, up from 262K reported originally last week.

The US dollar enjoyed a recovery of sorts from the poor data that hit it yesterday. The question about a second quarter recovery remains open.

EUR/USD traded just under 1.13, GBP/USD around 1.5220 on election day, USD/JPY around 119.15, USD/CAD at 1.2070, AUD/USD at 0.7980 and NZD/USD at 0.7480.

Canada reported a gain of 11.6% in building permits, so the loonie stands out against other currencies.

Continued claims were predicted to stand at 2.28 million.

Tomorrow we get the ultimate jobs data: the Non-Farm Payrolls.

06-08-2015, 07:02 PM
Greece nears default
Overnight Japanese GDP data has surpassed expectations and given the Yen a small boost bringing USDJPY back towards the 125.00 level after it burst through last Friday on the back of the good nonfarm payroll figure. The number was so impressive that not only did the dollar head higher, but US treasury yields spiked, especially on the shorter dated two year, which at one stage hit its highest level for over four years. Before the figure expectations for the first rate hike were at the very back end of 2015 to beginning of 2016, but this has brought this in a little to around October, but one this id for certain, we won’t be seeing the first hike next week which only 6 months ago was the favourite to mark the commencement of tightening.

Greece remains a thorn in the side of not only the Eurozone, but now the US after President Obama made clear his concern at the G7 about the heightened chances of a Greek debt default. Since missing the deadline for their first IMF repayment of the month last Friday, this Friday’s €350m deadline is moribund now that as they now insist on making all four June repayments in one at the end of the month. This is looking increasingly unlikely to happen without the funds from the agreed bailout extension earlier in the year.

06-15-2015, 06:00 PM
EUR: The End Of Complacency - Credit Agricole
EUR came off at the start of the new week after the talks between Greece and its creditors in Brussels were abandoned after only 45 minutes yesterday. The latest revised proposal by Athens fell well short of creditors' demands who insist on credible commitment to higher primary fiscal surplus achieved through unpopular measures like further pension and wage cuts.

Greek officials reiterated after the talks that Athens is willing to find a solution going into the all-important Eurogroup meeting on Thursday. Our central case is still for a compromise to be found most likely in the form of a partial bailout extension in exchange for the implementation of some of the reforms. This should help avoid imminent default ahead of the IMF loan repayment next week. It could still leave open the prospect for a potential referendum in Greece on the full reform package in July, however, and keep the risks for EUR on the downside.

Market uneasiness could grow ahead of the Eurogroup meeting and keep the downside pressure on EURUSD in place for now.

One key question is also how the Fed will respond to the intensifying uncertainty about Greece. We suspect that while Yellen will try not to rock the boat too much, it will be hard for her to ignore the latest improvement in US data and especially various inflation gauges. Positive surprises from today's US IP could fuel more hawkish expectations some more. All that should keep USD supported broadly this week.

Lingering Greek fears and more constructive message from the Fed could make for a less favourable backdrop for risk correlated G10 currencies. We suspect that the likes of AUD and NZD could remain vulnerable alongside EUR.