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4/20/14

A short, secular poem for Easter

Nudged forward by Tom Holland and the news which he picked up on about hedgehogs being threatened with extinction, IKN offers up a short but famous verse. A good read for Easter Day, whatever your religious persuasion might be.

The Mower
Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence   
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time.

Peru Presidential polling: Ollanta hits a new low

Admittedly it's inside the margin of error, but the 24% approval scored by Ollanta in today's monthly ratings snapshot from Ipsos is his new low as President.


So, he sucks. What's new? Data here

Cam Hui on greed

A good one for Easter Sunday reflection, from Cam Hui over at Humble Student of the Markets. I do like it when he goes off on his semi-OT tangents.

4/19/14

Mike LaSusa with a good analysis of Venezuela today

One thing that strikes this reader about the information provided in the English language about Venezuela to the world is the role reversal of traditional media sources and blogs; for most other subjects the mainstream provides the measured voice and (reasonably, with editorial slant showing) factual reporting while blogs steam off on their tangents and stomp their feet on soapboxes. With Venezuela it's the other way around and if you want to read reasonable viewpoints that examine facts and opinions of both sides, you're far better off avoiding the agenda-ridden high traffic shows. 

In this post, Mike LaSusa puts together a measured view of how Venezuela looks today, as the worst of the protest violence recedes. Here's how he wraps things up, but you'd do well to read it all because it's far more nuanced than a single paragraph can show:
It remains to be seen what will come of the peace negotiations, and there are real issues President Maduro has to address aside from the recent social unrest. However, with deepening split between those who see Capriles as a sellout and those who view the hardcore wing as anti-democratic extremists, it will be difficult for the opposition to present itself as a coherent alternative to the well-established Chavista system. As the saying goes, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

4/18/14

The WSJ scoops on Barrick $ABX (ABX), Newmont $NEM (NEM) and failed merger talks: Thoughts arising

We're going to have all sorts of repercussions and bouncing of news this weekend from this WSJ report on the apparent failed merger talks between ABX and NEM. As long as the intel is sound it's a  nice scoop for the WSJ team for sure ( @GillianTan @macdonaldajm @DanaMattioli ) and as a house like WSJ is unlikely to have run the story without decent reason we can be fairly confident of its veracity too (have to trust people at some point, right?). It also fits right in with ABX's specific situation, as it's well known that just about everything they have is up for sale at the right price. Therefore, NEM could feasibly swoop in and pick up the whole lot at a nominal discount (while of course both sides carefully explain to the world that it's a 50/50 merger of equals. Right).  However there are caveats that come with the news and here's a handful by way of IKN-type reaction:
1) There's scant detail offered, apart from the fact that talks broke down. Shout 'duh' if you like, but it also means the journos weren't given massive inside track material.
2) The news means that the talks broke down, i.e. the main takeaway here is that there isn't going to be a merger. Duh again, but Occam's Razor beats derived speculation so don't expect some massive stoking on Monday's markets for gold majors just because of this.
3) This isn't the first time ABX and NEM have talked seriously about a deal, but just like before it's seen as a very difficult fit. Both companies have baggage, noisy balance sheets, uncertain growth profiles. What's more there'd be internal opposition from both sides about any deal (middle management, upper management, even high level execs sweating on the phrase "cost synergies" and how it relates to "pink slips"). That and a dozen other reasons why this mooted merger has failed before and apparently failed again. It's not one we should ever hold our collective breaths on.
Finally, it wouldn't surprise me if there's a larger game being played here. I mean, just for one example, it's understood down Chile way that ABX wants to JV with Chinese capitals (Citic) on Pascua Lama and there'd be nothing better to chivvy a hesitant partner into signing on the dotted line than a nicely sourced (and easily deniable) story about the big catch almost getting away. But hey, that's just my squirmy brain being squirmy, right Mr Munk?

PS: And another thing; Good Friday? This news leaked at the start of a long weekend (and WSJ can't afford to sit on it for fear of being out-scooped)? Hmmmm....


Not a clue where Reuters is getting Peru mining report ideas from

Not a clue.

(Reuters) - Gold production in Peru, the world's sixth biggest exporter of the precious metal, will likely either plateau or dip slightly this year compared with 2013, mining companies, analysts and the government said.
Gold output will fall by at least 4 percent in 2014 to between 4.4 million and 4.6 million ounces, according to company and analyst estimates.
But the government hopes continues here


And you only have to wait a mere six days from the IKN post to that yearned-for moment when we get approval from Reuters, too. Oh how we are anointed.

The Kitco gold forecast debate rages on

Rages, I say! Rrrawwrr

After the original post which pointed out the useless calls made by Kitco's gold price experts, then this from mickeyman, then this, then this, then other things, Mickeyman over at World complex goes further in his "yeah but it's not even any good as a contrary indicator call Otto, sorry" opinion in this post (as usual, great graphs to back up his call). so I left this underneath in his comments section...
Leaving aside the Time Lord thing, I've already noted in a couple of places (admittedly intuitively) that the contrary indication is more obvious on the "strong signal" weeks, i.e. when any option gets more than 50% of the term-used-loosely-expert opinion. In other words, the more vehement the term-used-loosely-expert opinions, the more likely it is to be wrong. Isn't that the archetypical definition of contrary indicator?

...because I do think there's still a decent chance of a contrary (i.e. potential money making trade) indicator buried here. Anyway, go read his latest if you're suitably greedy or numbernerdy (guilty both charges, m'lud) 

The Ubinas volcano in Peru is entering into an eruption phase

Here's a pretty cool video...


...that was shown on Peru news TV last night of one of the explosions at the Ubinas volcano in the Southern region of Moquegua yesterday. This morning the alert level has been raised further and 4,000 people (plus many thousands of head of livestock) are being evacuated.

However, overall Ubinas isn't a volcano that the world should fret about unless you live very close to it, within let's say 20km or so (and what's more, it's a sparsely populated area). Ubinas is one of the most active volcanoes in the Andean chain at the moment and belches out pretty regularly, but in this cycle at least (100+ years, which is like a human yesterday in geological timespans) hasn't gone in for a catastrophic full blown eruption. Ash and health issues for locals, yes. More activity and regional nuisance, yes. Mount St Helens II, very unlikely indeed.