start here

start here

The Daily IKN email digest, get all daily posts sent to you next day (& no ads)

9/20/14

Pablo Hernández's goal today

For Celta, versus Atlético Madrid. The match finished 2-2 which is a great result for Celta, thanks in no small measure to what you see below.


Well worth sharing.

PS: In reply to a mail received: For those who don't know, you click on a Vine to make it start/stop.

The Saturday OT: Itzhak Perlman plays Bach Partita Nº 2 (BWV 1004)

I can't believe this only has 5k views on Youtube, it should have hundreds of thousands minimum. 

An interpretation of Bach's Partita 2 by one of the very greatest violinists, captured live in front of an audience who must have been blown to bits by their lunchtime entertainment on that day. Perlman at the peak of his considerable powers.



You just have to watch this, especially from 11:01 onwards. Extra special. And don't FFwd to the end, treat yourself to the whole thing but pay attention to 29:25 and the seconds that follow. He's just finished the piece, there's a silence between the last note and the first of the extended applause (that turns into a standing-O) and the camera's on Perlman's face, close-up. He knows what he's just done. He knows he's just nailed one of the great violin pieces cold, in front of an audience and for everyone listening in on live radio. It's a beautiful frame.

How English language media frames its LatAm agenda, Bloomberg Argentina edition

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story, they say.

In this case it's Bloomberg and Argentina, but as you may be aware there are plenty of other media channels running the same game. Usually and oh so coincidentally the bias tends to be against those countries with governments deemed to be Socialist by our judges up North so Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador get it in the neck. Bolivia used to be a target, but since people finally worked out that Evo's government has been doing a great job for years on end (IKN was explaining that to you in 2009, before the hipsters parachuted in) the North has quietly dropped the subject.

Anyway, the example today is Bloomberg and its long-running campaign against Argentina and the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The author of the biased tripe du jour is one Camila Russo and the headline screams at us "Argentina’s Poverty Risks Quadrupling, World Bank Says"

Oh mah gerd, you say, on reading the dramatic header. Then you continue with...
"Argentina risks quadrupling its poverty level as the economy stalls, the World Bank says.

Those living on $4-$10 per day, or 33 percent of Argentina’s population as of 2012, are vulnerable to falling into poverty in the case of an adverse shock, according to the World Bank’s 2015-2018 report on the South American nation. The poverty rate for the country’s 43 million people may increase to more than 40 percent from about 11 percent, it said."
...and it goes on, then the text (for its own sweet reasons) jumps to talking about the recent default. Which is nice. Go read it yourself, it's all good fun and once you strip away the rhetoric and look at the cited World Bank publications, it is indeed all there in the databanks and stats sheets. But amazingly, context is missing. And that's because once you take the free floating stats and look at them in real world context, things aren't anywhere near as dramatic and negative as a so-called "news" organization would like you to believe. There are two things you need to know to get it focussed nicely:

1) What "vulnerable" really means in the context of the World Bank data
2) Where Argentina stands compared to peer countries.

First that word "vulnerable" and as it happens, IKN did a little explainer on that just a couple of weeks ago in this post. Here's the relevant extract:
1) Poor. Says what it means, standard definitions apply.

2) Vulnerable. This is the sector of the population that has either a) risen out of poverty but is at risk of falling back in if things don't go well or b) dropped away from the secure middle class category and runs the risk of becoming poor. For what it's worth, in LatAm this is usually the a) group.

3) Middle class. Says what it means, standard definitions apply. People just like your author who are fortunate enough to have disposible income and the trappings thereof.

4) Residual. I like that word, much cooler than the rich or the one percent. For example people who live in Peru, run the country's media and tell you how wonderful Peru is. For another example people who live in Venezuela, run the country's media and tell you how crappy Venezuela is.
OK, so now we know what "vulnerable" is, it's those people who aren't poor but aren't the established middle class. 

Now the context, which is available for all to see in the CEPAL/ECLAC data (that's the Chilean-based LatAm stats house used by the United Nations and the World Bank for their data source, it's been that way for many a year). As luck would have it, Greg Weeks over at his blog posted on this very subject in late August, here's the link and all you need to do is go look at the CEPAL charts he reproduces to see that the situation in Argentina isn't bad, in fact it's pretty good. It even prompts Weeks to say, "As is so often the case, the trends defy easy ideological identification. Argentina, for example, is doing quite well." Here's the key chart from his post:


So, Argentina has 10.8% in the poor bracket, then 31.4% in the vulnerable column and that's how Bloomberg gets the "quadrupling" word into its headline. But what they don't tell you is...
  • Argentina has the second lowest level of vulnerable in Latin America
  • Argentina has the third lowest level of poor in Latin America
  • Argentina has the second highest level of established middle class in Latin America

And we could continue, stacking Argentina up against similar sized countries, or the Latin America average, or whatever else. In short, Camila Russo and Bloomberg are in such a rush to stick the boot into their preferred bugbear that they either didn't notice or couldn't be bothered to tell you that Argentina's doing rather well, and that's via the very same dataset they used to write their biased and moronic hit-piece. And let's be clear on this; if you're now expecting Bloomie to run a similar note on one of the deemed "friendly" countries such as Peru, Colombia or Chile (because hey, they could use "Quintupling" in a headline about that last one, even add a few exclamations for taste) you're in for a very, but very long wait.

And that's how your "news" is framed by LatAm-hating news agencies, oh Northern dwelling English-speaking people.

UPDATE: Site friend Abel has done a wonderful job of translating the above post into Spanish as part of this post on his blog, as well as adding more context and comment about the way in which the Bloomberg note was picked up by opposition media inside Argentina. 

9/19/14

The Friday OT: The Prodigy; Speedway

For @pabloet84



Before they were massive for a year The Prodigy were so fine. But don't take this humble corner of cyberspace's opinion, stick this song in your car stereo and see what happens for yourself.

Primero (P.to) $PPP reports a fatality

Mining is a dangerous profession, period. Accident rates have dropped over the years but there have always been fatalities and always will be, that's how it is.

Primero Mining (PPP) (P.to) today does what mining companies should do under the circumstances: An employee is killed while working, the company discloses the information immediately, doesn't flinch, tells the market and the wider population the bad news. I'm not saying PPP is innocent or guilty of other things, I'm just saying they're doing the right thing in disclosure and showing basic respect.

Although I have no position in Primero, I know that I'd much prefer to hold its stock than that of Pan American Silver (PAA.to) (under Ross Beaty) for example, which never bothers to tell people when employees die on the job (in Peru alone, one this year and one last year) or Buenaventura (BVN) (under Roque Benavides) which has the same cowardly hide-it-away attitude (BVN has seen three employee deaths so far in 2014 and managed to kill another five in 2013) Date from here on those two.

And those market darlings at B2Gold (BTG) (BTO.to) still have a lot to learn about doing things the right way. Remember that, Clive.


Silver today: All you need to know



No further comment necessary.

Mexico: When the army becomes your police force

Go to this link at Pan American Post and read "Witnesses: Mexican Soldiers Killed 21 in June Massacre". Here are some excerpts:

Mexican authorities have persistently stuck to the official version of events. On July 17, Mexico State Attorney General Jaime Gomez Sanchez assured reporters that there was “no evidence whatsoever” that the 21 victims were executed. 
But this story became harder to defend this week.....only one suspect was killed in a shootout, which broke out after soldiers opened fire first. The rest surrendered, but were then killed after being interrogated. A medical examiner who carried out an autopsy on one of the victims, a 15-year-old girl, told Esquire that her wounds were the result of a point-blank execution. 
In addition...the army killed two men claiming to be kidnapping victims, as they were apparently unconvinced of their stories.
Full thing here, without doubt today's must-read LatAm story.

Chart of the day is...

...the dollar, hourlies:


It's still the centre of things.

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers, pre-opening bell Friday morning. Selling something at a loss.

It happens.

In 2014 it happens too often.


9/18/14

Robert Frost: Design (again)

Force me into choosing one poet and it would be Frost.
And if forced into choosing one Frost poem, it would be 'Design'.

This 1922 sonnet gets an occasional airing on these pages (last time December 2013), for which I make no excuses. The reason this time; I got to travel through some high country Andes yesterday and today and while reflecting on the size of the scenery, i.e. trying and failing to understand how mindbendingly big it is, the verse popped up and it wouldn't go away.

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.


Back when the word 'awesome' meant something and hadn't been devalued by petty use, that poem was awesome. It still is; no two lines in the English language hit harder than those last two.

IKN continues to be nasty to Sandstorm $SAND (article from IKN279, last weekend)

This was a section of The IKN Weekly issue 279, out last Sunday. Since this was published Luna Gold (LGC.to) has dropped nearly 10%.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Luna Gold (LGC.to) underscores how Sandstorm (SAND) paid over-odds for shares
A classic Friday post-close bad news NR (18) from a junior was delivered by Luna Gold (LGC.to) this week, here’s the body of the text:

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - September 12, 2014) - Luna Gold Corp. (LGC.TO) (LGC.TO) (LGCUF) ("Luna" or the "Company") announces that as a result of market conditions, it will not proceed with the second tranche of its previously announced private placement totalling 10,500,000 shares.

The first tranche equating to 19,500,000 shares was closed on August 5, 2014.

As at September 1, 2014, Luna had a cash balance of C$33 million, working capital of C$40 million and 7,000 ounces of finished gold inventory.

At this point, we need to go back to the original placement NR of August 5th (19) and here are two extracts for consideration:

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - August 05, 2014) - Luna Gold Corp. (LGC.TO)(LGC.TO)(LGCUF) ("Luna" or the "Company")announces a non-brokered private placement (the "Placement") of up to 30,000,000 common shares (the "Placement Shares") priced at $1.02 per share, for gross proceeds of up to $30,600,000.
...

Pursuant to the Agreement, Sandstorm will purchase a minimum of 19,500,000 of the Placement Shares, for gross proceeds of approximately C$19.89 million

In other words, Sandstorm (SAND) agreed to pick up nearly 2/3rd of the placement at $1.02, but just a month and a bit later LGC.to has cancelled the rest of the placement and that’s because the share price has done this:




LGC is down to a Friday close of 85c [EDIT: This chart now updated to Thursday 18th September, 77c close] and there aren’t many entities that are going to pay $1.02 for something they can buy on the open market at an 18.6% discount [EDIT: Now 24.5%]

Regarding Luna Gold (LGC.to), it’s a company that’s promised much, delivered poorly and one I’ve always found easy to avoid. Its descent hasn’t ever come as much surprise to this desk (it was a $3+ dollar stock even after the moment that the gold price made its big waterfall drop in early 2013) and though I’m keenly aware of my own bad calls on other stocks in the period, at least in this case the avoid call was obviously the right one.

Regarding Sandstorm (SAND), things are more complicated. At face value the streaming model is an interesting one to follow in these lean years (look no further than Franco Nevada or Silver Wheaton for your evidence) but the latest decision to double down on LGC and get such an immediate thumbs down from the market for the investment (term used loosely) call again calls into question the judgement of the people running this shop (Nolan Watson at the helm, but there are obviously others involved with the decision making process). Also, it must be noted that we’ve already SAND buy into get hit and then double-down on a story with too many similarities to be ignored, that of Colossus (ex-CSI.to). The list of gold, Brazil, promising story, SAND investment, things go wrong, SAND doubles down, things go even worse is uncanny, also because of the political risk angle at the Colossus Serra Pelada project and the foreign capitals’ total inability to read the political and community risk situation correctly. That one has turned out very badly for SAND, but that hasn’t deterred the same company that’s supposedly a streamer from buying more shares in a troubled company it’s already exposed to and investing into the asset side of another Brazil-exposed junior with obvious operational issues (and several political ones too, if persistent hearsay about is to be believed).

Here’s a 2014 year-to-date chart that features SAND next to fellow gold streamer, the more established and sector leading Franco Nevada (FNV) as well as the junior PM ETF (GDXJ) as benchmark [EDIT: Also re-set to Thursday 18th September]. Even after resetting at zero on January 1st 2014 after the debacle of Colossus in late 2013, SAND is now underperforming both FNV and GDXJ after being ahead (and sometimes way ahead) until August came along. The common denominator is the LGC deal, which smacks of the market moving from love to hate about the aggressive investment tactics at SAND.




For sure aggression is how empires are built, the winner CEO is the one that takes chances. But SAND’s method would stick out like a sore thumb in these prudent times even if the bets made by Watson et al had been successful. Colossus hasn’t, neither was its first tranche of LGC, now its second tranche has been given an immediate fail mark. To what point will the current management of SAND be allowed to squander the profits of the successful streaming model on unsuccessful equity wagers?

Catching up with 48 hours of newsflow...

...and sadly, Baja Mining (BAJ.to) gets top billing for its post-hurricane damage report. For all the wrong reasons.
"Baja is deeply saddened to report that there was one confirmed fatality involving Boleo personnel. Tragically, Mr. Kyoung Jin Park, Chief Operating Officer of MMB, ‎was drowned in the town of Santa Rosalia, located adjacent to the Boleo Project, by a flash flood attributable to heavy rains from the storm. In addition, Mr. Sung Keun Chai, Chief Executive Officer of MMB, who is thought to have been with Mr. Park at the time of the incident, is currently missing. Baja has been advised that the Mexican authorities continue their search for Mr. Chai. The leadership of these two executives has been important in advancing the Boleo Project, and Mr. Park, and Mr. Chai, if confirmed deceased, will be greatly missed."
Full NR here.

9/17/14

On the road


Your humble scribe is spending two days and one night in other places. No evening drinkies at The Blue Oyster planned, though.

Normal* service will resume tomorrow Thursday evening. Enjoy the Yellen show.


*whatever that means

9/16/14

"Fortuna Silver’s San Jose Mine Can Handle Lower Silver Prices"

Thus blares the headline on Kitco about Fortuna Silver (FSM) (FVI.to), as the site goes into its interview with CEO Ganoza.

Which means of course that its other mine, Caylloma, can't handle lower silver prices. QED.

This Modern World

A top level edition of my favourite cartoon today. Not pasting it here out of respect, go view at the source. But do so, it's wonderful.

More rebuttals to The Economist

Colin Snider has written a short follow-up post that rounds up the various reactions and rebuttals to The Economist and its highly misleading LatAm "history is not memory" article. Snider pulls together articles from several places that have criticized TE from different angles. Your humble scribe is included, though fortunately there's plenty more on offer from smarter commentators. You can find it here.

Scotia and the Blue Oyster Bar

This is what happens when you don't do your DD:

IKN Nerve Centre™ hears of an amusing incident at the Denver Gold Show. Last night Scotia Bank decided to play at host and invited a select band of WIMPs (Wonderfully Important Mining People; e.g. chairs, directors, CEOs etc) out for drinkies and chat in true corporate PR happytime style. The problem is that the Scotia flunkey in charge of organizing the event picked as venue Denver's premier gay and trans bar. No word on whether said flunkey still works for Scotia this morning, though we'll undoubtedly be able to update on that as the week progresses.

Here's a still from Police Academy and one of the memorable scenes from the Blue Oyster Bar.



Streaming royalty companies have a date with the law of diminishing returns

This in my inbox this morning:
MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Sep 16, 2014) - Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (the "Company" or "Osisko") (OR.TO) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with National Bank of Canada for a $100 million Revolving Credit Facility to be used for investments in the mineral industry, including the acquisition of royalties and the funding of precious metal streams. The facility may be increased by $50 million at Osisko's request. 
The Revolving Credit Facility will be secured by the Company's assets and will have a two-year term, which can be extended by one year. The facility is subject to initial standby fees of 0.30%. Drawn funds with base and prime rate advances will bear interest at a base/prime rate plus between 0.50% and 2.50% and LIBOR loans will bear interest at LIBOR plus between 1.50% and 3.50% depending on the Company's leverage ratio. 
Sean Roosen, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Osisko, noted: "We are pleased yada yada continues here.

So what happens when the larger mining sector sees one small sector of the mining world making a crapload of money?
a) It ignores the smaller sector, congratulates them, wishes them continued good luck, gets back to work on its unprofitable business model. 
b) It copies the moneymaker.
Yup, you guessed it. The OR.to news this morning is bad news for the streaming companies run by mediocrity. Yup Nolan, we be lookin' right atcha.

9/15/14

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for B2Gold $BTG (BTO.to) than its performance in August...

...September came along.

We noted back on August 25th in this post that BTO was underperforming the PM ETF benchmark, GDX. So here we are three weeks later and...


...not only has the gap grown to a 9% advantage for GDX vs the supposed "industry leading growth story", but BTO is now UNCH on the year. But don't fret The Clive, people aren't going to starting laughing in your face in Denver this week. They'll do it behind your back.

Peru GDP July 2014 1.16%

Here's the news, here's the chart, over there on the right is the new figure added in:


The government and the probiz press is now busily spinning this figure as good news. They think we're idiots.

The Economist keeps up its pathetic track record in South American coverage

I've heard tell from people living in other parts of the planet that The Economist covers their patch fairly well. I've also seen the occasional piece of sanity, repeat on occasion, from certain TE correspondents who write on specific locations in this continent. But overall they're the worst kind of stupid about South America, the stupid that tries and fails to ram down throats their house bias (dripping with White Man's Burden) in pieces that have the air of sagacity but once the surface is scratched, bear little or no resemblance to reality.

Intro done, and case in point this week is this article entitled "Memory is not history: “Dirty war” memorials should not be used to rewrite the past", which promotes the idea that post-dictatorship governments in South America are guilty of revisionism about the atrocities of the past, typically the 1970's (e.g. Chile, Argentina) but pre- and post- that hot period as well. As has been picked up by critics of the piece already, there's a basic falsehood in the title itself: Like it or not, memory is history. Lillie over at her always thoughtful blog on the subject puts it this way:
"Memorials are a shorthand, yes. You can't include the whole complexities of a country's experiences on a plaque. Memory, in its wider sense, tends to include the testimonies of victims and relatives and it encompasses a whole range of commemorative acts, both formal and informal."
Meanwhile, Colin Snider (just back from his summer break, welcome back sir) at his space Americas South And North says it even more directly:
Is memory history? Not in and of itself, no. But memory is a part of history, and a vital one.
And that's exactly right. TE has apparently decided that people's experiences of the Dirty War period are discountable and their recollections, now concentrated into Memory Museums or commemorative statues by later government initiatives, don't count. Why that might be is easy to guess, as Occam's Razor would point to the obvious and long-standing colonial right wing editorial line of TE, then point to the tendency of post-dictatorship South American governments to be politically centrist, centre-left or plain left-wing, then put them together. Yes, TE sees lefties hiding behind bushes and reds in your beds, people. Take this line from the TE article as Exhibit A:
"The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides."
TE wants us to believe that yes those righties may have killed tens of thousands of people, but the lefties they were killing were equally as bad. Colin Snider replies succinctly and accurately in a way I couldn't manage to such bunkum (i.e. without using swear words)
To suggest that “both sides were equally authoritarian” is nonsense, because in order to be authoritarian, you actually have to have access to the instruments and mechanisms of power that allow you to rule in an authoritarian fashion. The leftist movements, armed or unarmed, never did; the right-wing military dictatorships did.
The Economist has a woeful track record of South American coverage, so in one way today's piece from them is just another in the line. But it's more insidious than the norm because it's a sneak attack that tries to take the truth, by which I mean the truth of the South American people directly affected by the Dirty War period, and portray that well documented but (by its own definition) subjective truth as revisionist, only to replace it with TE's own historically inaccurate revisionism which (oh so coincidentally) lends support to the right wing and that means people such as England's friends, Los Pinochet. Don't fall for the rubbish TE writes on the region, there's way too much of it already.

UPDATE: Setty has a different angle and lots of good background material thanks to a transcript of an interview he did with Ricardo Brodsky, executive director of the Memory Museum in Chile. Find that right here.

Your junior mining quote of the day


"When you think participants in junior mining are good and kind people, sell."

That's a line from this JGMS post, summing up an interview with Rick Rule that's linked to the post. I haven't listened to the Q&A, but the quote stands out a mile.

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN279 has just been sent to subscribers. It has 12,480 words on 27 page and we still like copper.

9/14/14

Luis Miguel Castilla, Finance Minister of Peru, resigns

And about time too. News link here.

UPDATE: The new FinMin has now been sworn in. His name's Alonso Segura and his is a direct promotion from the head offices of the finance ministry. Here you see him, on the right of this photo, posing with four of the most recent Finance Ministers of Peru. Biog and background here.



What I have learned from my mailbox today

People don't read to the ends of posts before writing in.