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Friday, March 27, 2015

Planet EARTH.................BE Very Afraid of America's ""***ETFs***""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Attention to ALL ""ETF"" Fund Managers...................The END "IS" Coming for ***ZIRP*** and the Carry Trades Connected to the Greatest ""PONZI"" Scheme Every Created in the History of MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Whole LOT of People are about to LOSE a WHOLE Lot of MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yellen: Fed will raise rates this year
By Kevin Cirilli

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled Friday that the central bank will being gradually raising interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis by the end of the year.

Yellen said at a forum hosted by the San Francisco Federal Reserve that she expects “conditions may warrant an increase in the federal funds rate target sometime this year.”

“I generally anticipate that a rather gradual rise in the federal funds rate will be appropriate over the next few years,” Yellen said.

Fed policymakers lowered interest rates to zero percent following the 2008 financial crisis in an effort to spur economic growth.

“If conditions do evolve in the manner that most of my [Fed] colleagues and I anticipate, I would expect the level of the federal funds rate to be normalized only gradually, reflecting the gradual diminution of headwinds from the financial crisis and the balance of risks I have enumerated of moving either too slowly or too quickly,” Yellen said. 

Fed's Yellen sees gradual rate hikes starting this year
By Ann Saphir and Michael Flaherty

(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled that the U.S. central bank will likely start raising borrowing costs later this year, even before inflation and wages have returned to health, but emphasized the return to normal interest rates will be gradual.

A downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force the Fed to delay the first increase to borrowing costs since 2006, the central bank's chief said on Friday, but policymakers should not wait for inflation to near the Fed's 2-percent goal before tightening monetary policy. The Fed has held short-term borrowing costs near zero since December 2008.

After the first rate increase, Yellen said, a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed's economic forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said.

"With continued improvement in economic conditions, an increase in the target range for that rate may well be warranted later this year," Yellen said at a monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Yellen added that while the Fed is giving "serious consideration" to beginning to reduce its accommodative monetary policy, the timing and the path of a Fed hike would depend on the incoming economic data.

"The actual path of policy will evolve as economic conditions evolve, and policy tightening could speed up, slow down, pause, or even reverse course depending on actual and expected developments in real activity and inflation," Yellen said.

The Coming CORRECTION "IS" going to be FRICKING BRUTAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Russian Economic Contraction Deepens in February
Dow Jones

MOSCOW--Russia's economic contraction deepened in February with gross domestic product falling 2.3% on the year, the economy ministry data showed Friday.

Russia's economy is contracting for the first time since 2009, feeling the impact of Western sanctions and a rapid slide in prices for oil, its key exports.

In the first two months of the year, GDP shrank by 1.9% on the year with February's contraction following the previous month's 1.4% annual drop, the economy ministry data showed.

The government expects the economy to shrink by about 3% this year, while economists and rating agencies are less optimistic and see 2015 GDP down by at least 4%.

Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed
By Mark O'Byrne 

- World sleep walking from ‘Cold War’ to ‘Hot War’ and new World War

- U.S. resolution to supply Ukraine with lethal weaponry passed

- Russia warns such moves would “explode the whole situation”

- Minsk agreement remains intact – little justification for escalation and ignoring EU allies

- US continues to act as only global superpower despite powerful Russia and China and new multi-polar world

- Hubris could lead to a new World War


Geopolitical risk has escalated sharply this week after the Saudi bombing of Yemen and the U.S. House of Representatives voting overwhelmingly for the President to provide offensive weaponry to the Ukrainian army.

Both are likely to result in sharp escalation in tensions between NATO and Russia and see an intensification of war in Eastern Europe and the possibility of a regional war in the Middle East.

The move is concerning as European countries  who have a real interest in maintaining stability in Ukraine – Germany and France, who are Europe’s de facto leadership, and Russia – have already restored a degree of stability through the Minsk agreement. Germany and France pointedly excluded the U.S. from the process.

The resolution comes despite Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov having previously warned in February that such a move would be a “major blow” to the Minsk agreements and would “explode the whole situation.”

The second Minsk Agreement – brokered between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine last month – has remained largely intact. The head of the reasonably independent Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said earlier this month the the ceasefire in Ukraine was holding. The OSCE confirmed, yesterday, that the withdrawal of heavy arms by both sides of the conflict was “ongoing” according to the Kyiv Post. 

Russia Recession......................DEAD Ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

""FALLING Crude OIL Prices"".........................The PAIN has ONLY Just Begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOTHING Can sTOP the 2015 ""GLOBAL RECESSION""...........Nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Greece Lowers 2015 Growth Forecast
Dow Jones

ATHENS--Greece sharply lowered its forecast for economic growth this year to 1.4%, according to a senior government official.

According to initial estimates by the previous government and its international creditors, Greece's economy was expected to grow by 2.9% in 2015. This estimate was later lowered to 2.5% both by the European Commission and the country's central bank, Bank of Greece.

Greece's economy returned to growth in 2014 after six years of recession, expanding at an annual pace of 0.8%, according the Greek statistics agency. 

Varoufakis denies resignation rumours as Bundesbank accuses Greeks of "gambling" away trust

Controversial finance minister brushes off reports he will be getting the sack as "amusing"
By Mehreen Khan, and Denise Roland

Greece's finance minister has denied reports in a German newspaper that he will be forced to resign from the Leftist government.

Responding to a story in Bild on Friday morning, who quoted a Greek government source saying that it was only a matter of time until Mr Varoufakis resigned, the "rock-star" former academic tweeted he found the reports of his apparent demise, "amusing".

Greek Deputy FinMin Confirms Athens Is "Prepared For Rift" With Europe

Just days after Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis' comments about hoping the Greek people will continue to back the government "after the rift," were played down by Syriza; ekathimerini reports that Alternate Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Friday made waves by seeming to confirm that the Greek government was "always prepared for a rift" with its European creditors - "If you don't entertain the possibility of a rift in the back of your mind then obviously the creditors will pass the same measures as they did with the previous [government]," (which perhaps explains why default risks are soaring back to post-crisis highs).

GREECE.............................Will NOT End 2015 as a MEMBER of the EMU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I SWEAR to GOD...............Hollywood couldn't make this SHIT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yet ANOTHER ""WTF"" Moment from the Obama White House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Obama Admin Threatens U.S. Allies for Disagreeing with Iran Nuke Deal

U.S. allies snubbed as administration moves toward nuke deal
BY: Adam Kredo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland—Efforts by the Obama administration to stem criticism of its diplomacy with Iran have included threats to nations involved in the talks, including U.S. allies, according to Western sources familiar with White House efforts to quell fears it will permit Iran to retain aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

A series of conversations between top American and French officials, including between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, have seen Americans engage in behavior described as bullying by sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The disagreement over France’s cautious position in regard to Iran threatens to erode U.S. relations with Paris, sources said.

Tension between Washington and Paris comes amid frustration by other U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The White House responded to this criticism by engaging in public campaigns analysts worry will endanger American interests.

Western policy analysts who spoke to the Free Beacon, including some with close ties to the French political establishment, were dismayed over what they saw as the White House’s willingness to sacrifice its relationship with Paris as talks with Iran reach their final stages.

A recent phone call between Obama and Hollande was reported as tense as the leaders disagreed over the White House’s accommodation of Iranian red lines. 

YES...............Now PUTIN "IS" about to become a MILITARY Player in the MIDDLE EAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Assad 'welcomes' larger Russian naval presence in Syria

Syria would welcome an increased Russian military presence at its sea ports, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian news channels published Friday.

"I can say with complete confidence that we welcome any widening of the Russian presence in the eastern Mediterranean and on Syrian coasts and ports," including the port of Tartus, Assad said.

"For us, the larger this presence in our neighbourhood, the better it is for stability in this region," he told journalists.

Russia operates a naval base in Tartus along Syria's western shores that includes warships, barracks and warehouses.

Set up under a 1971 security agreement, Moscow has called its Tartus presence "a supply and technical point for the Russian navy".

Assad told the reporters of eight news channels that Russian military support to Syria "has continued" throughout the past four years of war in his country.

He also welcomed Russia's role in hosting a second round of peace talks but said the negotiating parties must not be influenced by external players.

The Western-backed opposition National Coalition which insists on Assad's ouster has announced it will boycott the April 6-9 talks.

"For the success of these talks, the negotiating parties must be independent and must reflect what the Syrian people, with all of their different political views, want," Assad said.

"Today, people would not accept that their future, their fate, or their rules are decided from outside," he said.

"A solution to the Syrian crisis is not impossible -- if the Syrian people sit with each other and discuss, then we'll get results," he said.

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just Think how COOL it would be to watch ""***WW III***"" as it Happens on FOX News or Maybe CNN On this Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samsung HU9000 Series 78" Class UHD Smart 3D LED TV 

Dershowitz: Obama Facilitating Mideast Nuke Arms Race
By Melissa Clyne

The Obama administration’s decision to declassify a 1987 Pentagon report about Israel’s development of a hydrogen bomb, while redacting information about France, Germany and other countries, is a show of petty revenge against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, famed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Friday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"It seems vindictive and deliberate," Dershowitz said. "It's also very stupid, let me tell you why. President Obama claims to be interested in nonproliferation and the reason that Israel for years has never officially commented on its nuclear program is precisely to avoid proliferation. If Israel starts talking about its nuclear program or if the United States starts talking about Israel's nuclear program, it will put political pressure on some of the other countries in the region to develop nuclear weapons. So it's not only nasty, it's counterproductive." 

Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
By Jon Stone

Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.

Pressed later on the subject he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”

The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.

The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.

The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force. 

Saudi Arabia Pakistan 

A Whole LOT of PEOPLE around the WORLD are Going to ""DIE"" thanks to Obama and the ASSHOLES who Reelected HIM in 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU All better READ and Listen to these Videos because THIS SHIT "IS" about to GET REAL Serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TURN On RUSH NOW, He's going to NUKE Obama BIG Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm Thinking that Rush Limbaugh just MIGHT have a FEW Words on the Greatest SELL OUT of a U.S. Ally in U.S. History!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Should be a Pretty Good SHOW Today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And just to Refresh Your Memory on What I'm TALKING About.......................

AP Exclusive: Iran may run centrifuges at fortified site
Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.

The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.

IRAN Will be at the CENTER of the Most Violent Period in the History of the Middle East!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shell cuts jobs in North Sea as low oil price hits Aberdeen

Aberdeen and North Sea hit as Shell cuts 250 staff and contractors offshore
By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor

Britain' largest oil company Royal Dutch Shell has said it plans to cut jobs and adjust shifts in the North Sea in a bid to counter the impact of falling oil prices on its operations in Aberdeen.

The company said on Thursday that it will reduce the number of staff and agency contractors in employs in the North Sea by 250 in 2015 in a bid to cut costs.

The news will come as a blow to the UK's major oil producing hub of Aberdeen after the Chancellor George Osborne announced a package of measures in the budget to boost the offshore petroleum industry.

“The North Sea has been a challenging operating environment for some time," said Paul Goodfellow, Shell’s upstream vice president for the UK and Ireland. "Reforms to the fiscal regime announced in the budget are a step in the right direction, but the industry must redouble its efforts to tackle costs and improve profitability if the North Sea is to continue to attract investment.”

The company, which is the most valuable listed on the London Stock Exchange, reiterated a warning issued by Oil & Gas UK that a fifth of North Sea oil is unprofitable to produce with oil prices set at around $50 per barrel due to the region's high production costs. The company said that the latest staffing cut were in line with the broader operating challenges in the North Sea. 

Saudi battle for Yemen exposes fragility of global oil supply

OPEC's oil giant has daggers drawn with Iran, is encircled by enemies, and now faces a failed state on its southern border
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor

The long-simmering struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for Mid-East supremacy has escalated to a dangerous new level as the two sides fight for control of Yemen, reminding markets that the epicentre of global oil supply remains a powder keg.

Brent oil prices spiked 6pc to $58 a barrel after a Saudi-led coalition of ten Sunni Muslim states mobilized 150,000 troops and launched air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, prompting a furious riposte from Tehran.

Analysts expect crude prices to command a new “geo-political premium” as it becomes clear that Saudi Arabia has lost control over the Yemen peninsular and faces a failed state on its 1,800 km southern border, where Al Qaeda can operate with near impunity.

Over 3.8m barrels a day (b/d) pass through the 18-mile Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen, one of the world's key choke points for crude oil supply. While there is little likelihood of disruption to tanker traffic, Saudi Arabia is increasingly threatened by Shiite or Jihadi enemies of different kinds.

Shiite Houthi rebels have already seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and pose a potential contagion risk for aggrieved Shia minorities across the Saudi border in the kingdom’s Southwest pocket, never an area friendly to the ruling Wahhabi dynasty in Riyadh.

Tough Outlook for Central Asian Economies

The ADB has published a discouraging outlook for the next two years.
By Paolo Sorbello 

A report recently published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) outlined a forecast for the “Developing Asia” region, which spans Central Asia to the Pacific. Low oil prices have helped Eastern emerging markets to counterbalance the strengthening of the dollar vis-à-vis global currencies and commodities. Thus, growth in the area covered by the ADB will remain constant at 6.3 percent for the next two years; even inflation is supposed to fall on average. Through the looking glass, however, Central Asian countries are the ones bound to suffer the most.

According to the ADB classification, “Central Asia” includes all eight countries in the post-Soviet region to the south of Russia (from Georgia to Kyrgyzstan). Across the region, the depreciation of the national currencies will trigger inflation, while low oil prices will negatively affect the budget in several countries that rely on the windfalls from hydrocarbon exports. A boon for the rest of energy-dependent Asia, falling oil prices can be a curse for Central Asia. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are all poised to suffer.

The crisis in the Russian Federation, caused by diminishing revenues from energy export and the fall of the ruble, worsened by Western sanctions, will result in a shrinking labor market, pushing Central Asian migrant workers away. The tougher legislation on foreign workers – who have to pass a Russian language proficiency exam and meet the requirements to enroll in health insurance schemes – will also limit the possibilities for migrant workers, who might choose other destinations. In fact, most Central Asian currencies have not devalued as much as the ruble against the dollar, which means that remittances have been losing value. The galloping inflation and the threats of further devaluation induce the ADB to see “recession next door” for Central Asia.

Economic setbacks in Russia have also influenced Central Asian exports. “Exports from Central Asia declined, by 5.4%, with sharp reductions in petroleum shipments and sluggish demand from the Russian Federation” writes the ADB. A negative trend in the trade balance will turn into a small current account deficit for 2015 across the region. To sustain growth, countries that have the financial possibility are funding construction projects with government money. Rising unemployment and cuts in social expenditures could be a threat to the stability of the regimes all across the region. One of the most troublesome sectors, according to the ADB, is the mining industry, poised to fall by 10 percent in 2015 in Kazakhstan. In Tajikistan, the national aluminum company, TAlCo, will experience a 30 percent drop in output this year, which is potentially dangerous for the whole economy as it represents the country’s leading exporter. In Kyrgyzstan, instability at the Canadian-controlled Kumtor gold mine can jeopardize output for the single most important business venture in the country. 

5 Things To Ponder: Random Musings
By Lance Roberts

"Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday there was little risk of a misstep that would force the Fed to lower rates once it begins raising them.

The economy is in solid shape to weather the upcoming turn to tightening monetary policy Lockhart, said at an investment education conference in Detroit.

"'Conditions are pretty solid,' said Lockhart, who regards an initial rate hike at the June, July or September Fed meetings as a high probability. 'I take the decision pretty seriously,' Lockhart said. 'Once we start, I want to be able to move deliberately towards higher rates.'"

This is a pretty common meme among the majority of economists as of late, and particularly surprising coming from the Atlanta Fed President considering:

The U.S. is currently more than 6-years into an economic recovery (long by historic standards), and;

The Atlanta Fed's own GDPNow forecast is pegging a near 0% growth rate for the first quarter.

But let's take a look at the decline in durable goods orders this week. Paul McCully, the former legendary economist and fund manager at PIMCO, viewed durable goods a bit differently than the mainstream analysis generally given. He preferred the year-over-year trend of the 3-month moving average of core CAPEX orders as an indicator of broader economic activity over the next few quarters. If you are currently "bullish" on the direction of the US economy, you may want to take a closer look at the chart below.

Bonus Read: Barclay's Says Oil Bottom Not In

Barclays sees prices bottoming somewhere in the mid-$30s for West Texas Intermediate crude oil and in the low- to mid-$40s for Brent and expects "further widening in oil market contangos as more expensive storage needs to get incentivised."

Over the last few months, the number of oil rigs in use in the US has collapsed, but Barclays doesn't think that enough production has yet come offline for this to impact production. Barclays writes that:

HERE are FAR More than 5 ISSUES to Ponder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are Equities Overvalued?
By Michael Spence

Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Academic Board Chairman of the Fung Global Institute

MILAN – Since the global economic crisis, sharp divergences in economic performance have contributed to considerable stock-market volatility. Now, equity prices are reaching relatively high levels by conventional measures – and investors are starting to get nervous.

Chip Implosion: TSM, Currency, Durables, Take Your Pick  
By Tiernan Ray

As I noted earlier, it was a terrible day for chip stocks. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) closed down 33.05 points, almost 5%, at 684.73. Individual names fell dramatically: Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) was off $1.96, or 9%, at $19.54; chip equipment supplier Lam Research (LRCX) was down $6.01, or 7.6%, at $72.75; Qorvo (QRVO), the wireless chip maker, was down $6.08, or 7%, at $77.13; and Avago Technologies (AVGO), another wireless name, fell $8.69, or almost 7%, to close at $124.43.

Selloff shows Fed bubble is deflating: Analyst
By Tom DiChristopher

Wednesday's market selloff is a sign that the bubble created by the Federal Reserve's easy money policies is deflating, analyst Peter Boockvar said Thursday.

Noting the Fed's bond-buying policy ended in late October, Boockvar said the New York composite stock exchange is now back to where it was last July and the S&P 500 will heading back to November levels.

KEEP on READING and THEN TELL a FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


Buckle Up! Oil 'could fall to $30' say trading pros

Oil prices continued their downward spiral Friday, falling more than $1, after a short-lived rally of around 5 percent the previous day, as concerns of a disruption to supplies in the Middle East appeared to ease. Against this backdrop, hedge fund managers said the oil price would remain volatile and could even fall as low as $30.

"I believe we have a chance to go down to $30 and then going back up towards $50 or so by the end of the year," Pierre Andurand, who made his name and fortune in 2008 by predicting a sharp rise and collapse in oil prices, told CNBC.

Brent crude was at $58.15 a barrel Friday morning, down $1.22. Meanwhile, U.S. crude was down $1.06 at $50.37 a barrel, after dropping to a low of $50.25 earlier in the day.

Prices have been hit over the last 9 months by a continuing glut in supply and lack of demand. In the last few days, however, investors have become more jittery after a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against a rebel uprising in Yemen, which could impact the region's oil industry. 

You Should See the Reasons Cited for the Plunge of the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index
By Wolf Richter

“We don’t see the economy being as strong as portrayed in the media.”

The manufacturing survey for March released today by the Kansas City Fed isn’t the most important manufacturing survey in the US. It covers the Tenth Federal Reserve District: the western third of Missouri; all of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming; and the northern half of New Mexico. Not exactly large centers of manufacturing.

So the fact that the index plunged in March, after having been in growth mode for over a year, doesn’t say that much about the state of the overall US economy, which is mostly a service economy. It doesn’t speak volumes about US manufacturing either, though the plunge parallels other recent data. But the reasons cited for the plunge by the people who’re fighting it out on a daily basis in the trenches of American business are important – and we have seen similar reasons cited by the Dallas Fed.

The composite index – an average of the indices for production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory – dropped from +3 in January and +1 in February to -4 in March. This ugly trend looks like this:

Oil giants unwind China bets after plunge in crude prices
The Wall Street Journal

Global oil companies are unwinding some big bets they made on China — and that is bad news for the Chinese companies, which need their know-how.

Falling oil prices have forced oil bosses to slash planned investments that now look less likely to provide good returns. Projects in China, often expensive and geologically risky, are high on the list of those to be cut.

Royal Dutch Shell emerged as one of the industry’s biggest China proponents in recent years, pledging billions of dollars to hunt for shale gas while building up businesses producing and selling oil products.

The company is now scaling back investment in China shale exploration after several years of costly challenges. The company in 2012 signed a production-sharing contract with PetroChina, China’s biggest oil and gas producer by ­volume.

Shell is also seeking to sell its domestic China lubricants brand and its operations, sources say. It has scrapped a multi-billion-dollar joint venture with PetroChina to export liquefied natural gas — a supercooled form of natural gas that can be loaded on to ships for transport — in Australia, amid high costs and falling prices.

Shell isn’t alone. In the past year, Houston-based oil explorers Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy have completed deals to sell operations in China. Hess Corporation said it was quitting a shale exploration deal with PetroChina, while BP said it had withdrawn from three exploratory blocks in the South China Sea, writing off $US100 million ($128m) of exploration costs.

“These companies thought $US100 oil was going to stay,” said Gordon Kwan, regional head of Asia-Pacific oil-and-gas research at Nomura.

“They have to prioritise the projects based on returns, and the projects in China tend to be lower return, other things being equal, simply because of higher costs.” US oil traded at $US52.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange early yesterday, pushing above $US50 a barrel for the first time since March 9.

The pullback by some oil companies reflects a challenge facing China, where energy demand is losing momentum. China already imports about 60 per cent of the oil it needs, a figure that will rise as domestic production has plateaued, say industry analysts. Imports of natural gas — widely used in industry and power generation — have also climbed.

Chinese companies need foreign expertise to help tap hard-to-get resources at home. In projects overseas, China’s oil companies remain reliant on experienced international partners to lead the way.

Nigeria's External Reserves Fall Below U.S.$30 Billion
By Obinna Chima

The value of Nigeria's external reserves, which has been on the downswing in the past few weeks, fell below the $30 billion mark to $29.865 billion as at March 25, 2015, according to latest Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN's) figures.

THISDAY's findings show that the current level of the foreign reserves, which is derived mainly from the proceeds of crude oil earnings, has fallen by 13.4 per cent or $4.628 billion this year, compared with the $34.493 billion it stood at the beginning of the year.

This has been attributed to the significant reduction in forex inflow into the country occasioned by the sustained low crude oil prices.

Oil prices however rallied for a second straight day on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies began air strikes in Yemen, sparking fears of a bigger Middle East battle that could disrupt world crude supplies. Brent crude was up $2.45 to close at $58.93 a barrel on Thursday.

Meanwhile, foreign investors on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) sold off N132.68 billion ($667 million) stocks in the first two months of the year, data from the NSE has shown, hurt by a weaker naira currency and jitters over tomorrow's elections.

Nigeria faces a presidential election with front runners President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari facing off in a contest many think is too close to call.

The electoral body last month delayed the polls by six-weeks to March 28 citing security concerns, sending financial markets into a tailspin, with the naira crashing through a psychological level of 200 to the dollar for the first time

Canadian dollar at 80 cents, oil at $51 after Yemen air strikes

Fear that oil shipments to Europe might be disrupted boosts price of crude
CBC News

The Canadian dollar bounced above 80 cents as oil soared on news of Saudi air strikes on Yemen.

The loonie was trading at 80.18 at the close. It has trended mostly below 80 cents since the end of January as oil prices dropped.

But crude has had strong gains for the past two days. The West Texas Intermediate contract, traded in New York, was up $2.12 at $51.33 U.S. a barrel, off its week-ago lows of $44 a barrel. WTI is still down 3.6 per cent on the year.

Brent, the most commonly traded international contract, was up $2.59 at $50.07 a barrel. That's a gain of 4.3 per cent today and above its level at the beginning of the year.

Western Canada Select, a Canadian contract that sank below $30 last week, is up $2.42 today alone at $38.63.

TD Bank downgraded its estimated for Canadian GDP growth yesterday and today Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz acknowledged first quarter growth would be lacklustre.

""FALLING Crude OIL Prices"".........................The PAIN has ONLY Just BEGUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Coming CORRECTION "IS" going to be FRICKING BRUTAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Ukraine's debt rescue plan is in trouble

Washington (AFP) - A default by Ukraine on $3 billion in debt owed to Russia this year could threaten the International Monetary Fund's lifeline to the embattled country, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.

The Ukrainian government has begun negotiations with creditors for $15 billion in debt relief, part of a $40 billion, four-year financial rescue envisioned by the IMF.

The Fund has approved a $17.5 billion loan to Ukraine as part of the package in exchange for the government's successful implementation of economic, budget and monetary reforms. It has disbursed an initial $5 billion payment.

But, the IMF has warned, the breakdown of a frail ceasefire with pro-Russia rebels in the country's east, the failure to reschedule its debt with private lenders, or domestic political issues could all undermine the plan.

Kiev's debt includes $3 billion lent by Russia in 2010 to the previous Moscow-backed government.

An IMF rule could threaten continuation of the Ukraine aid program. It bars the Fund from lending to a country that has defaulted on a loan in the "official" sector, that is, from a state or public institution. 

Putin Plays Wildcard as Ukraine Bond Restructuring Talks Begin
By Ksenia Galouch and koLyubov Pronina

(Bloomberg) -- As Ukraine begins bond-restructuring talks, it finds itself face-to-face with a familiar foe: Russia.

President Vladimir Putin, who the U.S. and its allies accuse of sending troops and weapons into Ukraine to back a separatist uprising, bought $3 billion of Ukrainian bonds in late 2013. The cash was meant to support an ally, then-President Viktor Yanukovych. While his government fell just two months later, Russia was left with the securities.

Now, those holdings take on an added importance as Putin’s stance on the debt talks could affect the terms that all other bondholders get in the restructuring. Russia, which is Ukraine’s second-biggest bondholder, has maintained that it won’t take part in any restructuring deal. Here are the three most likely tacks -- as seen by money managers and analysts -- that Putin’s government could pursue.

Russia Holds Out 

The Political Perils of a Ukraine Default
By Marc Champion

For the last 10 days, Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko has been visiting private creditors in Europe and the U.S. to explain why they should help her create a "new Ukraine," by agreeing to write off some of its debt. Back home, meanwhile, an oligarch with a private army was busy occupying two state energy companies in a style decidedly reminiscent of the old Ukraine.

The contrast is no criticism of Jaresko, an American-Ukrainian from Chicago who seems committed to the economic reform Ukraine needs. Indeed, the attempt by Igor Kolomoisky, a billionaire businessman and regional governor, to keep control of two state energy companies is grist for the pitch she’s been making to private holders of Ukraine’s sovereign debt.

Jaresko says they'll never get a better price for their bonds than now, because there’s a calm amid the Ukrainian storm. There's something resembling a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine; the currency is stable(ish); there’s a government committed to reform under the International Monetary Fund’s $40 billion loan program; and that government has support for that in parliament.

Her list of shocks that could end this lull is longer and all too plausible -- especially if the country's creditors don't help out before May, potentially forcing the IMF to withdraw its program and force a disorderly default.

Jaresko says she assumes that Russian President Vladimir Putin's game plan in Ukraine is to turn it into a failed state -- so it's likely the war in the east will reignite. Next, the five-party coalition in parliament could easily fall apart. The banking system is weak and riddled with fraud and corruption, a recipe for financial meltdown. And although Ukrainians have so far quietly endured plunging living standards since last year, an eruption of social unrest is all too possible. 

Kiev, Moscow, Bonds and Haircuts
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer

When money managers talk outside their narrow field, nonsense is guaranteed to ensue. No better example than this Bloomberg piece on Ukraine’s ‘debt restructuring’ plans, which are as much a political tool as they are anything else at all. Ukraine’s American Finance Minister has announced a broad restructuring plan with a wide range of severe haircuts for creditors, and she – well, obviously – wishes to include Russia in the group of creditors who are about to get their heads shaved.

And despite all obvious angles to the issue that are not purely economical, Bloomberg presents a whole array of finance professionals who are free to spout their entirely irrelevant opinions on the topic. If you didn’t know any better, you’d be inclined to think that perhaps Russia is indeed just another creditor to Kiev.

Putin Plays Wildcard as Ukraine Bond Restructuring Talks Begin

As Ukraine begins bond-restructuring talks, it finds itself face-to-face with a familiar foe: Russia. President Vladimir Putin bought $3 billion of Ukrainian bonds in late 2013. The cash was meant to support an ally, then-President Yanukovych.

That is, for starters, a far too narrow way of putting it. Russia simply wanted to make sure Ukraine would remain a stable nation, both politically and economically, because A) it didn’t want a failed state on its borders and B) it wanted to ensure a smooth transfer of its gas sales to Europe through the Ukraine pipeline systems. Whether that would be achieved through Yanukovych or someone else was a secondary issue. Putin was never a big fan of the former president, but at least he kept the gas flowing.

Ukraine Tells Bondholders to Expect Some Losses

Moscow — Holders of Ukrainian bonds, already beleaguered by the last year of war and upheaval in that country, should expect to lose some of their principal in negotiations with the government, Ukraine’s finance minister said Tuesday.

Bondholders including the country’s largest single creditor, the investment fund Franklin Templeton, which is based in San Mateo, Calif., have been holding out for an agreement to extend the bonds’ maturities but not write off principal.

Some form of restructuring, though, was inevitable after Ukraine’s security and economic situation unraveled over the last year and a requirement was written into an International Monetary Fund bailout that private sector creditors take some losses.

Natalia A. Jaresko, the finance minister, met privately with more than a dozen of the largest creditors from the United States and Britain in recent days, before warning on Tuesday in a series of interviews in London that creditors should not “hold out” against a settlement.

Default Threat Haunts Ukrainian Corporate Debt Investors

Concerns mount amid fears of a default on government bonds
By Josie Cox

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko’s tour of Europe this week has done little to placate fears that the country is hurtling toward a costly default on its government bonds.

But now concerns are mounting that Ukraine’s companies may face the same fate. Economists are warning that a wave of corporate defaults is all but inevitable.

The prolonged recession and conflict with Russia have for months hit sales, and the foreign investors that companies need for financing have stayed away from Ukraine even as they have taken on more risk elsewhere.

On Tuesday, Moody’s Investors Service slashed its rating on Ukraine to “Ca,” the second worst on its scale, saying the likelihood that holders of government bonds will face big losses is growing. A default by the government would hit companies’ credit ratings, too.

But that is not the only problem.

Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, has plummeted more than 50% against the dollar in the past year. That has made it cripplingly expensive for companies that issued bonds in dollars but have revenue in hryvnia to service that debt. Companies dependent on imports from abroad, meanwhile, have to stump up much more cash to buy their goods too, also hurting earnings.

UKRAINE Default..............................European BANKS are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ROTFLMFAO in TEARS AGAIN with this Bit of NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TO All American ""LIBERALS""......................The ""PRICKS"" YOU Clowns continue to Elect and Send to the ***City of PAIN***(Washington) have REALLY Screwed UP this TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obamacare "IS" Totally SCREWING the U.S. Economy and it's only going to get WORSE from HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

You PEOPLE out there who think YOU Can't get out of BED without the Helping Hand of Government better WAKE the FUCK UP because Obamacare JUST Might Cost YOU Your JOB in the Coming U.S. RECESSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It's Official: Americans Spent All Their "Gas Savings" On Obamacare

Last quarter, when we showed what was "The Reason For The "Surge" In Q3 GDP", some were shocked to learn that in the quarter in which US GDP posted a 5% surge, it was none other than Obamacare - a mandatory tax according to the Supreme Court which has the benefit of flowing through the US income statement - which contributed the bulk of this upside. 

U.S. Q1 GDP "IS" Trending near ""***ZERO***""......................CHINA YOU have some SERIOUS Economic HELL Coming at YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Final Q4 GDP Unchanged At 2.2%, Below Expectations; Corporate Profits Tumble

So much for the "self-sustaining", "escape-velocity" recovery. Again.

After rising at an annualized pace of 4.6% and 5.0% in Q2 and Q3, the final Q4 GDP estimate (a number which will still be revised at least 3-4 times in the coming years), slid more than half to 2.2%, the same as the second estimate from a month ago, and below the consensus Wall Street estimate of 2.4%.

The Coming CORRECTION "IS" going to be FRICKING BRUTAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
China's Big Banks Double Their Write-offs--Update
By Dinny McMahon
Dow Jones

BEIJING--Faced with growing numbers of bad loans, China's biggest banks are ramping up efforts to get rid of them.

China's major banks last year wrote or spun off more than twice what they did in 2013 to keep the fallout from a slowdown in China's economy from lingering on their balance sheets. As a result, the biggest continued to report nonperforming loan ratios close to 1%, an enviable level in the banking world.

But the write-offs show the problems facing China's financial system. The world's No. 2 economy posted its slowest growth in more than two decades last year, and many local government and big state-owned companies are still grappling with the hangover from China's post-2008 lending binge. A further slowdown could hit the lenders even harder this year, as they face letting bad loans rise or pursuing more write-offs that would further crimp profit growth.

On Friday, China Construction Bank Corp. the last of China's major banks to publish results, said it earned 227.83 billion yuan ($37 billion) in net profit last year, up 6.1% from 214.66 billion yuan in 2013.

It wrote off 35.66 billion yuan worth of loans last year, more than double the 16.7 billion yuan in 2013.

In 2014, China's four biggest banks-- Bank of China Ltd., Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and CC--wrote off and transferred out 128.98 billion yuan in loans last year. That marks a surge from 2013, when they wrote off 52.11 billion yuan. Compared with nonperforming loans they kept on their books, 2014's write-offs came to about one-quarter of the size, compared with 15% in 2013. 

Planet EARTH, I have BEEN Warning for 3 YEARS that CHINA "IS" the BIGGEST ""FRAUD"" on the Planet and HERE "IS" More Proof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

READ People and then TELL a FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is China’s 1929 moment coming?
By Matt O'Brien

It's weird to worry about China when it's still growing more than 7 percent a year, but it's a little less so when you consider how mammoth its credit bubble has gotten.

The numbers are historic. China's total debt has sprouted from 153 percent of gross domestic product in 2008 to 282 percent today. That, according to Goldman Sachs, makes China's borrowing binge bigger than 96 percent of all others on record. The problem is that, despite all this debt, growth is slowing and profits are falling, which makes it harder for companies to pay back what they owe. So does the fact that inflation is down to just 0.8 percent. It's no surprise, then, that China's central bank just eased policy for the third time in as many months, cutting its benchmark rates by a quarter of a percentage point, to try to avoid the kind of low growth, low inflation trap that the rest of the world has fallen into.

""China Reality Check"": Has the Hard Landing in China Already Started?
By Center for Strategic & International Studies

China’s economic growth rate fell to 7.4% in 2014, and many believe the official figure is actually more generous than the reality. Most forecasts expect growth to come in well under 7.0% in 2015. What are we to make of these trends? Are we at the beginning of a hard landing where the long history of structural inefficiencies are finally and inescapably being revealed and the possibilities of a financial crisis more ever looming? Or are we in a gradual shift toward a “new normal” of healthier and still relatively robust growth as a result of foresighted policy adjustments? Or is something else going on altogether? Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder of J Capital Research, is a veteran analyst of the China’s economy and economic policy process. She travels widely in China in order to compare official data with actual behavior and performance. Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal is a leading expert on macroeconomic policy and recently completed an extended posting in Beijing, where he wrote regularly about China’s economy. 

China January-February industrial profits down 4.2 percent year on year, worst drop since 2012

China’s industrial profits fell 4.2 percent in January-February from a year earlier as the economy slowed and profit margins deteriorated, moderating from an 8 percent drop in December but still the sharpest decline in the first two months since 2012.

Industrial firms made a combined profit of 745.2 billion yuan ($119.91 billion) in January-February, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

It was the biggest drop in the period since profits fell 5.2 percent in early 2012.

He Ping, an official at the bureau, said that a 5.5 percent decline in raw materials purchasing prices in the first two months cut firms’ costs by 564 billion yuan.

But a 4.6 percent drop in factory-gate prices cut their revenues by 733 billion yuan, resulting in a net profit fall of 169 billion yuan.

“The pace of profit decline in January and February narrowed by 3.8 percentage points from December and changed the trend of an acceleration in profit decline since the fourth quarter,” He said.

The findings are largely in line with recent factory surveys which suggest weaker demand is forcing companies to cut their selling prices at a faster rate, eroding the benefits of cheaper input prices. Overcapacity in many heavy industries and tougher environmental measures are also pressuring some larger firms.

Large and medium-sized Chinese steelmakers lost a combined 3.15 billion yuan in the first two months of the year as consumption shrank, China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) Vice Chairman Wang Liqun told an industry conference on Thursday.

McKinsey Global Institute

Debt and (not much) deleveraging
February 2015
By Richard Dobbs, Susan Lund, Jonathan Woetzel, and Mina Mutafchieva

Seven years after the bursting of a global credit bubble resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, debt continues to grow. In fact, rather than reducing indebtedness, or deleveraging, all major economies today have higher levels of borrowing relative to GDP than they did in 2007. Global debt in these years has grown by $57 trillion, raising the ratio of debt to GDP by 17 percentage points (Exhibit 1). That poses new risks to financial stability and may undermine global economic growth.

Exhibit 1

Since the Great Recession, global debt has increased by $57 trillion, outpacing world GDP growth. 

China’s Economy—Hard or Soft Landing?
By Yexin Mao

A panel at The Heritage Foundation on March 11 discussed whether China’s economy is heading toward a “hard” or “soft” landing. Heritage’s Walter Lohman chaired this panel of experts, which included Dr. James Dorn of the Cato Institute, Pieter Bottelier of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins Univeristy, and Heritage’s Dr. William T. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson talked about the danger of a hard landing because of the potential debt crisis. “I think China has the capacity to handle the financial crisis. But the question is whether China can manage this without a significant slowdown in growth,” Wilson said. The evidence suggests that countries have never undergone this level of debt buildup without a financial crisis.

Despite having the world’s second largest economy, China’s economic miracle may not be sustainable. According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, fueled by real estate and shadow banking, China’s total debt has nearly quadrupled since 2007, from $7 trillion to $24 trillion. China’s debt, which is 282 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), is manageable, but it is larger than that of the United States or Germany. Moreover, a recent article in The Economist suggests that China’s working-age population peaked in 2012 and is now on a downward trend. Investment also looks to have topped out at 49 percent of GDP, a level few countries have ever seen. China’s technological gap is narrower than in the past, implying that productivity growth will be lower, too. In addition, significant environmental pollution has threatened China’s economic growth.

China’s Communist Party leaders have realized this problem. President Xi Jinping proposed the “new normal” theory that, first, the economy has shifted gear from high speed to medium-to-high-speed growth. Second, the structure of the economy is constantly improved and upgraded. Third, the economy is increasingly driven by innovation instead of input and investment.

Australian coal prices fall as Chinese demand suffer

Reuters reported that Australian physical coal prices have fallen to levels not seen since before the global financial crisis as Chinese demand suffers from slower economic growth and new environmental rules, with analysts predicting the market could slump further.

China's slowdown, which has seen its economy expand at its slowest rate in 25 years, is throwing many coal and iron ore miners that rely largely on sales to China into crisis.

China depends on coal for almost 70% of its energy needs and is also the world's biggest producer of steel, for which iron ore and coking coal are key ingredients. Yet its steel demand is falling as harsher environmental inspections and a lower gear in the economy force steel mills to cut output. Its coal demand fell last year for the first time in decades as Beijing stepped up its "war on pollution".

Prompt cargoes from Australia's Newcastle terminal last settled at USD 56.60 a tonne, down more than 60% since prices peaked in 2011 after Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis and Australian floods hit mining output.

For the first time since January, Newcastle prices have also become cheaper than cargoes delivered into Europe's main ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, where the price also includes freight, and prompt cargoes last settled at $US60.95 a tonne.

China stocks may be in serious bubble

As market volumes explode, even teenagers are buying
By Laura He

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Some say that when the average “mom-and-pop” retail investors get back into the stock market, it could be time to get out. But what about when even teenagers start buying?

China has entered a new stock frenzy, like something out of America in the Roaring 20s or the dottiest days of the dot-com bubble, with trading volumes continuing to push to new record highs.

On Wednesday, combined trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets hit 1.24 trillion yuan ($198 billion), the seventh straight session in which turnover surpassed the 1 trillion yuan mark. By comparison, the New York Stock Exchange typically saw $40 billion-$50 billion a day in trading during the first two months of this year.

The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.24%  is hovering near its seven-year closing high of 3,691, hit on Tuesday when the index completed a 10-session winning streak.

For the year so far, the benchmark is up 13.8%, making it the best-performing major East Asian stock index of 2015 to date, though it still has a way to go to match 2014’s 53% surge.

The lure of flush times on the Shanghai market is sweeping in unlikely investors by the hundreds of thousands. This week, both the China Securities Daily and the Beijing Morning Post had dueling reports about recent college graduates and, yes, teenagers buying shares.

Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River

(Bloomberg) -- China’s biggest banks are accelerating cuts to their dividend payouts as bad debts pile up from struggling exporters in the Pearl River Delta, coal companies in the nation’s west and manufacturers in the Bohai Rim near Beijing.

Three of the nation’s four largest banks, including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., this week cut their payment ratios for 2014 by the most in three years. ICBC’s fell to 33 percent from 35 percent a year earlier. The smaller China Citic Bank Corp. last week eliminated its payment altogether.

Rising charges for bad debts -- ICBC more than doubled provisions in the fourth quarter -- are cutting profits just as regulators require banks to hold extra capital. The average gain in net income for four of the five biggest banks -- ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of Communications Co. -- was 6.7 percent, the weakest in more than a decade, their results showed this week.

“The new normal for the Chinese economy and banking sector includes sluggish growth and persistent credit deterioration,” Jim Antos, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., said in a note on Friday. He sees the biggest banks’ payout ratios gradually dropping to 30 percent, the minimum allowed for state-owned enterprises.

Who Can Fix China's Bad Banks? -
Presented by: The Aol. On Network

Bad loans are rising at Chinese banks, but who will bear the cost of fixing them? Economist Michael Pettis discusses the priorities for the Chinese financial system.

Profit Growth Shrivels for China’s Big Four Banks

Bad loans, narrowing interest weigh on profits. Why ICBC and Bank of China hold up better than ABC.
By Isabella Zhong

China’s slowing economy is really starting to take its toll on the country’s biggest banks.

Sector leader Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, or ICBC ( 1398.HK ), was the latest to announce wan fourth-quarter results. The world’s largest bank by assets saw quarterly profits decline year-over-year for the first time since 2009, with net income falling 3% from a year ago to 55.4 billion yuan, or RMB0.15 a share. That missed the mark of the RMB58.2 billion analysts had forecast.

“Strong topline growth and tight operating cost control was offset by surging bad loan provision costs,” writes Bernstein analyst Wei Hou, who maintained his overweight rating on ICBC.

Rival Agricultural Bank of China, or ABC ( 1288.HK ), also felt the drag, with the lender’s fourth-quarter earnings falling 5% from a year earlier. Bank of China ( 3988.HK ), the other of the big four Chinese banks to have announced results recently, fared slightly better with fourth-quarter earnings up 5% compared to a year ago.

Amid the tougher times, all three banks had cut dividend payout to 33%.

China Construction Bank ( 939.HK ) is scheduled to report earnings after the market closes Friday, and analysts expect it to see per-share profits of RMB0.17, up slightly from RMB0.15 a year earlier.

Bad loans had swelled last year for all three of ABC, Bank of China and ICBC. The manufacturing sector, which is usually among the hardest hit in a slowing economy, was a common weak spot. However, because ABC’s loan book has higher exposure to the manufacturing sector than that of ICBC and Bank of China, the lender had suffered a sharper spike in bad loans.

ABC’s non-performing loan ratio jumped 0.32 of a percentage point in 2014 to 1.54%. That compares to increases of 0.19 of a percentage point for ICBC, and 0.22 of a percentage point for Bank of China. Barclays analyst Sharnie Wong cautions ABC’s “faster-than-expected growth in non-performing loans is a major concern going forward.” ICBC and Bank of China also have markedly lower level s of non-performing loans, at 1.13% and 1.18%, respectively.

China's mid-tier lenders still caught in the shadows
By Don Weinland

Shadow lending at Chinese banks may have slowed last year but many of China's mid-tier banks are not out of the woods given the amount of assets that have ended up off their balance sheets and out of regulatory sight.

Fitch Ratings estimates that an average of 25 per cent of the assets of mid-sized Chinese banks are not accounted for in on-balance-sheet loans.

That is a heap of assets that have circumvented much regulatory scrutiny at a time when the same banks are reporting high rates of bad loans on their balance sheets. China Citic Bank's non-performing loan ratio was 1.3 per cent at the end of last year.

One concern about that off-balance-sheet lending is that much of it may go to borrowers who are denied standard bank loans, said Grace Wu, a senior director at Fitch and an author of the report.

"You would assume that these would be higher-risk loans," Wu said.

As China's economy continues to slow and companies come up short on loan payments, banks will need to worry not only about the official NPL figures climbing. The funds that they have channelled as investments into often highly risky business ventures, most notably real estate and mining projects, may become an even greater concern for banks but without the same oversight as standard bank loans.

Chinese banks turn to Western tricks as bad debts mount

‘ZOMBIE LOANS’:Faced with mounting bad debt, Chinese banks are bundling soured loans and selling them off as possibly high-risk derivative products

Chinese banks are increasingly drawing on Western ways of selling off bad loans, after four of the largest five lenders reported a spike in defaults in an economy stuttering at its slowest growth rate in 25 years.

The lenders plan to expand the practice of selling bad loans bundled into financial products, to reduce the amount of unpaid debt on their books, according to banking insiders.

The practice, though common in the West, was mostly unheard of in China just a year ago. Its uptake reflects a government policy of relaxing restrictions on financial markets to attract investment, as well as banks’ hunger for ways to deal with a worsening bad loan situation as profit growth flags.

However, analysts say the practice masks the true extent of a situation exacerbated by so-called zombie loans neither in default or written off, languishing with cash-strapped local authorities. Central bank encouragement to increase lending and support the economy could only compound matters, they say.

Banks generally reported bad loan ratios — or the percentage of total lending which has soured — of 1 percent to 1.5 percent.

“I think the real level is around 2 to 3 percent,” Shanghai-based Cinda International Securities Ltd (信達國際證券) chief strategist Chen Jiahe (陳嘉禾) said.

Hong Kong-based Amundi Asset Management investment director Leon Goldfeld estimated the true bad debt ratio would reach 9 percent if economic growth slowed to 6 percent, rather than Beijing’s target of about 7 percent.

China HARD Landing......................"IS" Happening NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

China SHADOW Banking..........................BANKING Crisis II Coming at YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOTHING Can STOP the 2015 ""GLOBAL RECESSION"".....................NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Japan "IS" Sooooooooooo Totally SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Topix Charts Evoke Calm Before ’13 Rout as Momentum Gains
By Anna Kitanaka and Toshiro Hasegawa

(Bloomberg) -- Takashi Aoki has seen this chart before.

The Tokyo-based fund manager is watching momentum indicators flashing signals Japan’s stock market is overheating, just as they were two years ago. Then and now, he says, few investors cared. When the pullback came in May 2013, it was abrupt: hints that the U.S. Federal Reserve would unwind stimulus drove the Topix index down 15 percent in 10 days.

“It was just like Black Monday in 1987, but also strangely calm,” said Aoki, who helps oversee about $33 billion at Mizuho Asset Management Co. “The market was overbought then, as it is now. And there was the prospect of Fed tightening. But the correction in 2013 was very sharp. It should be less extreme this time.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Whole LOT of PEOPLE around the WORLD are Going to ""DIE"" thanks to Obama and the ASSHOLES who Reelected HIM in 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU All better READ and Listen to these Videos because THIS SHIT "IS" about to GET REAL Serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

America Loses No Matter Who Wins the Next Great Middle East War
By Christopher Dickey

It’s a potentially apocalyptic fight between some of the closest U.S. allies and the country America is desperately trying to court. Will Washington really join in?

A cataclysmic war is taking shape in Yemen, one that pits nearly all of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East against Iran and its proxies in a fight that could quickly spin out of control.

A Saudi-led bombing campaign already has begun and troops from Egypt and some other countries may soon intervene on the ground.

All of this was done, according to a Saudi source who is part of the inner circle in Riyadh, without significant American involvement.  “We have done this on our own,” this source told The Daily Beast. While the U.S. has a handful of people in a Saudi operations center, the source noted, that this coalition was pulled together and went into action without the U.S. leadership that characterized, for instance, the Desert Shield/Desert Storm operations of 1990 and 1991. The Saudis have dubbed this operation “Decisive Storm.”

Ten Arab countries are involved, including not only those of the Gulf, but Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and even Sudan. Turkey—which has the second biggest military in NATO, after the United States—may be the next to join. “The Iranian influence has to be challenged,” said this Saudi source.

But the question now, at the start of what could be the start of the next great Middle Eastern war is: How far will Washington really go back its old allies? And will it risk alienating its new negotiating partner in Tehran? 

Yemen, Mideast on verge of Arab Spring 2: Expert
By Michelle Fox   

The Middle East is on the verge of what has to be called Arab Spring 2, the executive chair of the Global Energy Symposium said on Thursday.

A Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes on Yemen on Thursday to combat Shiite rebels who have overrun much of the country.

All of this means more uncertainty in the region's stability and in oil prices, he said.

"Even though Yemen does not have a cog to play in the exporting of oil, the entire region now is becoming less stable and that's disconcerting," Kent Moors said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"The worst is really yet to come in terms of the uncertainty."

  ""Saudi ***FIRST STRIKE*** on Tehran""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

'Proxy War' On Yemen - And The U.S. Is In The Middle

Oliver North on Iran, Yemen chaos, nukes: Saudi Arabia and allies launching strikes against Shiite rebels, who are allied with Iran - while the U.S. tries to play both sides of the fence.
Fox News   

The Battle For Saudi Arabia Begins 
By Richard Fernandez 

Yemen’s US backed president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled Yemen ahead of an advancing column of Houthi rebels as the Kingdom moved up major military units to its southern border. The New York Times reports: 

But the collapsing regime’s defense minister did not flee quickly enough. The Washington Post says the rebels have the Yemeni official in their custody.  The Telegraph says the Saudis are “moving heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen, US officials said on Tuesday, raising the risk that the Middle East’s top oil power will be drawn into the worsening Yemeni conflict.” 

An evolution of Yemen's Sunni-Shia war
12 Hours Ago

With the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen intensifying, Firas Abi Ali, head of Middle East analysis at IHS Country Risk, talks about what's taking place.

Iran, Saudi Arabia fighting bloody proxy wars across region
By Zeina Karam and Lee Keath

BEIRUT — Airstrikes on Sanaa herald Yemen’s emergence as the latest theater for the proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran.

The two regional powers have long fought for supremacy, and their competition for power has become perhaps the most defining feature shaping the Middle East’s relentless chaos and bloodshed.

Over the years, Tehran’s influence spread across a corridor formed by Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, three countries across the northern rim of the Arab Middle East that have significant Shiite populations. Resentful over a history of discrimination by Sunnis, many Shiites in those countries have been happy to turn to non-Arab Iran.

"The mideast is on fire" - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham
Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 01:01

Obama's anti-terror strategy suffers setback in Yemen
By Stephen Collinson, CNN

"Leading from behind is not working. The region is on fire," said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is mulling a run for president.

"The vacuum created by America's failure to lead in the Mideast is setting in motion a calamity that could result in a bloodletting between Sunnis and Shiites that we haven't seen in a thousand years." 

New questions about President Obama's Mideast strategy
Iran, Saudi Arabia fighting bloody proxy wars across region
By Zeina Karam and Lee Keath, The Associated Press

BEIRUT — Airstrikes on Sanaa herald Yemen's emergence as the latest theater for the proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran.

The two regional powers have long fought for supremacy, and their competition for power has become perhaps the most defining feature shaping the Middle East's relentless chaos and bloodshed.

Over the years, Tehran's influence spread across a corridor formed by Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, three countries across the northern rim of the Arab Middle East that have significant Shiite populations. Resentful over a history of discrimination by Sunnis, many Shiites in those countries have been happy to turn to non-Arab Iran.

The sweep of Iranian-allied Shiite rebels over large parts of Yemen, on Saudi Arabia's southern border, now adds to the kingdom's fears it is being encircled by Tehran.

The clash between the two camps has also fired Sunni-Shiite religious hatreds, in turn fueling the growth of Sunni extremist and jihadi groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

U.S. Caves to Key Iranian Demands as Nuke Deal Comes Together

Limited options for Congress as Obama seeks to bypass lawmakers
BY: Adam Kredo

LAUSSANE, Switzerland—The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.

U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran.

Until recently, the Obama administration had maintained that it would guarantee oversight on Tehran’s program well into the future, and that it would take the necessary steps to ensure that oversight would be effective. The issue has now emerged as a key sticking point in the talks.

Concern from sources familiar with U.S. concessions in the talks comes amid reports that Iran could be permitted to continue running nuclear centrifuges at an underground site once suspected of housing illicit activities.

This type of concession would allow Iran to continue work related to its nuclear weapons program, even under the eye of international inspectors. If Iran removes inspectors—as it has in the past—it would be left with a nuclear infrastructure immune from a strike by Western forces.

“Once again, in the face of Iran’s intransigence, the U.S. is leading an effort to cave even more toward Iran—this time by whitewashing Tehran’s decades of lying about nuclear weapons work and current lack of cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” said one Western source briefed on the talks but who was not permitted to speak on record.

Now THIS has to be the ""MOTHER"" of ALL ""***WTF***"" Moments out of the Obama White House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Obama's Mideast 'free fall'

Mounting chaos in the region puts the administration on the defensive.
By Michael Crowley

Barack Obama faces a slew of Middle East crises that some call the worst in a generation, as new chaos from Yemen to Iraq — along with deteriorating U.S.-Israeli relations — is confounding the president’s efforts to stabilize the region and strike a nuclear deal with Iran.

The meltdown has Obama officials defending their management of a region that some call impossible to control, even as critics say U.S. policies there are partly to blame for the spreading anarchy.

Nuclear Conflict......................The Possibility Growing by the Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

""GLOBAL WAR"" in this DECADE thanks to OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!