Silver Miners’ Q1’20 Fundamentals

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

The silver miners’ stocks have surged higher since mid-March’s COVID-19 stock panic, clocking in some big and fast gains.  Nevertheless, this long-struggling sector remains vexing.  By mid-May as their latest earnings season was wrapping up, the silver stocks were lagging the gold stocks’ powerful upleg.  And the silver miners’ Q1’20 operational and financial results were disappointing compared to the gold miners’.

Silver and its miners’ stocks have had one heck of a roller-coaster ride in recent months.  With primary silver miners a dying breed, and silver stocks languishing deeply out of favor for years, there are only a couple silver-stock ETFs trading in the US.  The leading one remains the SIL Global X Silver Miners ETF.  And it is still tiny, a rounding error with just $527m in net assets in mid-May.  Silver stocks are left for dead.

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Mexico’s President Is Betting Big Against Renewables

By Irina Slav Re-Blogged From Oilprice.com

It sounds like a news report out of yet another dystopian novel: Mexico is halting grid connection for new solar and wind power projects. In a world rushing to produce clean energy, Mexico has suddenly stood out like a sore thumb. But, as usual, there’s more to the story.

The country’s National Energy Control Center, or Cenace, announced it would suspend grid connections of new solar and wind farms until further notice earlier this week. The motivation behind the decision was the intermittency of solar and wind power generation, which, according to the state-owned power market operator, could compromise Mexico’s energy security in difficult times.

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Admin Expands Successful ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program for Processing Migrants

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘I am confident in the program’s continued success in adjudicating meritorious cases quickly and preventing fraudulent claims…’

Trump Admin Expands Successful 'Remain in Mexico'

Migrants go through a processing area at the Migration Protection Protocols Immigration Hearing Facility, in Laredo, Texas. / PHOTO: AP File

(Liberty Headlines) The U.S. government on Thursday began sending asylum-seekers back to Nogales, Mexico, to await court hearings that will be scheduled roughly 350 miles away in Juarez, Mexico.

Authorities are expanding a policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols—or, unofficially dubbed Remain in Mexico—that requires tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait out their immigration court hearings in Mexico.

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Asylum Lockdown Turns up Heat on Tiny Mexican Migrant Agency

Mexico’s tiny asylum agency is already overwhelmed with applicants who are abandoning the American dream because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration measures.

Now, the agency fears the burden on employees already working up to 15 hours a day will increase after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to restore a Trump administration policy banning most asylum applications at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Like many others in Tapachula, a gateway city between Guatemala and Mexico, Danny Perez, a 29-year-old Honduran taxi driver who said he fled to escape extortion by gangs, dreamed of reaching the United States. But as the reality of Trump’s immigration policies sets in, he is trying to settle in Mexico.

Jose Torres/Reuters

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Breaking China Not as Easy as Toppling Tijuana

A bump from Donald Trump’s thump on Mexico’s head is causing the US stock market to swell this week. Trump tariffied the market last week because his new threat against all things Mexican seemed to say Trump might use tariffs as leverage to get anything he wants. Agent Orange apparently got what he wanted — though it remains unclear whether he got anything that wasn’t already in the offing, but he says he did — so the market’s knock on the head is healing this week.

All par for the course in a market that is smoking rope anyway. Soon enough, however, we return to the market thinking it is all about China, and China is an entirely different syndrome than a Mexican border problem that Mexico was already helping with. It’s also a different tariff war than one in which tariffs have already been implemented, negotiated and removed months ago.

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Global Manufacturers Just Shrank For The First Time in 7 Years

Perhaps surprising no one, global manufacturers are now in contraction mode for the first time since 2012. That’s according to the most recent reading of the sector’s health, the purchasing manager’s index (PMI), which headed lower for a record 13th straight month in May. The PMI posted 49.8, down from 50.4 a month earlier. As a reminder, anything above 50.0 indicates expansion; anything below, contraction.

Less than half of world economies’ manufacturing sectors are expanding right now, “the worst showing since the throes of the euro area sovereign debt crisis in 2012,” according to analysis by Neil Dutta, head of economics at Renaissance Macro Research (RenMac).

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Mexico to Limit Migrants Crossing Border

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Mexican and U.S. officials held a second day of talks on trade and migration on Thursday, with markets rebounding on optimism a deal could be close, although it was unclear if Mexican pledges to curb migration flows were enough to persuade the Trump administration to postpone tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned that tariffs of 5% on all Mexican exports to the United States will go into effect on Monday if Mexico does not step up efforts to stem an increase in mostly Central American migrants heading for the U.S. border.

Bilateral talks in Washington began on Wednesday to attempt to strike a deal, with the Mexican government, U.S. business groups and even many of Trump’s fellow Republicans keen to avert the tariffs, the prospect of which has rattled global financial markets.

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Trump to Hit Mexico w/ Tariffs Until it Shuts Off Immigration Spigot

By Agence France-Presse – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated…the Tariffs will be removed…’

Trump insists not in a 'rage' over row with Democrats

Donald Trump/PHOTO: AFP

Washington will impose a five percent tariff on all goods from Mexico — increasing to as much as 25 percent — until “illegal migrants” stop coming through the country into the US, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump tweeted.

“The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed,” he wrote.

According to a White House statement, the tariff will rise to 10 percent on July 1, then increase by five percent increments each month until topping out at 25 percent on October 1.

Gold Sees Safe-Haven Gains As Stocks Fall Sharply And Deutsche Bank Plummets

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Gold rose to a two week high and was higher in most currencies today after Washington’s threat of tariffs on Mexico exacerbated fears of a global trade war and recession, which saw a ‘flight to quality’ and gains for safe haven gold.

Spot gold jumped 0.9% to $1,298.80 an ounce this morning, its highest since May 15. Gold bullion has risen over 1.2% this month and appears headed for its first monthly gain in four months. This is important from a technical perspective and the fundamentals of growing risk aversion and robust demand should lead to further gains in June.

European trading has seen a clear flight to quality after President Trump unexpectedly politicised tariffs by slapping 5% on all goods coming from Mexico.

The increasingly hopeless case of a U.S. and China trade deal looked even further away after China drew up an “Unreliable entities” list of foreign parties (presumably mostly U.S.) that harm Chinese firms.

Stocks are red across the board globally with the S&P 500 breaking down sharply below its 200 day moving average (DMA). 2776 is a key level and Wall Street and Wasshington will not want a close below this level. Market intervention is quite possible, if not likely.

A weekly close below the 200 day moving average (DMA) could lead to follow through selling on Monday which could get ugly given the economic backdrop.

Financial stocks are particularly under pressure including UBS and embattled Deutsche Bank with the latter posting new “all time” lows of around €6. A whiff of contagion is in the air.

US and German bond yields hitting recent lows indicate the Fed might be backed into a rate cut sooner than they have been guiding with an inverting yield curve being a good barometer of trouble ahead

The greenback has also benefited somewhat from the risk off trade, in the face of this, silver and particularly gold are holding up well despite the recent sell off.

$1,300/oz and $14.60/oz are the respective hurdles approaching for both. Weekly closes over these levels should see follow though buying and further gains.

How far down we go, nobody knows, but it makes sense to stay cautious and prepared.

Fasten your seat belts it could be a lively Friday afternoon and weekend…

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Plan to Make Immigration More Merit-Based

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

President Donald Trump will outline on Thursday a plan to harden border security and overhaul the legal immigration system to favor applicants who speak English, are well-educated and have job offers, senior administration officials said.

Trump’s immigration proposal, the product largely of senior advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller and economic aide Kevin Hassett, is an effort to rally Republicans on an issue that has often divided them.

While its chances of approval by Congress seem distant, the plan will give Republicans an outline they can say they favor as Trump and lawmakers look toward the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections, where immigration will likely be a key issue.

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Mexico Becomes A Net Oil Importer

By SRSrocco – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

While Mexico suffered the bloodiest year of violent deaths in 2018, even bigger trouble may be ahead for the embattled country.  For the first time in more than 50 years, Mexico has become a net importer of oil.  This is undoubtedly bad news for the Mexican Government as it has relied upon its oil revenues to fund a large percentage of its public spending.

And, the majority of these revenues came from just one prolific oil field.  After the discovery of the huge Cantarell Oil Field in the Gulf of Mexico in 1976, Mexico’s oil production surged from 894,000 barrels per day to a peak of 3.8 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2004.  That year, Mexico’s net oil exports exceeded 1.8 mbd.

Unfortunately, the downturn of Mexico’s oil production was also due to the peak and decline of the Cantarell Oil Field, which topped out at 2.1 mbd in 2004 and is now below 135,000 barrels per day:

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ICE Quarantining Illegal Aliens For Infectious Diseases

Re-Blogged From Survival Institute

Illegal immigration is a serious concern for America.

The flood of people across the southern border seems to have no end in sight.

Now illegal aliens are being quarantined for a disturbing reason.

The next pandemic could come to America by way of third-world illegal immigration.

For this reason, it’s critical to be prepared in case of a mass outbreak.

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The Marvelous and Mysterious Monarch

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

 

marvelous_monarchs-featuredThe marvelous Monarch Butterfly is an icon of biological mystery.  When I was born, circa 1950, monarchs were known to fly north into southern Texas every spring by the millions.  In the Fall, tourists would go to Cape May, New Jersey, timing their visits to watch the beauty and pageantry of the Monarch Migration south again as they are funneled down the southern New Jersey peninsula from New England and points north, headed south to an unknown destination, believed to be somewhere in Mexico.

It wasn’t until 1975, long after I had passed through university, that the location of the monarch overwintering site in the central mountains of Mexico was discovered.  For 40 years, Dr. Fred Urquhart had searched for the monarch’s overwintering site…finally discovering the location in the fall of 1975.  Urquhart wrote of his discovery in National Geographic magazine, which had funded his search, in the August 1976 issue.  He did not, however, reveal the actual location of the butterfly colonies at that time, not even to other scientists.

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Are Democrats Colluding with the Mexican Drug Cartels?

[This is an opinion piece. I have not verified the facts laid out, although I expect much of it is true. -Bob]

By

The Democrats’ and President Trump’s positions on the wall are diametrically opposed.  Hillary Clinton insists: ‘There’s No National Emergency At Our Border’*; while the President insists we have a National Crisis.

Obviously, someone is lying.  Just consider the facts:

Drug Cartels have turned Mexico into an extremely dangerous and violent country.  In 2018, Mexico suffered 40,000 murders. A Mexican Mayor was shot and killed the day he took office.  Just today, Hugo Figueroa, a cattle rancher was kidnapped, tortured, tied up and then killed. In 2018, Cancun had 540 homicides.  Last week, dismembered body parts were dumped outside the Mayor’s office.  In January 2019 alone, there were another 30 executions in Cancun.

Drug Cartels bribe Mexican Politicians and get co-operation in return:  In a NY Court, El Chapo’s accountant admitted they regularly bribe Mexican politicians; and that  they paid a $100 million bribe to former President Enrique Pena Nieto The Mexican Government, in turn, colludes with the Cartels; provides temporary visas, food and housing for the illegals; and clears the way for the busses to bring them to our border.

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Trump Delivers Order To Military

By Adam Casalino – Re-Blogged From Patriot Journal

Democrats thought Donald wouldn’t dare after the shutdown – here it comes.

Thanks to the Democrats—both within our border and without—the caravans keep coming.

We said this would happen months ago. When migrants see they can force their way through—with no wall to stop them—they’ll keep coming.

The latest group has swelled to around 12,000. When will it stop? How bad could it get?

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Fentanyl Seized by Border Patrol

Mexican Mayor Assassinated First Day In Office

By Tim Brown – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

A newly sworn-in mayor in Mexico was assassinated on his first day in office. Alejandro Aparicio Santiago, a member of the National Regeneration Movement, had just taken office in Tlaxiaco when he was attacked.

NPR reports:

Alejandro Aparicio Santiago had just taken office Tuesday and was walking to his first official meeting at city hall when a group of gunmen opened fire. The mayor died at the hospital, according to The Associated Press.

Aparicio was a member of the Mexico’s National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, the party of newly elected President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The Oaxaca branch of the party issued condolences and a call for authorities to punish those responsible.

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Total Border Shutdown if No Wall Funding

By Kaylee McGhee – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win…’

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) President Trump promised to close the U.S. border with Mexico entirely if Democrats don’t agree to allocate $5 billion for the construction of a border wall.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Trump blamed the “obstructionist” Democrats for the government shutdown, which is on its seventh day.

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Mexico Backs Trump’s Plan to Overhaul Asylum Rules

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Mexico’s incoming government has agreed to back the Trump administration’s plan to change U.S. border policy by requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims move through U.S. courts, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

Citing Mexican officials and senior members of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s transition team, the newspaper said the agreement would break with long-standing asylum rules and mount a new obstacle to Central American migrants attempting to reach the United States and escape poverty and violence.

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US Forces Drive Migrants from Border into Mexican Camps

Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlnes

‘Mexico should move the flag waving migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries…’

US Forces Drive Migrants from Border into Mexican Camps

AFP / GUILLERMO ARIAS
US border forces drove the migrants back with tear gas

Tijuana (Mexico) (AFP) Central American migrants who traveled to far northern Mexico hoping to seek asylum in the United States returned disheartened to a nearby camp Monday after US border police drove them off with tear gas and rubber bullets.

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More Than 10K Migrants Join New Caravan Headed to US Border

By Kaylee McGhee – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘Thousands of people who are most likely not eligible for asylum’…

The caravan of migrants traveling from Central America to the U.S. border has more than doubled in size, according to senior administration officials.

There are now as many as 10,000 migrants hoping to enter the country.

Migrant Caravan Heading to U.S. Grows to More Than 7,000

IMAGE: YouTube

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Migrant Caravan and Trump’s Legacy

By Pat Buchnan – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Mideast.Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany’s doors to 1 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.

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Trump Threatens To Send Military To Block Honduran Migrant Caravan

By Tim Brown – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

This is the second time a caravan of migrants have gotten together and seem intent on pushing towards and across the US/Mexico border.  As a result of the news, President Donald Trump has threatened to send the military to the border to block them.

Reuters reports on the caravan.

More Honduran migrants tried to join a caravan of several thousand trekking through Guatemala on Wednesday, defying calls by authorities not to make the journey after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut off regional aid in reprisal.

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Advanced Mexico-US Drug Tunnel had Solar Panels, Ventilation, & Rail System

By Katherine Lam | Fox News – Re-Blogged From Fox News

Authorities uncovered a tunnel outfitted with solar panels, lighting, ventilation and a rail system that could carry illegal immigrants, arms dealers and drug smugglers from Mexico into the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said this week.

Authorities made the discovery in mid-September and said the tunnel’s entrance, in Baja California, Mexico, was just 221 feet south of the U.S. border. The entry shaft was about 31 feet deep.

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Trade War To Continue, Global Debt Default And Higher Interest Rates Unavoidable

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back Michael Pento, president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market. Michael is a well-known money manager and a fantastic market commentator, and it’s always great to have him here on the Money Metals podcast.

Well, Michael, you have recently written about why current problems in Turkey are definitely worth paying attention to. There are some similarities with the Asian crisis of the late 1990s which had ripple effects around the globe. The entire developing world is drowning in dollar denominated debt. If there are defaults, lenders in the first world, including major banks in Europe and the United States will have a real problem. Now, there have been a number of brief panics in recent years over the potential for default in places like Greece, Italy, Argentina. Officials seemed to have been able to kick the can and avoid a full-blown crisis, but one of these days people are going to be surprised and find out the reckoning for all the borrowing and debt has finally arrived. Turkey’s economy dwarfs that of Greece, so what do you make of the current events there, Michael? How serious are things really?

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Leftist Elected President of Mexico in Massive Landslide

By PJ McDonnell & Kate Linthicum – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won Sunday’s presidential election by a landslide, ushering in a new era in Mexican politics that could have profound implications for the country’s domestic and international policies — including its relationship with the United States.

Lopez Obrador’s projected margin of victory was 31 percentage points — the largest in Mexico’s recent electoral history. His opponents conceded before any actual results were released, based on exit polls showing the firebrand populist’s commanding lead.

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A Once Mighty Nation Is In The Process Of A Complete And Total Societal Meltdown

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

What would the United States look like right now if 113 political figures had been gunned down since last September?  Well, that is precisely what has happened in Mexico.

Once upon a time, Mexico had a thriving economy and a very stable government, but now the nation is devolving into a Mad Max society in which the drug cartels gun down any politicians that they do not like.

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2018 Third-Quarter Forecast

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Table of Contents

(ALY SONG-POL/JOHANNES EISELE/HULTON ARCHIVE/MLADEN ANTONOV/TIMOTHY A. CLARY/ABID KATIB/KATJA BUCHHOLZ/DAVID MCNEW/ATTA KENARE/FOverview

China Remains in the U.S. Crosshairs. The United States will impose tariffs, sanctions and blocks on investment and research in a bid to frustrate China’s development of strategic technologies. China not only has the tools to manage the economic blow, but will also accelerate efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign-sourced technological components.

Trade Battles Fall Short of a Full-Fledged War. Trade frictions will remain high this quarter as the White House continues on an economic warpath in the name of national security. U.S. tariffs will invite countermeasures from trading partners targeting U.S. agricultural and industrial goods. As Congress attempts to reclaim trade authority, the White House will refrain from escalating these trade battles into an all-out trade war.

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Trump Tariffs on EU, Mexico, Canada Draw Retaliation Threats

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The Trump administration’s announcement Thursday that it will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada drew swift vows of retaliation from key allies, inflamed trade tensions and sent stock markets sinking.

The administration’s move threatens to inflate prices for U.S. consumers and companies and heighten uncertainty for businesses and investors across the globe.

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What a Populist President Would Mean for Mexico

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Polls suggest Mexico’s populist coalition, led by the National Regeneration Movement, could win the presidency in the July 1 federal elections, along with a majority in the lower house and a near majority in the Senate.
  • If the coalition gains only a lower house majority, it will face heavier pressure from established parties, including the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), to moderate its populist stance.
  • But the PRI and PAN will be weaker in the wake of the vote, assuming the polls bear out, and will have to rely on federal courts to halt potentially controversial legislative measures, such as energy or education reforms.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the National Regeneration Movement's candidate for Mexico's presidency, addresses the crowd at a campaign event on April 20, 2018.

(HECTOR VIVAS/Getty Images)

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It’s The Trump Slump—But Don’t Blame The Donald!

The are few snarkier defenders of the current rotten financial status quo than Ben White of Politico’s Money Morning. So it’s not surprising that he is out this AM with the latest Trumb-o-phobe meme from Swamp Dweller’s Central.

To wit, the renewed stock market swoon is purportedly all the Donald’s fault owing to his unhinged tweet storms, protectionist trade initiatives and attacks on the casino’s sacred cow of the moment, Amazon:

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Mexico’s Oil Industry Continues To Disintegrate: PEMEX Suffers $18 Billion Loss

By SRSrocco – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The situation in Mexico’s oil industry continues to rapidly disintegrate as falling oil production and rising costs resulted in an $18 billion fourth-quarter loss for the state-run oil company, PEMEX.  Part of the reason for the huge financial loss at PEMEX was the fall in the value of the Mexican Peso.  While PEMEX’s costs are in Pesos, it sells crude oil and purchases petroleum products in Dollars.  Because the Mexican Peso declined 8% versus the Dollar, it put a huge strain on the company’s year-end financials.

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US-China Trade War Escalates

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Trade war between two superpowers continues to escalate

– White House likely to impose steep tariffs on aluminium and steel imports on ‘national security grounds’

– US may impose global tariff of at least 24% on imports of steel and 7.7% on aluminium

– China “will certainly take necessary measures to protect our legitimate rights.”

– China is USA’s largest trading partner, fastest-growing market for U.S. exports, 3rd largest market for U.S. exports in the world.

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2017 Trade Deficit Worst since 2008

By Wolf Richter – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

Trade deficit in non-petroleum products hit a record of $734 billion.

2017 was a banner year for the US trade deficit, according to the Commerce Department’s report today. Corporate America’s supply chains weave all over the world in search of lower costs. Other countries have an “industrial policy” designed to produce trade surpluses for them. This combo ballooned the US trade deficit in goods and services to $566 billion, up by $61 billion, or 12%, from 2016. It was the worst trade deficit since 2008.

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Silver Miners’ Q3’17 Fundamentals

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The silver miners’ stocks have really languished this year, grinding sideways to lower for months on end. This vexing consolidation has fueled near-universal bearishness, leaving silver stocks deeply out of favor. But once a quarter when earnings season arrives, hard fundamentals pierce the obscuring veil of popular sentiment. The silver miners’ recently-reported Q3’17 results reveal today’s silver prices remain profitable.

Four times a year publicly-traded companies release treasure troves of valuable information in the form of quarterly reports. These are generally due by 45 days after quarter-ends in the US and Canada. They offer true and clear snapshots of what’s really going on operationally, shattering the misconceptions bred by the ever-shifting winds of sentiment. There’s no silver-miner data that is more highly anticipated than quarterlies.

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Caught in a Crisis Abroad

By Scott Stewart – Re-Blogged From https://worldview.stratfor.com

The past week, a “non-coup” forced Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe from power. And while the Kenyan Supreme Court certified the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta, it is almost certain the country’s political unrest will continue. But this turmoil is not really that unusual; there almost always are crisis events of one type or another roiling some part of the world during any given week. And this means that at any given time there are travelers or expatriates who find themselves caught in tense situations in a foreign country. We thought it would be helpful to provide some guidance on how to react when caught in such a situation.

Residents of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, thank soldiers on the street after the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.

(MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Mexico Warns U.S. of Alternatives on Trade, Points to China

By Thomson/Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Mexico sent a stark message to U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying an upcoming visit by officials from Latin America’s No. 2 economy to China made it clear it had many other export markets if he tore up the NAFTA trade deal.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) underpins Mexico’s economy, prompting the government to try and diversify away from the United States, which takes 80 percent of its exports. Mexico runs a sizeable trade deficit with China, the destination of about 10 percent of its exports.

Trump indicated, in an interview with The Economist published on Thursday, that he wanted to get the U.S.-Mexico trade deficit down to about zero. He wants to renegotiate NAFTA to get a better deal for U.S. companies and workers, and has threatened to end the agreement if he does not get his way. Talks are expected to start later this year.

How to Run a Medicare Surplus Without Raising Taxes or Cutting Benefits

By Chuck Bolotin – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The numbers are hard to ignore.

According to the 2016 report from the Boards of Trustees, Medicare Part A will run out of money in less than 11 years. As a country, the United States is experiencing “deer caught in the headlights syndrome”; We’ve been alerted to a grave impending danger, but we’re frozen into inaction.

Whether we choose to accept it or not, something has to give. The truck is barreling down the road, and if we don’t do something soon, we’ll all be roadkill. Why don’t our leaders act? Because they can’t come up with a solution that doesn’t either cut Medicare benefits or raise taxes, or both, and what politician wants to run on a platform of cutting benefits and / or raising taxes?

I am proposing a third solution, one that will not only eliminate the Medicare funding deficit without raising taxes, but will do so without cutting benefits: Provide Medicare recipients with a voucher for 75% of what Medicare would pay for their procedure in the U.S. and then let them receive their healthcare services anywhere in the world they choose.

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Trade Negotiations Sow Seeds of Doubt for U.S. Agriculture

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Grant Wood’s 1930 painting “American Gothic” is quintessential Americana. The austere depiction of a farmer and his land evokes the agrarian core that has long underpinned the United States’ geopolitical strength. Today, the U.S. agricultural system is still central to the country’s success, though it looks much different now than it did in Wood’s time.

Small family farms have given way to massive industrial operations, and the agricultural sector as a whole has become far more globalized. In fact, despite its reputation as the “breadbasket of the world,” the U.S. agricultural sector depends as much on other countries as they depend on it. The United States exports more than 20 percent of its agricultural production by volume, and export revenues account for about 20 percent of net farm income. As productivity improves each year with help from technological advancements, moreover, it will outpace domestic demand, leaving exports to sustain the U.S. agricultural sector. But the extent to which they can depends in large part on the future of international trade deals such as NAFTA.

U.S. agriculture lobbies have long advocated trade agreements to keep the country competitive with other major producers. Since the mid-20th century, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and subsequent deals have sent the value of agricultural exports from the United States soaring. NAFTA gave U.S. agriculture another boost when it took effect in 1994. The deal opened a massive market in Mexico to corn producers in the American Midwest, while also providing American consumers with a wealth of fruits and vegetables from their southern neighbor. It was hardly surprising, then, that the U.S. agricultural sector rallied behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement before it fell apart. Nor is it surprising that the United States’ farming industry is wary of the current administration’s plans to renegotiate NAFTA.

A Vulnerable Sector

Of all the sectors that have benefited from NAFTA, the agricultural industry is the most vulnerable to changes in its terms. Though agricultural exports represent only about 8 percent of the United States’ exports to Mexico, they would account for roughly 42 percent of the total increase in tariffs on U.S. exports in the unlikely event that NAFTA were revoked. (Meat and sugar would be among the hardest hit exports from the United States, while sugar and vegetables would be two of the imports most affected by the reintroduction of tariffs.)

Mexico is already working to expand its trade ties with South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina to offset the repercussions that a NAFTA overhaul would have on its agricultural imports and exports. And the U.S. agricultural industry will likewise have to deal with the fallout of a revised trade deal. Farm states — especially those, such as Texas, that do more trade with nearby Mexico — would feel the effects of the changes most acutely. After all, much like manufacturing, agricultural processing depends on intricate cross-border ties. Cattle born in Mexico, for instance, are often raised and slaughtered in Texas for export back across the border.

Rehashing a Familiar Problem

This won’t be the first time a disagreement in the NAFTA bloc has targeted the United States’ agricultural sector. In 2009, Mexico imposed tariffs on specific facets of the U.S. agricultural industry during a dispute about trucking. By targeting individual congressional districts, including parts of Oregon and California that rely on agricultural and processed food exports, Mexico City pressured Washington into complying with the trucking ruling.

But agricultural communities are losing their political clout; in 2006, researchers at Montana State University found that farming is the primary economic activity in just 40 of the United States’ 435 congressional districts. The agricultural lobby has atrophied enough, in fact, that the last farm bill — a hefty piece of legislation proposed every five years to fund the country’s agricultural activities — failed in 2013, before Congress eventually passed a diluted version. Spending on lobbying activities for agribusiness, too, has declined in recent years, though it is still higher than it was at the start of the 21st century.

An Uncertain Future

Considering their waning influence in U.S. politics, the country’s agricultural producers were particularly nervous as President Donald Trump took aim at their two most important trade partners, China and Mexico, during his campaign for the presidency. Several agribusinesses and farming concerns joined together to write a letter to the president after his inauguration in January outlining the importance of open trade to the agricultural sector. If Trump’s efforts to correct the United States’ trade imbalances prompted countries such as China or Mexico to curtail their imports of U.S. agricultural products, for instance, the American farming sector would suffer disastrous consequences. So far, though, the worst-case scenario appears unlikely. Geographic constraints, coupled with 20 years of progressive integration in numerous industries, including agriculture, will limit the Trump administration’s options to deliver on its promises to amend or discard international trade deals.

That’s good news for U.S. agriculture. Domestic demand alone would fall far short of supporting production in several agricultural sectors. Without China and Mexico, the pork, beef, grain and dairy industries would have no clear alternative market to turn to that could match those countries’ demand, and excess supply could cause prices to plummet. But until the negotiations over NAFTA are complete, the U.S. agricultural sector’s future will be tinged with uncertainty.

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2017 Annual World Forecast

[This is a very comprehensive, very long article. Please be ready. -Bob]

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The convulsions to come in 2017 are the political manifestations of much deeper forces in play. In much of the developed world, the trend of aging demographics and declining productivity is layered with technological innovation and the labor displacement that comes with it. China’s economic slowdown and its ongoing evolution compound this dynamic. At the same time the world is trying to cope with reduced Chinese demand after decades of record growth, China is also slowly but surely moving its own economy up the value chain to produce and assemble many of the inputs it once imported, with the intent of increasingly selling to itself. All these forces combined will have a dramatic and enduring impact on the global economy and ultimately on the shape of the international system for decades to come.

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PEMEX: Mexico’s State Oil Company On The Verge Of Bankruptcy & Collapse

By SR Srocco – Re-Blogged From https://srsroccoreport.com

Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex, is a perfect example of the ongoing collapse in the global oil industry.  Falling oil prices and declining production are putting severe pressure on the company’s financial balance sheet.  It has been four long years since Pemex posted a small profit.  However, since 2012, Pemex has suffered huge annual losses while its long term debt has exploded.

The result is… Pemex is technically bankrupt.  Now, I am not the only one saying this.  There have been several articles written about horrible financial situation at Pemex.  According to the following article, Mexico’s Largest Company Is Broke:

March 3, 2016:

Mexico’s largest company is broke. The country’s state oil company, Pemex, which is one of the federal government’s main sources of revenue, is losing money and is one of the world’s most indebted oil firms. The company’s production has dropped for 11 straight years now, while gross income plummeted more than 80 percent last year.

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Global Trends, Events And News

By Don Swenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Change is in the ‘air’ and 2017 is likely to lead to major changes within our global political/economic/religious/scientific system. People are starting to think about all the various issues which will be emerging all around our planet. The issues are complex and confusing as paradox is a major part of the problem. Our world mostly operates with paradox and contrarian perplexities. Let’s review our global situation briefly for further understanding and comprehension:

Middle-East Situation

The wars and chaos over in the Middle-East are tragic and must eventually be resolved. Thousands have been killed and millions are seeking refuge. Basically, the Islamic countries (within this Middle East territory) do not see eye to eye with Western hegemonic goals and visions. Since the end of WWI this region has been in continuing turmoil…and recent events are now culminating into serious chaos (leading to WW III potentially). Syria is unable to govern itself. Iraq is unable to govern itself. The same goes for Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia, Nigeria, and a host of similar Islamic nations where the rule of law does not work effectively. Leaders cannot solve any of the core political secular problems. The core issues are actually spiritual!

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Leaked: Trump’s Next Executive Order – “Eliminate the Welfare Magnet Driving Illegal Immigration”

By Tim Brown – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

Now, this will do more to eliminating illegal immigration than anything else, including a wall that costs American taxpayers billions of dollars and increases the size of the central government in border patrol agents. A leaked draft of an executive order by President Donald Trump indicates that he is looking to eliminate the welfare state for illegals, which is nothing more than dangling a carrot in front of them to cross the southern border on the American taxpayers’ dime.

The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post.

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A Better Solution Than Trump’s Border Wall

By Ron Paul – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

Just one week in office, President Trump is already following through on his pledge to address illegal immigration. His January 25th executive order called for the construction of a wall along the entire length of the US-Mexico border. While he is right to focus on the issue, there are several reasons why his proposed solution will unfortunately not lead us anywhere closer to solving the problem.

First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.

Second, the wall will be expensive. The wall is estimated to cost between 12 and 15 billion dollars. You can bet it will be more than that. President Trump has claimed that if the Mexican government doesn’t pay for it, he will impose a 20 percent duty on products imported from Mexico. Who will pay this tax? Ultimately, the American consumer, as the additional costs will be passed on. This will, of course, hurt the poorest Americans the most.

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Executive Orders: Use Them and Lose Them

By Jeremy Frankel – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

Article I of the Constitution gives the power to create and pass laws to Congress. However, Presidents have the power to sign executive orders, which are meant to give laws more specificity and to enforce existing law. However, when Presidents abuse this power, executive orders can become despotic, and the President can become a potential dictator. For example, former President Barack Obama abused his executive authority by frequently signing executive orders during his eight-year tenure, such as executive amnesty (which he had previously called “unconstitutional”), climate change regulations, and his seizure of millions of acres of state lands. The potential abuse of executive orders shows their negatives.

But now we have a new President in Donald Trump. Despite how dangerous executive orders can be, Trump’s only recourse to reverse Obama’s disastrous legacy is to implement executive orders of his own. Amazingly, Trump is using the pen and phone Obama left for him to reverse course and keep his promises. His orders have included reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, which bans federal funding of international abortions; withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); imposing a hiring freeze for the federal government other than military, inevitably shrinking the government’s size; and easing the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare, including fiscal burdens such as taxes or penalties for individuals, health insurance companies, and others.

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Energy and Society from now until 2040

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

ExxonMobil released its 2017 Outlook for Energy, A View to 2040 in mid-December. David Middleton has written that the report reveals wind and solar will supply a whopping 4% of global energy by 2040! He also reports that wind and solar capacity will grow, but we will only be able to utilize 30% of the wind capacity and 20% of the solar capacity due to their intermittent nature. This is true, but the report has much more to say and this year the nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State makes it even more important. Here we will cover some the other numbers in the report.

The cost of energy is closely correlated to standard of living. In addition, it has often influenced major political decisions, like Germany’s decision to invade Russia or Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbor in World War II. Figure 1 shows the relationship between per capita GDP (one standard measure of standard of living) and annual per capita electricity consumption for 218 countries in the CIA Factbook. Excluding the anomalous countries listed in the upper right of the figure the R2 is acceptable. The least squares line suggests that each 0.2 kWhr/person of electricity consumed annually can raise GDP by one dollar per person. Obviously, other factors are important also, but the trend suggests that per capita GDP is positively influenced by the electricity consumed or that countries with a higher standard of living use more electricity.

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Daily Use of Silver Coins

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

I was in Mexico a dozen years ago, trying to interest the three parties’ leaders to institute a Silver Backed Peso. The country was ideally situated at the time, with a National Debt and GDP that were significant but small enough to allow a reasonably large amount of Silver coinage to solve their problems. And, Mexico was – and is – the world leading country in the production of Silver.

My suggestion was simple:

  • Amass a Silver stockpile of a couple of billion ounces

  • Allow purchases to increase the price of the metal – then at the low price of $4.50 an ounce – to perhaps $100 an ounce

  • Use the knowledge of the program to gain price advantage and profits in related markets, such as Silver stocks

  • When the time was right, introduce a Peso Monetary Coin system, letting the rest of the world know that the previous purchases would NOT be unwound as Silver bullion sales – with Silver Coins bearing a specific Peso denomination

  • Continue Silver purchases so long as the Price of Silver was below the foreign exchange value of the Silver-backed Peso

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A Conservative Immigration Agenda

(Here’s some food for thought on the immigration issue. Please note: there are several items that I have issue with! However, other suggestions may be worth incorporating in our plans going forward.  -Bob)

By Conn Carroll – Re-Blogged From http://www.townhall.com

When it comes to immigration reform, we all know what conservatives are against. We are against the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. We are against the 2013 Gang of Eight bill. And we are against the 2014 Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program.

But what are we for? The system is clearly broken. It takes way too long for law-abiding immigrants to become citizens, the wealthy and powerful game the system for their friends, and, now that the economy is revering, the number of illegal immigrants is rising again.

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