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Petrodollar Under Attack

Petrodollar Under Attack

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  Once upon a time, the U.S. dollar was backed by the gold standard in a framework that established what was known as the Bretton-Woods agreement, made in 1944. The dollar was fixed to gold at a price of $35 an ounce, though the dollar could earn interest, marking one notable difference from gold.

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The system ended up being short-lived, as President Richard Nixon announced that the U.S. would be abandoning the gold standard in 1971. Instead, the U.S. had other plans for the future of global markets.

“The essence of the deal was that the U.S. would agree to military sales and defense of Saudi Arabia in return for all oil trade being denominated in U.S. dollars.”

This system became known as the Petrodollar Recycling system because countries like Saudi Arabia would have to invest excess profits back into the U.S. It didn’t take long for every single member of OPEC to start trading oil in U.S. dollars.

A little-known economic theory, rejected by the mainstream, stipulates that Washington’s stranglehold over financial markets can be at least partially explained by the fact that all oil exports are conducted in transactions involving the U.S. dollar. This relationship between oil and currency arguably gives the dollar its value, as this paradigm requires all exporting and importing countries to maintain a certain stock of U.S. dollars, adding to the dollar’s value. As Foreign Policy – a magazine that rejects the theory – explains:

“It does matter slightly that the trade typically takes place in dollars. This means that those wishing to buy oil must acquire dollars to buy the oil, which increases the demand for dollars in world financial markets.”

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The Cardinal Sin Of Investing: Permanent Impairment Of Capital

Victor Moussa/Shutterstock

The Cardinal Sin Of Investing: Permanent Impairment Of Capital

How to avoid making it
Last week we presented a parade of indicators published by Grant Williams and Lance Roberts that warned of an approaching market correction as well as a coming economic recession.

The key message was: When smart analysts independently find the same patterns in the data, it’s time to take notice.

Well, many of you did, by participating in this week’s Dangerous Markets webinar, which featured Grant and Lance.

In it, both went much deeper into the structural fragility of today’s financial markets and the many reasons why economic growth will remain constrained for years to come.

The excessive build-up of debt in the system — and the absolute dependence on its continued expansion to keep the economy from imploding — is, of course, seen as the prime risk to future growth.

As Lance demonstrates here with several of his excellent charts, so much leverage has been taken on that its servicing is increasingly stealing capital that would otherwise go to savings, consumption and productive investment. Going forward, the demands of the debt service will simply result in less and less capital available left over to grow the economy:

As financial assets are (supposed to be) valued on future growth prospects, lower forecasted growth demands lower valuations. Grant calculates that, should the US see another decade of 2% average annual GDP growth (and it has averaged less than that over the past decade), stock prices should be roughly half of what they are today to be considered fairly valued:

And Lance builds further on this, explaining how this moribund growth, coupled with America’s aging demographic trend, will simply savage the nation’s (already troublesomely underfunded) pension and entitlement systems:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela Has Officially Abandoned The Petrodollar – Does This Make War With Venezuela More Likely?

Venezuela Has Officially Abandoned The Petrodollar – Does This Make War With Venezuela More Likely?

Venezuela is the 11th largest oil producing country in the entire world, and it has just announced that it is going to stop using the petrodollar.  Most Americans don’t even know what the petrodollar is, but for those of you that do understand what I am talking about, this should send a chill up your spine.  The petrodollar is one of the key pillars of the global financial system, and it allows us to live a far higher standard of living than we actually deserve.  The dominance of the petrodollar has been very jealously guarded by our government in the past, and that is why many are now concerned that this move by Venezuela could potentially lead us to war.

I don’t know why this isn’t headline news all over the country, but it should be.  One of the few major media outlets that is reporting on this is the Wall Street Journal

The government of this oil-rich but struggling country, looking for ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions, is telling oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars, people familiar with the new policy have told The Wall Street Journal.

Before we go any further, we should discuss what we mean by the “petrodollar” for those that are not familiar with the concept.  The following comes from an excellent article by Christopher Doran

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Next For Oil: Interview With Former DOE Chief Of Staff

What’s Next For Oil: Interview With Former DOE Chief Of Staff

In this week’s MacroVoices podcast, Erik Townsend and Joe McMonigle, former chief of staff at the US Department of Energy, discuss the state of the global energy market, and OPEC’s rapidly diminishing ability to control oil prices. McMonigle believes investors will be hearing more jawboning from the Saudis, OPEC’s de-facto leader, over the next two weeks as they try to marshal support for extending the cartel’s production-cut agreement past a March 2018 deadline.

Of course, anyone who’s been paying attention knows the cuts have done little to alleviate supply imbalances that have weighed on oil prices for years. In a report published by the International Energy Agency earlier this month, the organization notes that non-compliance among OPEC members, and non-members who also agreed to the cuts those non-members who also agreed to cut oil production, increased again in July. According to the IEA data, non-compliance among the cartel’s members rose to 25 percent in July, the highest level since the agreement was signed in January. Meanwhile, noncompliance for non-members rose to 33%.

Given that oil prices have fallen since OPEC members and non-members first agreed on the cuts last November, the Saudi’s might have difficulty convincing their peers that the cuts are having an impact, other than allowing US shale producers to flourish.

OPEC will meet Nov. 30 in Vienna.

Erik: Joining me now as this week’s featured interview guest is former US Department of Energy Chief of Staff Joe McMonigle, who now heads up the energy research team at Hedgeye. Joe, I think everybody understands that the key question in today’s oil market is whether the rebalancing that OPEC production cuts were supposed to achieve is really happening or if the supply glut is actually still continuing. So let’s start with your high-level view first. Is OPEC effectively managing supply or are they really just managing market sentiment?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Technical Failure That Could Clear The Oil Glut In A Matter Of Weeks

The Technical Failure That Could Clear The Oil Glut In A Matter Of Weeks

Oil

OPEC exports have come under pressure this week from technical threats to oil fields, with Saudi Arabia’s Manifa problems grabbing the headlines.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, while addressing the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, stated that the outlook for oil supplies is “increasingly worrying”, due to a loss of $1 trillion ($1000 billion) in investments last year. The skepticism shown by a majority of financial analysts and oil commentators about the real threat to global oil (and gas) production volumes was countered by the news that the production at Saudi Aramco’s main offshore oil field, Manifa, has been hit by technical problems. News sources reported that the output from Saudi Aramco’s massive Manifa oilfield has been hit by a technical problem. The impact of this possible technical mishap is not to be underestimated. Aramco’s Manifa is one of its biggest oilfields, with a targeted production capacity of around 900,000 bpd, to be brought onstream in two phases. At present, the main issue being reported on is that there has been corrosion of the water injection system, which is used to keep pressure in the reservoir. No facts have emerged about the total impact on the Manifa production capacity, but unnamed sources are already quoting ‘millions of dollars’ of losses. The current reports are not really worrying, as corrosion control in a water injection system is only a technical challenge. Maintenance of the field is expected, resulting in a shut-down of production – something that has been confirmed by Sadad Al Husseini, former VP Aramco. If the all production needs to be shut-down, Saudi Aramco’s overall production capacity will be cut by 900,000bpd.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Saudi-Qatar rift has elements of world war potential

The Saudi-Qatar rift has elements of world war potential

The First and the Second World War were the culmination of rivalries that go as far back as over a thousand years, when Charlemagne subjugated the Saxon tribes inhabiting modern Germany, and creating the Carolingian Empire. The political successors of Franks, France, and Saxons, the latter morphing into the Holy Roman Empire, then Prussia, then Germany, would continue to fight border wars until the bloodiest of them all, World War 2, inflicted enough destruction to both to force them to give up military means for the reciprocal arrangements.

The First World War was triggered by a regional episode, the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, by Serb nationalists that put in motion the alliance of the German world, Austria and Prussia against the British, French and Russian one.

Just like the two world wars in Europe were triggered by a single event, so can long standing, unresolved rivalries for power and influence over the Middle East result in the mother of all wars.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have collaborated in the recent years to overthrow the Assad presidency in Syria and replace it with a Sunni Muslim leader that would allow the creation of a pipeline from Qatar to Europe, for the benefit of the Gulf countries.
The failure of the American-Saudi-Qatari coalition however re-opened old wounds. In the recent weeks, the Saudi-led bloc, including Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain has broken all ties with Qatar, accusing it of working with terrorist groups and having too close ties with Iran. Since then, having cashed in on the support of US President Trump, Saudis have given a list of 13 demands to Qatar, which the latter has no intention to comply with.1)

In the meanwhile, very much like WW1 preparations, the game of alliances has started: Qatar, having lost the protection of the Arab world, sought it elsewhere, and found in Turkey.2)

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Qatar May be Turning Its Back on the US Dollar — and We All Know What That Means

(ANTIMEDIA) Late last week, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that are involved in attempting to isolate Qatar sent the tiny Gulf nation a list of 13 demands. They are insisting that Qatar meet these demands within ten days or face unspecified further action.The list of demands includes Qatar shutting down Al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations; shutting down other news outlets that Qatar funds, including Middle East Eye; curbing diplomatic ties with Iran and expelling members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard; terminating the Turkish military presence in Qatar; consenting to monthly audits for the first year following acceptance of the demands, and aligning itself entirely with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially, and economically – to name but a few.

The most ludicrous of the demands is that Qatar must end its interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Qatar does interfere in a number of countries, including Libyaand Syria, but as the German Foreign Minister explained, this list of demands directly challenges Qatar’s sovereignty. Who is interfering with whose sovereignty, exactly?

In that context, Saudi Arabia and its friends have given Qatar a list of demands they cannot conceivably meet and imposed a ten-day deadline to concede or face unspecified further action. Qatar was essentially doomed from the start of this rift, and it’s only just beginning. As Newsweek lamented, “the demands are designed to be impossible to comply with.”

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Saudi Arabia’s March Towards Civil War

After decades of playing the role of middle man between foreign states and establishing itself as a regional power, Saudi Arabia’s policies of meddling in the affairs of neighbor states and support for terror appear to have finally exacerbated issues in the country which could threaten to plunge it into chaos. Growing anger over attempted austerity cutbacks, economic issues due to the fluctuating price of oil and tell tale signs of royal disagreement over the successor to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud mean that Saudi adventures abroad are preparing a perfect storm for civil conflict which could lead to further instability in the Middle East. The disruption comes as other states such as Iran and Turkey are positioning themselves as potential competitors to the de facto leader of the Arab world.

I. Saudi Arabia Is Experiencing Increasing Signs Of Instability

Saudi Arabia has experienced a number of issues which contribute to internal destabilization. In April 2017, Bloomberg reported that King Salman was forced to restore bonuses and allowances for state employees, reversing attempts to reform Saudi Arabia’s generous austerity programs. The Saudi government insisted that the move was due to “higher than expected revenue” despite the fact that observers were noting in March that Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves were plunging as one third of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait have seen their credit ratings slashed and have increasingly disagreed on common foreign policy towards Iran.

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Saudi Arabia top non-U.S. destination for Canadian arms exports: federal report

LAVs (light armoured vehicles) and components similar to the one pictured above are among the top military exports Canada sends to Saudi Arabia.

LAVs (light armoured vehicles) and components similar to the one pictured above are among the top military exports Canada sends to Saudi Arabia. (Bill Graveland/Canadian Press)

Saudi Arabia has regained its title as Canada’s top non-U.S. destination for exporting military goods after having been narrowly bumped last year by the United Kingdom, according to a federal report on arms sales.

The report, prepared by Global Affairs Canada and tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, reveals that the Saudi government purchased over $142 million worth of Canadian arms in 2016. That accounted for nearly 20 per cent of all Canadian munitions exports reported in the annual filing.

The report does not factor in arms exports to the United States, due to a long-standing exemption agreement. However, as stated in the report, as a general rule shipments to the U.S. account for nearly 50 per cent of all military good exports from Canada.

military exports indexed 2016

The total value of military goods sold abroad to countries other than the U.S. last year nearly reached $718 million. Canada’s NATO partners and traditional allies made up the bulk of the export market, including Australia, which purchased $115.8 million of Canadian-made equipment — second behind Saudi Arabia.

The sales to Saudi Arabia, however, will likely the draw the most attention and potential criticism from human rights groups, which have fought a protracted battle to halt the $14.8-billion sale of light armoured vehicles by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada — a deal approved by the former Conservative government, but green-lit by the Liberals.

The executive director for the anti-armament group Project Ploughshares says the most recent report once again signals an unwillingness on the part of the government to change its stance on Saudi Arabia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Arab States Issue 13 Demands To Qatar – Include Unfriending Iran, Beheading Al-Jazeera And Nixing Turkish Base

Arab States Issue 13 Demands To Qatar – Include Unfriending Iran, Beheading Al-Jazeera And Nixing Turkish Base

Two days after the US State Department formally inquired about WTF is going on between Arab States and Qatar, the countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Baahrain, and the UAE sent a list of 13 demands to the tiny Gulf nation to be met within 10 days in order to lift their total blockade of the country. Among them – reducing diplomatic ties with Iran, shutting down broadcaster Al Jazeera (and affiliates), and immediately cease working to open a Turkish military base announced in May of 2016. Also interesting is the demand that Qatar give up their intel on terrorist groups they have supported and “provide all databases related to oppositionists…” (Scroll down for full list of demands)

This formal list comes on the heels of a June 6th rumor that Arab States issued a list of 10 demands to be fulfilled within 24 hours, however Qatar said they never received them according to Al Jazeera journalists who are now dusting off their resumes.

Embargo

On June 5th, news broke that Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt had cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations of ‘spreading chaos’ by ‘funding terrorism and supporting Iran’ – shutting down all land, sea, and air crossings with the tiny energy-rich nation that has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatari visitors and residents were given two weeks to leave – while diplomats had just 48 hours.

 

While Qatar has been friendly with Iran for years, the prelude to the embargo began after a broadcast which showed Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speaking with no audio – and scrolling text at the bottom of the screen which stated his support for Iran and terrorist groups. Qatar claims the broadcast was ‘hacked.’

After the broadcast, Saudi Arabia and the UAE blocked Qatari news organization Al-Jazeera.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Germany’s Gabriel Warns Qatar Crisis “Could Lead To War” As Qatar Emissary Flies To Moscow

Germany’s Gabriel Warns Qatar Crisis “Could Lead To War” As Qatar Emissary Flies To Moscow

Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that the ongoing isolation of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies could lead to a war in the Gulf region, according to an interview he gave to Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, although he added that he still saw a chance to defuse the tension.

“There is a danger that this dispute could lead to war,” Gabriel said citing what he called a “dramatic” harshness in relations between allied and neighbouring countries in the Gulf.

The foreign minister said personal talks this week with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Kuwait underscored his concerns.

“After my talks this week, I know how serious the situation is, but I believe there are also good chances to make progress.”

Gabriel also said that he had a phone conversation with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the Gulf situation on Friday and said that Tillerson showed a “very wise and prudent attitude” that has contributed to calming the conflict.

Yet while Tillerson was “calming” the conflict, during a press conference on Friday Trump appeared to be adding fire to it, when the president accused Qatar of being a “high level” funder of terrorism even as the Pentagon and Tillerson cautioned against the military, commercial and humanitarian effects of a blockade imposed by Arab states and others.

As expected, on Saturday Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcomed Trump’s demand for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism, but did not respond to a U.S. Department of State call for them to ease pressure on the Gulf state. After severing ties with Qatar on Monday, Saudi Arabia said it was committed to “decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism” in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, attributed to “an official source”.

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It’s A “Geopolitical Earthquake”: A Stunned World Responds After Saudi Alliance Cuts All Ties With Qatar

It’s A “Geopolitical Earthquake”: A Stunned World Responds After Saudi Alliance Cuts All Ties With Qatar

Virtually nobody saw it coming.

Late on Sunday night, the Saudi-led alliance of Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain including Egypt, shocked the world when they announced they had severed ties and closed borders with one of the Gulf’s wealthiest, if smallest, neighbors Qatar, a (now former) member of the Gulf Cooperation Council in what we called a “geopolitical earthquake” and what Bloomberg dubbed an unprecedented move designed to punish one of the region’s financial superpowers for its ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region.”

As we noted first last night, just days after president Trump left the region, a “geopolitical earthquake” took place in the Middle East as the rift between Qatar and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council exploded with Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt cutting all diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing it of “spreading chaos,” by funding terrorism and supporting Iran. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt all said they will suspend air and sea travel to and from the Gulf emirate. Saudi Arabia will also shut land crossings with its neighbor, potentially depriving the emirate of imports through its only land border.

It was not immediately clear when the proposed measures would be implemented. Saudi Arabia said it would “begin immediate legal measures with friendly, sisterly countries and international companies to implement that measure as quickly as possible for all types of transit from and to the state of Qatar.”

Saudi Arabia cited Qatar’s support of “terrorist groups aiming to destabilize the region,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and al-Qaeda. It accused Qatar of supporting “Iranian-backed terrorist groups” operating in the kingdom’s eastern province as well as Bahrain.  Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain and the U.A.E., gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave.


Donald Trump meets Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Riyadh in May

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Neocons Are Still Writing The Script

Today’s Stunted Oil Prices Could Cause Oil Price Shock In 2020

Today’s Stunted Oil Prices Could Cause Oil Price Shock In 2020

Refinery

As oil prices remain unsteady and OPEC continues to make headlines every hour, the world is focused on oil’s immediate future. As Saudi Arabia announces plans to slash production and move their economy away from oil dependency, many industry insiders are predicting that the now over-saturated market will reach an equilibrium with higher commodity prices by 2018 and U.S. shale production will continue to grow along with global demand.

Robert Johnston, the CEO of one of the world’s biggest political risk consultancies, is unconvinced. In a speech made at the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators’ 2017 International Petroleum Summit, Johnston laid out his concerns for the future of oil.

What I don’t hear people asking is, ‘then what?’ Are the Saudis going to maintain these production cuts forever, or at some point do they have to start reversing that? I think in 2018 they will be reversing those production cuts,” he said. These important questions aren’t getting enough attention according to Johnston, whose firm Eurasia Group foresees a fast-approaching supply gap that Saudi Arabia and U.S. oil may not be able to fill.

Eurasia Group forecasts about 7 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) of new crude supply by 2022. This includes about 5 MMbbl/d of U.S. shale growth and about 2 MMbbl/d from oil sands and deepwater extraction. But by the year 2022, another 15 MMbbl/d of new supply may be needed, as demand trends predict an annual growth rate of about 1 MMbbl/d. With this kind of impending discrepancy between supply and demand, the industry needs to start looking for new sources of oil, and quickly.

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The Horror! The Horror! (Part Two)

THE HORROR! THE HORROR! (PART TWO)

In Part One of this article I detailed how propaganda has been utilized by the Deep State for decades to control the minds of the masses and allow those in control to reap the benefits of never ending war. In Part Two I will discuss recent events, false flags, and propaganda campaigns utilized by the Deep State to push the world to the brink of war.

“We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness”Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

The use of graphic images, electronically transmitted across the world in an instant, along with a consistent false narrative promoted by the captured corporate media, is the preferred means of appealing to the emotions of those who want to believe atrocity propaganda. Instigating a march to war through the use of unfounded fear, misinformation, staged photo ops, and appealing to passions and prejudices was as revolting to Albert Einstein  in the 1930s as it is today to normal thinking individuals.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – Albert Einstein

It seems the level and intensity of the propaganda campaigns has ratcheted up dramatically in the last half dozen years and appears to be reaching a crescendo as we speak.

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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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