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“Panic, Pure Panic” – Chilean Peso Collapses To 800/USD, Blowing Through Record Lows

“Panic, Pure Panic” – Chilean Peso Collapses To 800/USD, Blowing Through Record Lows

The Chilean peso extended a four-day losing streak on Tuesday, sinking by the most in eight years, to a new record low at 800/USD.

Source: Bloomberg

Bearish market sentiment, political chaos, and a national strike intended to ratchet up pressure on the government and its plans to change the constitution…

Berlin Wall commemorations: In the first half of 1989 “there wasn’t a sense of imminent collapse”

Source: Bloomberg

“This is panic, pure panic,” said Felipe Alarcon, chief economist at EuroAmerica in Santiago.

“It’s the gringos leaving the country.”

However, Bloomberg reports that Citigroup believes that the Chilean peso is not yet at a stage where BCCh would intervene.

The central bank last stepped into market in 2009, when CLP’s real effective exchange rate was ~9% weaker than the current level (REER was about 3% weaker in 2014-15 vs now and the bank didn’t intervene back then).

Citi adds that Chile’s low growth, low inflation environment means country can afford weaker currency without much discomfort.

But, according to Eurasia, President Ivan Duque’s low political capital “heightens social risks as discontent with the administration will probably increase adherence to a national protest” planned for Nov 21.

How to Survive Riots and Civil Unrest

How to Survive Riots and Civil Unrest

As the world seems to be on fire in countries across the planet, the threat of civil unrest and riots certainly feels like it’s increasing. People are responding with rage to perceived injustices, and whether that rage is warranted or not isn’t the point of this article.

Often when I write about surviving events like mass shootings or riots, people scoff and say, “That was a false flag perpetrated by government operatives” or “Those people got paid by [insert evil billionaire here.]” The simple fact you must understand is that it doesn’t matter who started it, who paid for it, who instigated it, or who is taking part in it. If you find your city or town under siege by irate protesters, none of those things matter at the moment. These are things to be sorted out later.

What matters is how to survive and how to keep your loved ones safe. What we witnessed via social media of the riots in Chile should be enough to make anyone want to be prepared.

The idea of an angry mob appearing in your neighborhood is a frightening one but understanding more about the patterns of civil unrest can make it feel a bit more manageable.

It happens fast

It’s extremely important to understand how speedily riots can occur. In his newsletter, Simon Black of Sovereign Man wrote of his ties to Chile. He shared an eyewitness account.

…this past Friday was a particularly beautiful day. By lunchtime, people were out in the parks enjoying the weather. It was calm, peaceful, and joyful.

Within a matter of hours the city had turned into a war zone. Hours.

One of my team members told me on the phone yesterday, “If you had said on Friday afternoon that Santiago would be in chaos by nightfall, I would have laughed… And then it happened.” (source)

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

Over 1 Million Chileans Take to the Streets to Demand Political Reforms, Change to Country’s Neoliberal Economic System

Over 1 Million Chileans Take to the Streets to Demand Political Reforms, Change to Country’s Neoliberal Economic System

“Chile is not the same as it was yesterday.”

Protesters wave a Chilean flag during the eighth day of protests against President Sebastian Piñera's government on October 25, 2019 in Santiago, Chile.
Protesters wave a Chilean flag during the eighth day of protests against President Sebastian Piñera’s government on October 25, 2019 in Santiago, Chile. (Photo: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on Saturday said he would reshuffle his cabinet after over 1 million Chileans poured into city streets across the country Friday to demand structural reforms to the country’s government and economic system.

The move by Piñera came as the protest movement mobilized people in the captial Santiago and beyond. 

“We’re asking for justice, honesty, ethical government,” protester Francisco Anguitar told AFP Friday. 

Piñera made the announcement late Saturday morning. 


BREAKING: Chile’s President
Piñera has asked his ministers to resign, in the most dramatic move since protests began a week ago. The military also announced an end to the curfew. Yesterday’s protest, by more than 1 million Chileans, is forcing change.


The timeline and plan for the replacement of ministers remains unclear. On Saturday, Reuters reported that a document obtained by the news agency “suggested Piñera was considering replacing the heads of at least nine ministries, including the ministries of interior, defense, economy, transportation and environment.”

Chilean senator Felipe Kast on Twitter credited the Friday protests with prompting Piñera’s decision.

“A peaceful day that will leave its mark on our history,” said Kast. “Chile is not the same as it was yesterday.”

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

The 12-Step Method of Regime Change

The 12-Step Method of Regime Change

On 15 September 1970, US President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger authorised the US government to do everything possible to undermine the incoming government of the socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Nixon and Kissinger, according to the notes kept by CIA Director Richard Helms, wanted to ‘make the economy scream’ in Chile; they were ‘not concerned [about the] risks involved’. War was acceptable to them as long as Allende’s government was removed from power. The CIA started Project FUBELT, with $10 million as a first instalment to begin the covert destabilisation of the country.

CIA memorandum on Project FUBELT, 16 September 1970.

US business firms, such as the telecommunication giant ITT, the soft drink maker Pepsi Cola and copper monopolies such as Anaconda and Kennecott, put pressure on the US government once Allende nationalised the copper sector on 11 July 1971. Chileans celebrated this day as the Day of National Dignity (Dia de la Dignidad Nacional). The CIA began to make contact with sections of the military seen to be against Allende. Three years later, on 11 September 1973, these military men moved against Allende, who died in the regime change operation. The US ‘created the conditions’ as US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger put it, to which US President Richard Nixon answered, ‘that is the way it is going to be played’. Such is the mood of international gangsterism.

Phone Call between Richard Nixon (P) and Henry Kissinger (K) on 16 September 1973.

Chile entered the dark night of a military dictatorship that turned over the country to US monopoly firms. US advisors rushed in to strengthen the nerve of General Augusto Pinochet’s cabinet.

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

Batteries, mine production, lithium and the “cobalt crunch”

Batteries, mine production, lithium and the “cobalt crunch”

Growth in Li-ion batteries depends on a number of imponderables, such as how rapidly the world converts to electric vehicles, how quickly battery manufacturing capacity can be ramped up and where the electricity to power millions of EVs will come from. This post ignores these issues, concentrating instead on the question of whether the mining sector can increase production of the metals and minerals needed to support a high-battery-growth scenario without running out of reserves. The data are not good enough to reach a firm conclusion, but the main uncertainty seems to be whether cobalt production from the Congo, which presently supplies over half of global demand, can be relied on. Lithium and cobalt reserves will not be exhausted in the time frame considered (out to 2030) but will be close to it if no additional reserves are discovered. (Inset, lithium mine in Chile).

Unless otherwise specified the data used in this post are from the following three sources:

The 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which provides annual production and price data for lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earths since 1995 but reserve data for 2017 only.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) annual Mineral Commodity Surveys, which provide annual production and reserve data for cobalt since 1990 but incomplete data for lithium (US production is excluded) and no price data.

The British Geological Survey (BGS), which provides annual production data for all metals since 1970 but no data on reserves or prices.

Opinion is pretty much unanimous in projecting rapid growth in Li-ion batteries in coming years:

The Apricum Group predicts a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% through 2025: Global battery demand will increase fivefold from ~100 GWh today to ~500 GWh by 2025.

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

CHILE, WORLD’S FOURTH LARGEST SILVER PRODUCER: Mine Supply Down 20%

CHILE, WORLD’S FOURTH LARGEST SILVER PRODUCER: Mine Supply Down 20%

Silver mine supply from the world’s fourth-largest silver producer fell significantly at the beginning of 2018.  According to Chile’s Ministry of Mines, domestic silver production in January declined 20% versus the same month last year.  Chile’s silver production has been falling considerably since its recent peak in 2014.

In just three years, Chile’s domestic silver mine supply fell 10 million oz (Moz) from 50.1 Moz in 2014 to 40.4 Moz last year.  Interestingly, Chile’s silver production is down 20% since 2014 while the country’s copper mine supply is only down 5%.  Because most of Chile’s silver supply comes as a by-product of copper mining, it’s surprising to see such a significant decline in their silver production.

If we look at three of the top four silver producers in the world, Mexico’s silver mine supply in January increased 7% while Peru declined 6%:

According to the official data, Mexico’ silver production increased 29 metric tons (mt), Peru fell 20 mt and Chile dropped by nearly 21 mt.  Thus, overall silver mine supply from these top three producers fell 13 mt in January versus the same month last year.  Even though Mexico will likely experience an increase in silver mine supply in 2018, declining production from other leading countries may curtail overall world supply.

If we look at total silver production from these three countries, the peak took place in 2015 at 373 million oz:

In just two years, the combined silver output from Mexico, Peru, and Chile is down 21 Moz.  Now, what’s even more interesting is the growing disparity in production figures released by the official governments and those collected by Thomson Reuters GFMS and published in the World Silver Surveys.

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

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

The record is clear that ‘our’ (that is, the ruling Establishment’s) intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, have lied to the public many times, actually lie routinely — but these lies are always revealed only decades later, by historians, which is too late, because the damage was already done. Think, for example, of just two of the now-famous cases, Iran 1953, and Chile 1973, in both of which instances the US Government ended a democracy abroad, and established a brutal dictatorship there (the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile) — but what good can a historian do, when the Government and its ‘news’-media were persistently lying, and they had fooled the US public, at the time — which is all that really counted (and ever will count)? Can a historian undo the damage that the Government and its propaganda-agencies had perpetrated, by means of their lies, and coups, and invasions? Never. But this Government, and its propaganda-agents, claim to defend democracies, not to end them. Can it actually be a democracy, if it’s doing such things, and doing it time after time?

Something’s deeply wrong here. Government by deceit, cannot be a democracy. And, yet, the public still don’t get the message, even after it has been delivered to us in history-books. By then, it’s no longer in the news, and so only few people really care about it. The message of history is not learned. The public still accepts the ongoing lies — the new lies, in the new ‘news’, for the new atrocities.

During the period after the Soviet Union, and its communism, and its Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended in 1991, the US-and-allied historical record (all now after the Cold War has supposedly been over) is even worse, and is even more clearly evil, because the ideological excuse that had formerly existed (and which was only the excuse, and not the reason, in most cases, such as in Iran, and in Chile) is gone.

Iraq in 2003 was a particularly blatant demonstration of the US-Government’s psychopathy regarding foreign affairs. So: let’s consider this example (hopefully, to learn a lesson from it — which still hasn’t yet been learnt):

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

How Chile’s electricity sector can go 100% renewable

How Chile’s electricity sector can go 100% renewable

If pumped hydro plants that use the sea as the lower reservoir can be put into large-scale operation Chile would be able to install at least 10 TWh of pumped hydro storage along its northern coast. With it Chile could convert enough intermittent solar into dispatchable form to replace all of its current fossil fuel generation, and at a levelized cost of electricity (provisionally estimated at around $80/MWh) that would be competitive with most other dispatchable generation sources. Northern Chile’s impressive pumped hydro potential is a result of the existence of natural depressions at elevations of 500m or more adjacent to the coast that can hold very large volumes of sea water and which form ready-made upper reservoirs.

Valhalla’s pumped hydro plant

My recent review of the Valhalla solar/pumped hydro storage project is what set me to wondering how much untapped pumped hydro potential there might be in Northern Chile, so I begin with a brief recap of pumped hydro potential there.

Valhalla’s project layout map shows its two upper pumped hydro reservoirs (they will be connected by a canal) occupying two natural depressions at around 600m elevation and about seven kilometers from the sea. According to Valhalla they can hold at least 25 million cubic meters of sea water and according to my estimates about 15 gigawatt-hours of stored energy:

Figure 1: Valhalla’s pumped hydro project layout

The question I had was how to go about identifying other prospective pumped hydro reservoir sites in the area, and the best tool at my disposal was Google Earth. So before beginning my search I checked to see whether I could duplicate Valhalla’s reservoir outlines and volumes from  Google Earth, which in Northern Chile uses good-quality imagery and gives spot elevations to the nearest foot.

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

The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

The Valhalla solar/pumped hydro project

When and if it gets built the Valhalla project will consist of a 600 MW solar farm and a 300 MW pumped hydro plant which, it is claimed, will in combination deliver continuous baseload power to Northern Chile. If the project works as planned it will indeed deliver continuous baseload power, but only enough to fill about 5% of Northern Chile’s baseload demand. However, it would be the first to demonstrate that baseload power can be generated from a utility-scale PV plant. Development is presently on hold while Valhalla seeks $1.2 billion in financing. (Inset: Valhalla’s solar farm.)

The Valhalla project will send intermittent generation from the 600 MW Cielos de Tarapacá solar PV farm to the 300 MW Espejo de Tarapacá pumped hydro plant in order to convert it into baseload power. I touched on it in my 2016 solar in Chile post, and here I subject it to a more detailed review.

The pumped hydro plant

Valhalla’s pumped hydro plant is often claimed to be new technology because it uses the sea as the lower reservoir (there being no other option in the Atacama Desert). It is, however, preceded by the Yanbaru pumped hydro plant on Okinawa, Japan, a 30MW plant that used the sea as the lower reservoir. No details on Yanbaru’s performance are readily available, but the plant operated for 17 years between 1999 and 2016 and in fact went into commercial operation in or around 2003. Yanbaru’s purpose was to supply balancing services to the Okinawa grid (it was decommissioned in 2016 because of lack of demand) rather than convert large volumes of intermittent solar to baseload, but the fact that it operated for so long (and won a number of awards) suggests that seawater/pumped hydro technology can be regarded as at least partially proven.

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

Where the TPP Could Lose

Where the TPP Could Lose

After years of secret negotiations and silence in the media, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has risen to headline news. Now that Congress has voted to give President Obama “fast-track” trade promotion authority to push the deal through the House and Senate with limited debate and no amendments, efforts to finalize the agreement among member countries are proceeding in earnest.

But even if negotiators can reach a final accord, which is far from certain, the pact must still be approved by other national legislatures. And here, the United States is not the only country we should be watching. In Chile, where the administration of President Michelle Bachelet has moved forward with the TPP negotiation process, opposition is strong in the legislature. Even Bachelet’s minister of foreign affairs has indicated that Chile won’t sign the agreement if the TPP doesn’t meet certain criteria.

The Chilean controversy over the TPP highlights some of the biggest problems with the agreement — for working people in Chile, the United States, and around the world — and it makes plain the false promises the Obama administration used to push Democrats to support fast track.

That a no vote from Chile might unravel the agreement as a whole — or inspire other legislatures to follow suit — may be wishful thinking. But growing opposition in that country is a reminder of what’s at stake and why it’s so important for national legislators — in the United States and abroad — to take a stand against bad trade deals. And it highlights the power that organized citizens have to hold politicians accountable and make the TPP vulnerable.

Corporate Boondoggle

The TPP would unite 12 Pacific Rim countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam — in an agreement so big it would account for 40 percent of the global economy.

 

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

 

 

 

7 Fascist Regimes Enthusiastically Supported by America

The U.S. treated Cuba as an enemy while backing deeply oppressive Latin American regimes.

President Barack Obama inspired a great deal of debate when, in December, he asserted that it was time for the United States to begin to normalize relations with Cuba and start loosening the embargo that has been in effect since the early 1960s. And many hard-right Republicans and neocons, from Texas’ Ted Cruz and Florida’s Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate to House Speaker John Boehner, have been vehemently critical of Obama’s stand. Boehner has insisted that “relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom,” and Cruz has maintained that because Fidel and Raul Castro are “brutal dictators,” the embargo must remain. But given the United States’ long history of supporting one fascist dictatorship after another in Latin America, the embargo of Cuba has been the height of hypocrisy on the U.S.’ part. While it’s true that Amnesty International has often been critical of the Castro regime over the years, many of the other Latin American dictatorships that Amnesty International has criticized have been U.S. allies—and Cuba has hardly had the market cornered on human rights abuses in Latin America.

Below are seven of the worst fascist regimes in Latin America that the U.S. enthusiastically supported.

1. Chile: Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s Military Junta, 1973-1990

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

 

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