H/t reader squodgy:
“I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about, isn’t this opulence justified in a totally corrupted world…..it is TOTALLY corrupted.”
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A UK charity is warning British tourists and expats in Dubai not to report rape to police after a woman was arrested and charged with “extramarital sex” after telling authorities she had been gang raped.
Detained in Dubai, an organization that assists people who have become victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), says rape should not be reported in the country because of “racist” preconceptions held against Western tourists and “manipulation when it comes to criminal accusations.”
“We get people contacting us asking whether they should report a crime and – whether it be a rape or anything else – I often say no. Absolutely not,” Radha Stirling, the founder of the charity, told the Independent.
Dubai received bid of $.0299/kWh for 800MW of solar power. This price represents the lowest yet recorded for solar power (and might not represent the end of the price drops…).
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has received 5 bids from international organisations for the third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, said HE Saeed Mohammed AlTayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. The lowest recorded bid at the opening of the envelopes was US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the bids to select the best one.
In the USA, in 2014 and with incentives, utility scale solar projects averaged $.05/kWh. On this bid alone, five companies bid below $.045/kW – without subsidies!
On Christmas Day, 2015, we told our readers the fascinating tale about the Turkish-Iranian gold smuggling ring – perhaps the biggest and most brazen in history, one which lasted for years, which saw billions in gold transported out of Turkey and into Iran to allow Tehran to circumvent the western financial sanctions using gold as a medium for bater, and which was all made possible thanks to the tiny Emirate of Dubai.
What made this particular instance of gold smuggling especially memorable is that it reached to the very political top in both Turkey, and Iran, and Dubai.
Earlier this week, we told a fascinating story about an unprecedented, multi-year smuggling ring involving Turkey, Iran, and Dubai (as well as China, Russia and countless other nations) which saw corruption reaching to the very top of the political and financial establishment: from president Erdogan in Turkey, to one of Turkey’s richest people, Iran-born Riza Sarraf, to Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the son of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and one of the world’s richest people. The smuggled object in question was gold, billions of dollars worth of gold.
Long before Turkey was flagrantly arming and funding the CIA-created “terrorist organization” known as ISIS, there was another, far more elaborate way in which Turkey was flaunting international sanctions against an ostracized state – in this case Iran – which involved an epic gold smuggling triangle of Hollywood-thriller proportions, all made possible thanks to the United Arab Emirate city of Dubai.
Best known known for its luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture including the world’s tallest building, a lively nightlife scene, and a facade of openness and decorum, what Dubai is less known for is its unprecedented seedy underbelly of corruption and untouched criminality among the handful of billionaire oligarchs, princes, sheiks and sultans, who quietly dominate the local (and global) power and financial structure.
But first, a little history.
– It’s Not Just Russia: Middle East In Freefall, Biggest Plunge In 6 Years (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Dubai’s Financial Market General Index is now down 40% since the peak in oil prices in June this year. For now, only Qatar is clinging to gains year-to-date as the rest of the Middle Eastern equity markets give up 30-60% gains from mid-year and tumble to negative. Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone are down over 8% since Friday. Saudi Arabia is down 7.3% today – the biggest drop in 6 years.
Saudi Arabia’s worst day in 6 years
– Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges post record one-day falls (Telegraph, Nov 30, 2009)
Dubai’s index sank 7.3pc, its biggest one-day fall since October last year. Abu Dhabi’s Securities Exchange endured the largest one-day loss in its history as it ended the session down 8.3pc.
Only this time everything will be much, much worse.
Prepare for collapse.
– Ripple Effects Begin: Dubai Crashes Over 6.5%, Most In 14 Months (ZeroHedge, Oct 12, 2014):
It appears the weakness in US equity markets (the last of the hot money flow darlings to be hit) is now rippling back down the bubble-complex of world equity markets. Dubai, infamous for its huge surge in the last 2 years and 36x over-subscribed IPO of a company with no actual operations – which marked the top before a 30% collapse – was open for business today and crashed 6.5%. This the Dubai Financial Markets General Index biggest daily drop in 14 months… the ripple effect is beginning.
It appears the hot money trades are slowly being unwound… commodities, EM FX, HY credit, and now US equities…
Domed or doomed?
– World’s first climate-controlled domed city to be built in Dubai (PHOTOS) (RT, July 12, 2014):
Dubai has announced plans to build the first climate-controlled city on the planet. The area, constructed under a huge glass dome, will accommodate the world’s largest shopping center, over 100 hotels, and a wellness district for medical tourists.
The city of Dubai is the most populous in the United Arab Emirates, and the second-largest emirate by territorial size. Though it is a popular tourist spot, many are deterred from visiting due to the city’s scorching heat, with temperatures reaching 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) in the summer.
– The Times of India: “Almost Every Passenger on a Flight from Dubai to Calicut Was Found Carrying 1kg of Gold” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Dec 23, 2013):
Watching Indian bureaucrats attempt to halt more than one billion human beings’ desire for gold has been one of the more entertaining and pathetic stories of all of 2013. It is one that I have covered on many occasions, the latest being my post from earlier this month: Gold Smuggling Increases 7x in India and Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade.
Well it appears the trend continues, potentially at an accelerated rate, as we just learned that, incredibly, “almost every passenger on a flight from Dubai to Calicut was found carrying 1kg of gold.” As I have said many times in the past, if an Indian wants their gold, they will have their gold.
– Dubai Gold Demand Off the Charts as Price Plunges (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 27, 2013):
Only in the gold market does huge demand equal a price collapse! I suppose the problem is they don’t buy Comex contracts in Dubai and India. As I mentioned on Twitter earlier today, the pile-on from gold bears is reaching extreme proportions, something like you’d expect near a bottom. I bought physical silver today for the first time in over a year.
From the UAE’s The National:
There is not enough space on airlines flying in to Dubai to meet the rapidly rising demand for physical gold in the emirate since the price plunged to record lows this week.
The price drop led to a rush of buyers for Dubai gold from the Middle East, South East Asia, the Balkans, Turkey and parts of Europe according to Tarek El Mdaka, the managing director of Kaloti Gold in Dubai.
“I cannot find a place for transporting gold on Emirates, on BA on Swiss Airlines this weekend,” Mr El Mdaka said. “I am shipping in one-and-a-half to two tonnes of gold every day and it is going straight out.”
– New Information Shows Gold Demand in Dubai is Now Running at 10x Normal Levels (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 13, 2013):
The disconnect between the massive physical buying of gold versus the falling paper derivatives price has now become nothing short of extraordinary. While we have all seen the figures describing the gold buying frenzy in China and India, now we have some more detailed information about what is happening on the ground in Dubai. Incredibly, we find that since the April paper price crash, 50 tons of gold has been purchased, which is the equivalent of the entire amount of 51.8 tons purchased in all of 2012.
One of the most comprehensive looks at the massive physical versus paper disconnect I have read is courtesy of Goldbroker.com, a company that specializes in physical bullion stored in Switzerland. I suggest checking out their latest Gold Market Report.
Now from Emirates 24/7 we find that:
– Who held Kevin McGeever in a dark room for eight long months? (Independent.ie, Feb 3, 2013):
Locals say developer is just as mysterious as his bizarre abduction
THE enigma of the Irish property developer who claimed he was held captive for eight months and tortured deepened this weekend as more details emerged about his bizarre ordeal.
Kevin Michael McGeever was found wandering by the side of a Leitrim road last Tuesday, confused, emaciated, barefoot, with long fingernails and a lengthy beard. It soon transpired he was a wealthy property developer who sold apartments in Dubai and who was reported missing more than eight months ago.
The strange story of the kidnapped developer has captivated the media. Reports said he identified his abductors as Russian mafia who took him at gunpoint, that the word “thief” was carved into his forehead and that he had been starved to the point of malnutrition. However, according to garda sources, Mr McGeever has not nominated any suspects and the inscription on his forehead was written with ink that will fade in time.
– A99 Operation Empire State Rebellion: World’s Most (In)Famous Hacker Group ‘Anonymous’ Brings Peaceful Revolution To America To End Corrupt Two-Party System And Above All To Break Up Global Banking Cartel (Federal Reserve, IMF, BIS And World Bank)
– Anonymous strikes again: Iranian and UAE governments hacked (Independent, 3 June 2011):
Hackers have broken into the networks of both the Iranian and the Dubai governments, stealing more than 10,000 email messages as well as system usernames and passwords and releasing them online.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs succumbed to a hacking attack perpetrated by Anonymous, which yielded the bulk of the email addresses. And, on Friday afternoon, a lone hacker – apparently with links to the group – struck the Dubai government’s system, releasing a “historic list of former gov.ae email passwords”, the domain used by the Arab Emirate.
While the first hack yielded around 10,000 emails, taken from the Iranian government and took control of some of its servers, the second was much smaller, including only around 100 usernames with passwords taken from the Dubai government, which are thought to be out-of-date. However, they serve to indicate the group’s reach just one day after another hacking group carried out an attack which yet again rocked Sony.
The hacktivist responsible for targeting Dubai said he had carried out the assault “because it’s time governments learn they have no power on the internet. This is our world”.
Gold is down 6% and silver 12% since the start of 2011. This is the sharpest decline in precious metals since June of last year and with technical support broken at the 50-day moving averages, many are concerned of a deeper correction ahead.
While there are a myriad of factors driving the prices, two of the major opposing forces are Chinese demand for physical gold on the long side and JPMorgan paper schemes on the short side. Which force prevails in the short term remains to be seen, but in the long run the paper shorts will eventually be squeezed, pushing the price for both gold and silver much higher.
Corrections are a healthy and normal part of any secular bull market, allowing the bull to rest its legs, shake out weak hands and prepare for the next phase up. Every correction in precious metals over the past decade has brought so-called “experts” out of the woodwork to proclaim an end to the gold bull market. They were wrong when gold hit $500, $800, $1,000 and will be wrong many times again before gold finally does peak somewhere above $5,000 per ounce.
But the recent slide in gold and silver prices seems like more than the usual correction and profit taking. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act during July of 2010 and many metals analysts believed it would lead to the CFTC implementing sensible position limits. In addition, the passing of the Volker rule and closing of prop trading desks seemed to jump start precious metals into an impressive and steady advance.
Many gold bugs believed they were witnessing the end of the fraudulent gold and silver manipulation that has been occurring so blatantly over the past several years. This manipulation has been painstakingly exposed by GATA over the years, was detailed in an earlier article that I published and has led to a series of lawsuits against JPMorgan and others.
Gold and silver posted impressive gains in 2010, with gold up 30%, while silver rocketed more than 80% higher! But these advances came to an abrupt halt at the start of 2011 and the decline worsened a few weeks later when the CFTC announced the details of it proposed position limits. First off, the proposed limits were way too high to curb manipulation and more importantly, JPMorgan, HSBC and other large investment banks were granted an exemption to the new position limit rules by being “grandfathered.” The CFTC absolutely caved to the interests of JPMorgan and the price of gold and silver both proceeded to tank and drop through key levels of support.
To what degree the CFTC decision is driving the decline in precious metals is unclear. Gene Arensberg recently pointed out that the large commercial banks have actually been covering their short positions lately and that the swap dealers are the ones that have been uncharacteristically piling on the paper shorts. Regardless, big money has certainly been helping to push prices lower, even as the dollar has weakened significantly in the past few weeks.
While the paper market has been driving the spot price lower, the physical market appears to be as robust as ever. Sales of silver eagle coins for the month of January have already set a new all-time record, with ten days still left in the month. Furthermore, silver demand in China has quadrupled versus last year, as the emerging Chinese middle class looks for a hedge against inflation and the Chinese government encourages its citizens to buy gold and silver.
This is a relatively new phenomenon in Chinese culture, as ownership of precious metals was illegal just a few short years back. But this has all changed as China has become the largest producer of gold in the world and is expected to surpass India as the largest consumer of gold as well.
Demand from China is not only coming from the citizens though, as the Chinese government has been accumulating massive amounts of gold and silver for their reserves. After not reporting gold reserves for six years, the Chinese government in 2009 made a surprise announcement that they had nearly doubled their gold reserves to over 1,000 tons. They have been doing this quietly via buying up the production from Chinese mining companies, as well as making purchases in the open market via intermediaries.
China announced annual gold production of 314 tons in 2010 and this number is expected to be around 320 tons in 2011. If the suspicion that China is buying up most of the country’s gold production is true, there could well be another 600 tons or more moved into ‘unofficial’ reserves before the next announcement. Add in purchases in the international market, and it is conceivable that China’s reserves could effectively be doubled again by the end of 2011 to some 2,000 tons.
With the liquidity crisis surrounding the rollover of Greek debt subsiding, the probability of default for that country has plummeted from nearly even odds to just over one in three.
Last Week’s Numbers: 06 May 2010
Meanwhile, other state and national governments are showing continued stress. Venezuela tops the list with a CDS spread of 1049 and a risk of default now over 50%. Argentina and Pakistan are also now ahead of Greece which is now only the 4th most likely government in the world to default.
Most recent numbers: 11 May 2010
The usual suspects are on the list including Dubai, Ukraine and Latvia. The one thing to notice is that California has now cracked the top ten with a 20% default probability. For California muni bond holders, this number bears watching.
CDS traders were prescient in snapping up Greek and Dubai CDS long before anyone else realized the risk these countries are in (well, more like Goldman selling CDS to some very close clients, wink wink).
In exchange for figuring out what it took cash bond holders months to understand, these ‘speculators’ made a lot of money and in the process got branded as quasi-sovereign terrorists.
Well, Greece can sleep well: according to the latest DTCC CDS data (for the week ended April 9), CDS specs have completely deserted Greece, which saw the single biggest amount of Net Notional CDS decrease, to just over $8 billion, a reduction of $367 million in the prior week (which means all the widening in Greek spreads is now, and has been, just cash bond sales, precisely what Zero Hedge has claimed all along).
CDS traders are now focusing their attention on the one country which has so far slipped under everyone’s radar, yet which we disclosed is more on the hook in terms of Southern European exposure than even Germany: France, with $781 billion in total claims.
Should Greece topple the PIIGS dominoes, France will implode. And this is precisely what CDS traders are betting on now, taking advantage of absurdly tight France CDS levels.
Also, just in case they are wrong on France, Spain and Portugal, not surprisingly, round out the top three names in which Net Notional saw the largest increase. Also not surprisingly, Japan rounds out the top 5 deriskers.
Top 10 deriskers:
Last week had the opportunity to visit Kynikos Associates in Manhattan and speak with its President, famed short-seller James S. Chanos.
The billionaire hedge funder is the stuff of legend. He made a killing shorting companies like Tyco, Worldcom, and of course, Enron. Chanos spoke with us at length on everything from how he discovered Enron’s problems to the issues at hand with Greece to the ongoing problems in China.
We’ll be running several posts on our Q&A sessions with Chanos throughout the week.
Today we talk about Dubai, Greece, and the role of derivatives in these markets.
Business Insider: Let’s talk about Dubai and Greece. Dubai – was it just a case of a nation that saw too much growth and excessive debt?
Jim Chanos: No, no. Dubai was a property bubble. Plain and simple. Go to Dubai and see what happened. It was…what I call it the “Ediffice complex” – it’s just, we can grow by putting up lots and lots of buildings and trying to attract people to come here, stay here, and put up offices here and sooner or later, you put up too many. And whether it’s the Palm Island project or the indoor ski resort or, you know, take your pick because everyone has lots of Dubai stories. At first it seemed plausible and economic and by the end of the boom, they were putting on drawing boards all kinds of crazy projects. So it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the excesses. They were pretty visible to the naked eye.
Greece is a different issue. We’re not involved. We don’t trade sovereign debt, we don’t trade CDSes. You know I feel bad for my mother country in that they’re going through a lot of austerity now and I actually think that the Prime Minister and his team are doing the right thing. I met with them recently, actually, in Washington [DC] and they gave a pretty rational response to a problem that they, quite frankly, inherited.
You know they came in and discovered the hole in the budget deficit and discovered a lot of the off balance sheet stuff that was not of their doing. And he’s taking the politically unpopular step of extending the retirement age and cutting government wages not knowing if it’s going to be enough and so far the market is pretty skeptical, but I think the Greek government is being more courageous than some of the other western-European governments who aren’t addressing these issues and are going to be facing these same problems like Greece down the road. So Greece is a prelude to the problems that a lot of other countries will face that have made promises to their people without the ability to pay for them.
KABUL — A blizzard of bank notes is flying out of Afghanistan — often in full view of customs officers at the Kabul airport — as part of a cash exodus that is confounding U.S. officials and raising concerns about the money’s origin.
The cash, estimated to total well over $1 billion a year, flows mostly to the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, where many wealthy Afghans now park their families and funds, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. So long as departing cash is declared at the airport here, its transfer is legal.
But at a time when the United States and its allies are spending billions of dollars to prop up the fragile government of President Hamid Karzai, the volume of the outflow has stirred concerns that funds have been diverted from aid. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, for its part, is trying to figure out whether some of the money comes from Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade. And officials in neighboring Pakistan think that at least some of the cash leaving Kabul has been smuggled overland from Pakistan.
“All this money magically appears from nowhere,” said a U.S. official who monitors Afghanistan’s growing role as a hub for cash transfers to Dubai, which has six flights a day to and from Kabul.
Meanwhile, the United States is stepping up efforts to stop money flow in the other direction — into Afghanistan and Pakistan in support of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Senior Treasury Department officials visited Kabul this month to discuss the cash flows and other issues relating to this country’s infant, often chaotic financial sector.
David Fiderer’s below piece, originally published on the Huffington Post, continues probing the topic of Goldman and AIG. For all intents and purposes the debate has been pretty much exhausted and if there was a functioning legal system, Goldman would have been forced long ago to pay back the cash it received from ML-3 (which in itself should have been long unwound now that plans to liquidate AIG have been scrapped) and to have the original arrangement reestablished (including the profitless unwind of AIG CDS the firm made improper billions on, by trading on non-public, pre-March 2009, information), and now that AIG is solvent courtesy of the government, so too its counterparties can continue experiencing some, albeit marginal, risk, instead of enjoying the possession of cold hard cash. Oh, and Tim Geithner would be facing civil and criminal charges.
Yet as we look forward, we ask, who now determines the variation margin on Greek CDS (and Portugal, and Dubai, and Spain, and, pretty soon, Japan and the US), the associated recovery rate, and how much collateral should be posted by sellers of Greek protection? If Greek banks, as the rumors goes, indeed sold Greek protection, and, as the rumor also goes, Goldman was the bulk buyer, either in prop or flow capacity, it is precisely Goldman, just like in the AIG case, that can now dictate what the collateral margin that Greek counterparties, and by extension the very nation of Greece, have to post on billions of dollars of Greek insurance. Let’s say Goldman thinks Greece’s debt recovery is 75 cents and the CDS should be trading at 700 bps, instead of the “prevailing” consensus of a 90 recovery and 450 spread, then it will very likely get its way when demanding extra capital to cover potential shortfalls, since Goldman itself has been instrumental in covering up Greece’s catastrophic financial state and continues to be a critical factor in any future refinancing efforts on behalf of Greece. Obviously this incremental margin, which only Goldman will ever see, even if the CDS was purchased on a flow basis, will never be downstreamed on behalf of its clients, and instead will be used to [buy futures|buy steepeners|prepay 2011 bonuses|buy more treasuries for the BONY $60 billion Treasury rainy day fund].
In essence, through its conflict of interest, its unshakable negotiating position, and its facility to determine collateral requirements and variation margin, Goldman can expand its previous position of strength from dictating merely AIG and Federal Reserve decision making, to one which determines sovereign policy! This is unmitigated lunacy and a recipe for financial collapse at the global level.
This is yet another AIG in the making, with Goldman this time likely threatening to accelerate the collapse not merely of the US financial system, but of the global one, in order to attain virtually infinite negotiating leverage. Of course, the world will not allow a Greece-initiated domino, allowing Goldman to call everyone’s bluff once again.