Miners Sector 2015 Forecast :Dumping Assets At Fire-sale Prices

Senior mining companies are still holding many unnecessary and troubled assets on their books. So it would not be a surprise to see a few more dirt-cheap deals in 2015.

Scott Douglas/Riversdale Mining Ltd.Senior mining companies are still holding many unnecessary and troubled assets .

The junior mining sector is in such brutal shape right now that most companies are unwilling to even pay for booths at conferences that are geared to them.

 

Mr. Dethlefsen’s firm, Corsa Coal Corp., was approached this year about buying coal assets in Pennsylvania from Russian steel giant OAO Severstal, which was bailing out of the United States.

Severstal had bought these operations for $900 million in 2008, when steelmaking coal prices were hitting all-time highs. Mr. Dethlefsen would not pay anything close to that in today’s awful coal market, but he didn’t have to. Corsa bought the operations for a grand total of US$60 million, or less than 8% of what Severstal paid.

“It’s a tough market. We have our work cut out for us with this business and it’s not going to be easy,” said Mr. Dethlefsen, Corsa’s chief executive.

“But we’d rather start by paying US$60 million than US$500 million.”

Indeed. It used to be that when mining companies put assets up for auction, they wouldn’t actually sell them unless they got a very full price. That could be because their commodity price assumptions were too optimistic, or they were just too attached to them and convinced they could extract more value. Dozens of interesting projects were put up for auction in recent years and never changed hands because sellers demanded too much money.

We have our work cut out for us with this business and it’s not going to be easy

That changed in 2014, especially at the low end. This will go down as the year when miners were happy to dump their troubled assets. They just wanted to get them off the books and make them someone else’s problem.

The Corsa-Severstal deal was one such example. Rio Tinto Ltd., another, sold coal assets in Mozambique for US$50 million, just three years after paying US$3.7 billion for them. Kinross Gold Corp. dumped Fruta del Norte, possibly the world’s richest undeveloped gold project, for US$240 million, or less than a quarter of what it paid six years ago.

A Billion Dollar Loss – and more of these stories to be written in 2015

And then there was the unfortunate tale of Alberta coal miner Grande Cache Coal Corp. A pair of Asian commodity traders (Marubeni Corp. and Winsway Enterprises Holdings) paid $1 billion for the company in 2011. But coal prices turned dramatically against them. So in October, they agreed to sell their Grand Cache stakes for a buck. Each.

These fire-sale prices generated some laughs across the industry. Yet the deals have an undeniable logic in the current volatile market conditions.

Handout/Grande Cache Coal

Handout/Grande Cache CoalA pair of Asian commodity traders (Marubeni Corp. and Winsway Enterprises Holdings) paid $1 billion for Grande Cache Coal in 2011. But coal prices turned dramatically against them. So in October, they agreed to sell their Grand Cache stakes for a buck. Each.

During the mining bull market (roughly 2002 to 2011), the industry was undergoing massive consolidation as miners rode the wave of rising metal prices. Senior mining companies like Rio Tinto and Vale SA snapped up almost everything in sight, piling up a lot of debt and unnecessary assets in the process. As long as commodity prices were high, who cared? They were just happy to get bigger.

It took a steep drop in prices — and an embarrassing wave of writedowns — to force them to reconsider their strategy. They realized too much management time was being wasted on non-core assets that deliver minimal or no return. They also recognized that low commodity prices may last for a while and that they needed to shed these assets to get as lean as possible.

It has helped that almost every major mining company replaced its CEO over the last couple of years. These guys have no emotional attachment to the assets their predecessors overpaid for, and are happy to do whatever it takes to get value out of them.

“Everyone is looking at rationalizing their portfolios to their best core assets,” said Melanie Shishler, a partner and mining specialist at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. “In furtherance of that, I think people are being quite unrelenting in what they’re prepared to do to reach that goal.”

And there was nothing CEOs wanted to divest more than their problem assets. These assets were unloaded for bargain-basement prices after they backfired in spectacular ways.

For Severstal, it was a combination of a deteriorating coal market and Vladimir Putin. When Severstal bought the U.S. assets in 2008, coking coal prices were soaring above US$300 a tonne. Supply was so tight that steelmakers were terrified they would not be able to source product, so they started snapping up coal mining operations.

Today, that strategy seems absurd. Benchmark prices have plunged to US$117 a tonne, due to soaring supply and uncertain Chinese demand. Steelmakers no longer see any need to be vertically integrated.

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Kinross – Poster Child For Mining Sector Errors

For Toronto-based Kinross, the central issue was also politics. The problem with the Fruta del Norte (FDN) project is that it is in Ecuador, a country with no history of large-scale gold mining. Kinross paid $1.2 billion for FDN in 2008 even though Ecuador did not have a firm mining law at the time. It was a reckless gamble, and it backfired after the government demanded outrageous windfall profits taxes. (Kinross owns equity in FDN’s new owner, so it could still benefit if the mine is built.)

Rio Tinto fell victim to a lack of good due diligence. It paid billions for the Mozambique coal assets without having a firm transportation plan in place. The transportation constraints were far bigger than anticipated, making the coal assets almost worthless in Rio’s eyes.

Handout/Kinross

Handout/KinrossKinross paid $1.2 billion for the Fruta del Norte mine in 2008 even though Ecuador did not have a firm mining law at the time. It was a reckless gamble, and it backfired after the government demanded outrageous windfall profits taxes.

 

In the two-dollar Grande Cache deal, the Asian sellers decided the assets definitely worthless to them at these prices. Experts said the sellers were facing potential cash outflows in the short term, something they clearly wanted to avoid.

Senior mining companies are still holding many unnecessary and troubled assets on their books. So it would not be a surprise to see a few more dirt-cheap deals in 2015.

One notable thing about these transactions is they usually involved a large company selling to a very small one. Sometimes it takes a small company to give a problem asset the attention it needs to create value. If they can’t get the assets turned around, then these deals are not such a great bargain.

“I’ve always said one company’s non-core asset is the cornerstone asset of another one,” said Jack A. Bass, managing partner at Jack A. Bass and Associates.

That is certainly the case with Corsa, which transformed into a serious player overnight with the Severstal deal. But now that the excitement has worn off, the company has to prove it can generate actual value out of these operations in a miserable coal market. If Corsa pulls that off and prices rebound, it could turn out to be one of the best mining deals in decades.

“We took the opportunity to come in and buy at what we think is the trough,” Mr. Dethlefsen said.

“To do that, you’ve got to have a pretty strong stomach. Over the next 12 months, it’s going to be a knife fight.”

You Have Options:

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Gold and Precious MetalsThe largest gains for our clients came from the exit from the gold producers at $18oo an ounce and continuing until we hold no gold and no gold miners . This from the author of The Gold Investors Handbook.2015 – We continue to be on the sidelines for this sector – regardless of the gnomes of Switzerland . As a safe haven gold simply wasnot there for investors despite turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.How much more frightening can the prospect for peace be than to have wars in multiple locations? Secondly the spectre of inflation – on which I have given numerous talks – simply failed to materialize. In fact economists and portfolio managers such as myself are now more concerned about deflation – and the spectre is a Japanese style decades long slide in the world economy.
Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter athttp://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

 

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Natural Gas Investors In Denial

Natural Gas Declines After Stockpiles Drop Less Than Forecast

” Investors have to face this ” new normal”, Jack A.Bass

The Energy Information Administration said stockpiles dropped 26 billion cubic feet in the week ended Dec. 26 to 3.22 trillion. Analysts estimated a decline of 34 billion while a survey of Bloomberg users predicted a withdrawal of 30 billion.

“It’s another bearish withdrawal in a series of bearish withdrawals,” said Aaron Calder, senior market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston. “The last nine months we have been oversupplied. The bearish fundamentals already had a head start and they are supercharged by mild weather.”

Natural gas for February delivery slid 8.1 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.013 per million British thermal units at 12:04 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gas traded at $3.041 before the storage number was released at noon. Volume was 50 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are down 29 percent this year, heading for the first annual drop since 2011.

The EIA released the supply report a day early because of the New Year’s holiday.

The storage withdrawal was the smallest for the last week of the year since 2005. Supplies fell 108 billion the same week last year while the five-year average decline is 114 billion.

A deficit to the five-year norm narrowed to 2.5 percent from 4.9 percent the previous week. Supplies were 7.8 percent above year-earlier inventories, up from a surplus of 4.8 percent in last week’s report.

“The market keeps coming under pressure without the seasonal demand support,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Heating Season

Stockpiles may end the heating season in March, when storage levels bottom out as the peak-demand period ends, at 1.6 trillion cubic feet, double year-earlier levels, McGillian said.

This December is about 8.3 percent warmer than a year earlier based on natural-gas weighted heating degree days, Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC, said in an e-mail. The number of heating degree days next month may drop to 975, down 6.7 percent from January 2014, he said.

Weather models indicate a stronger cold front pushing across the Midwest and Northeast next week before giving way to more seasonal readings on Jan. 10 through Jan. 14, a Commodity Weather report today showed. The rest of the U.S. will see mostly average or higher readings during the period.

New York

Manhattan’s low on Jan. 9 will drop to 19 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 7 Celsius), 8 below normal, before rising three days later to 35, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College,Pennsylvania. About 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating.

Marketed gas production will expand in 2015 for the 10th consecutive year as new wells come online at shale deposits such as the Marcellus and the Utica in the East, the EIA said in its Dec. 9 Short-Term Energy Outlook. Output will rise 3.1 percent to 76.68 billion cubic feet a day, a record for the fifth straight year.

Speculators cut net-long positions in four benchmark gas contracts by 23,613, or 87 percent, to 3,648 in the week ended Dec. 23, the least since the market was net short in January 2012, a U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission report yesterday showed.

Long-only positions fell 4.2 percent to the least since November 2011, while shorts rose 3 percent.

“Right now we have more to go in this selloff; that is what the record amount of gas is doing to the U.S.” said McGillian.

 

 

Energy Forecast 2015 : Oil Prices Won’t Be Bouncing Back

The surge in production comes as growth in global demand hit a five-year low in 2014, due to "a sharp slowdown in Chinese oil demand growth and steep contractions in Europe and Japan," the IEA said in its December report.

The surge in production comes as growth in global demand hit a five-year low in 2014, due to “a sharp slowdown in Chinese oil demand growth and steep contractions in Europe and Japan,” the IEA said in its December report.
  • ANALYSIS

The world’s major producers continue to pump oil at record levels, dimming hopes of a price rebound in the near future.


Jack A. Bass tax planning and investing guru says the prolonged stretch of low oil prices to come will bring on economic and geopolitical changes that not so long ago were unthinkable

U.S. crude has lost half its value since the summer, as eight of the world’s Top 10 producers cranked up production at or near record levels, with no one willing to rein in output.

On Tuesday, the global benchmark Brent settled up 2¢ at US$57.90. U.S. crude settled up 51¢ at US$54.12 a barrel. Both measures hit 5-1/2-year lows Monday before rebounding slightly.

International Energy Agency data shows U.S. oil production has risen by 4.7 million barrels per day during the past five years, while Canada’s production is up one million bpd and Saudi Arabia has climbed by 1.7 million bpd.

The surge in production comes as growth in global demand hit a five-year low in 2014, due to “a sharp slowdown in Chinese oil demand growth and steep contractions in Europe and Japan,” the IEA said in its December report.

The global oil market appears heavily oversupplied during the first-half of 2015

At the same time, Saudi, Canadian, American, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Russian and UAE production were at or near their highest-ever levels.

“The global oil market appears heavily oversupplied during the first-half of 2015, with global stock builds becoming more manageable during the second-half of next year,” said RBC Capital Markets in a Dec. 18 report. “On an annual basis, we estimate the global oil market is approximately 1 million bpd oversupplied in 2015, but should tighten in 2016 as non-OPEC supply growth decelerate.”

There are few upside risks for oil at the moment. Markets barely registered news of a rocket attack last week on an oil terminal in Libya that saw up to 1.8 million bpd of oil wiped out from the market.

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Indeed, a deal between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan could see up to 300,000-bpd of oil entering the market by the first quarter. On Tuesday, the U.S. administration released more details on what kind of petroleum is allowed to be shipped under the 40-year ban on crude exports, that could further encourage production.

“I think we are in an era of low oil prices for some time to come,” said Phil Flynn, a Chicago-based analyst at The Price Futures Group Inc. “We ended the year in the U.S. with record inventories, we have OPEC basically on track to produce two million barrels per day more than the demand for their oil; and then we have other non-OPEC countries not showing any signs of cutting back in production — the glut is going to go on.”

Oil companies have started to take some action with rig counts at an eighth-month low in the U.S., but it will take a while for the process to filter through the supply chain.

In a sign of the lag, RBC expects non-OPEC supply growth to rise by 1.8 million bpd (compared to its previous estimate of 1.7 million bpd) in 2014, 1.1 million bpd (versus 1.3 million bpd) in 2015, and finally taper to 300,000  to 400,000  bpd in 2016 (compared to its previous estimate of 900,000 bpd).

While smaller, leveraged companies are expected to bear the brunt of the oil price plunge, the bigger, well-capitalized players will likely benefit from the purge of marginal barrels.

“The well-integrated oil companies are loving this,” Mr. Flynn says. “They are going to be able to ride it out and pounce on opportunities when others are going to be tight for cash.”

Few analysts expect an oil price recovery within the next few months, but some  believe markets are underestimating supply threats hovering over the horizon.

“We believe oil prices will rebound for three reasons,” said Leslie Palti-Guzman
, senior analyst, global energy and natural resources at Eurasia Group.

“Markets are underestimating the Libyan crisis, the U.S. Congress will impose more sanctions on Iran, curtailing its production, and Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies will take some action.

 

You Have Options:

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position

Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

 

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffs

2014 Commodity Review – Record Losing Run

Oil Set for Biggest Slump Since 2008 as OPEC Battles U.S. Shale

Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Rig hands work at a Knox Energy Inc. oil drilling site in Knox County, Ohio, U.S. OPEC… Read More

Oil headed for the biggest annual decline since the 2008 global financial crisis as U.S. producers and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cede no ground in their battle for market share amid a supply glut.

Futures slid as much as 1.1 percent in New York, bringing losses for 2014 to 46 percent. U.S. guidelines allowing overseas sales of ultralight oil without government approval may boost the country’s export capacity and “throw a monkey wrench” intoSaudi Arabia’s plan to curb American output, according to Citigroup Inc. U.S.crude inventories are forecast to rise to the highest level for this time of the year in three decades.

Oil’s slump has roiled markets from the Russian ruble to the Nigerian naira and squeezed government budgets in producing nations including Venezuela and Ecuador. It’s also boosted China’s emergency crude reserves and helped shrink fuel subsidies in India and Indonesia. OPEC has signaled it won’t cut supply to influence prices, instead preferring to defend market share amid an unprecedented U.S. shale boom.

“For this year, the biggest factor driving down oil prices was U.S. shale production followed by a price war,” Hong Sung Ki, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul, said by phone today. “The possibility of U.S. curbing output will be the only booster but nothing has been done, so we’re seeing a continuation of the price decline.”

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery dropped as much as 57 cents to $53.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $53.75 at 12:04 p.m. Singapore time. The contract climbed 51 cents to $54.12 yesterday, gaining for the first time in four days. Total volume was about 68 percent below the 100-day average.

U.S. Condensate

Brent for February settlement fell as much as 72 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $57.18 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices have decreased 48 percent this year. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.62 to WTI, compared with $12.38 at the end of last year.

President Barack Obama’s administration opened the door for expanded oil exports by clarifying that a lightly processed form of crude known as condensate can be sold outside the U.S.

The publication of guidelines by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security is the first public explanation of steps companies can take to avoid violating export laws. It doesn’t end the ban on most crude exports, which Congress adopted in 1975 in response to the Arab oil embargo.

“While government officials have gone out of their way to indicate there is no change in policy, in practice this long-awaited move can open up the floodgates to substantial increases in exports by end-2015,” Citigroup analysts led by Ed Morse in New York said in an e-mailed report.

Shale Oil

The U.S. oil boom has been driven by a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has unlocked supplies from shale formations including the Eagle Ford and Permian in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota. Production accelerated to 9.14 million barrels a day through Dec. 12, the fastest rate in weekly data that started in January 1983, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Crude stockpiles probably expanded by 900,000 barrels to 387.9 million in the week ended Dec. 26, based on the median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News before today’s report from the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

“What we’re seeing is that supplies from North America have really outpaced worldwide demand growth and as a result, we have a supply glut,” Andy Lipow, the president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by phone. “And that of course has put pressure on prices over the last several months.”

OPEC Policy

Global markets are oversupplied by 2 million barrels a day, according to Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Al Sada. Saudi Arabia, which is leading OPEC to resist production cuts, has said it’s confident that prices will rebound as global economic growth boosts demand.

OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the world’s oil, decided to maintain its output quota at 30 million barrels a day at a Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna, ignoring calls for supply reductions to support the market. The 12-member group produced 30.56 million a day in November, exceeding its collective target for a sixth straight month, a separate Bloomberg survey of companies, producers and analysts shows.

Saudi Arabia this month offered the widest discounts in more than 10 years to sell crude to Asia, a move followed by Iraq, Kuwait and Iran. That prompted speculation that Middle East producers are protecting market share amid increased shipments from Latin America, North Africa and Russia.

Economic Fallout

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro vowed an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the OPEC member out of recession as it struggled with the world’s fastest inflation. Ecuador, which relies on crude for about a third of its revenue, may cut next year’s budget by as much as $1.5 billion and seek additional financing if prices don’t stabilize, the Finance Ministry has said.

Oil’s collapse has also threatened to push Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, into recession as its currency headed for its steepest annual slide since 1998. The economy, which relies on crude sales for almost half its budget, may shrink as much as 4.7 percent next year if oil averages $60 a barrel, according to the central bank. Russia must adapt to the reality of prices that could drop to as low as $40, President Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 18.

In China, a factory gauge for December fell to a seven-month low today, adding to signs of slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer. The Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 49.6, down from 50 in November, indicating a contraction.

The Asian nation will account for about 11 percent of global demand in 2015, compared with 21 percent for the U.S., projections from the International Energy Agency in Paris show.

Commodities Head for Record Losing Run on Oil’s Rout, Dollar

The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM), which tracks 22 products from crude to copper, traded at 106.0552 points at 11:45 a.m. in Singapore from 106.1031 yesterday. It’s lost 16 percent this year, with crude, gasoline and heating oil as the biggest decliners. The gauge fell to 105.7551 yesterday, the lowest level since March 2009, and a fourth year of losses would be the longest since at least 1991. A breach of 101.9986 in 2015 would bring the measure to its lowest since 2002.

Energy prices collapsed in 2014 as a jump in U.S. drilling sparked a surge in output and price war with OPEC, which chose to maintain supplies to try to retain market share. The dollar climbed to the highest level in more than five years as a U.S. recovery spurred speculation that the Federal Reserve will start to raise borrowing costs next year. Commodities are set for a volatile year in 2015, with crude oil poised to extend its slump, according to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

“What we’re seeing is that supplies from North America have really outpaced worldwide demand growth and as a result, we have a supply glut,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by phone. “And that of course has put pressure on prices over the last several months. And as a result, it’s dragging down commodities indexes as well.”

Brent Slumps

Brent for February settlement traded at $57.48 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, with front-month prices 48 percent lower this year. West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.6 percent to $53.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline sank 44 percent this year.

A slowdown in China also hurt demand for raw materials as policy makers grappled with a property slowdown, and data today showed a factory gauge at a seven-month low in December. The world’s biggest user of metals is headed for its slowest full-year economic expansion since 1990. China’s central bank cut interest rates last month for the first time since 2012.

Coffee was the biggest gainer this year as the worst drought in decades eroded supplies in Brazil, the largest producer and exporter. Nickel rose the most among metals, gaining 9 percent to $15,149 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange after Indonesia halted ore exports. Both commodities rose in the early months of 2014, before dropping this quarter.

Oil Outlook

While most commodities looked oversold as the New Year neared, weak near-term fundamentals were unlikely to bring much confidence, ANZ analysts including Mark Pervan said in a report dated Dec. 22. An oversupplied market was likely to keep crude oil prices under pressure, they wrote.

Deutsche Bank AG this month cut its 2015 forecast for Brent to $72.50, down from an October prediction for an average of $88.75. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects Brent to average $80 to $85 a barrel in 2015, while WTI may trade at $70 to $75.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against major peers, advanced 10.6 percent in 2014 amid speculation the Fed may raise interest rates in the third quarter as the world’s biggest economy improves. The greenback strengthened against all of its 31 major peers this year.

You Have Options:

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Gold and Precious MetalsThe largest gains for our clients came from the exit from the gold producers at $18oo an ounce and continuing until we hold no gold and no gold miners . This from the author of The Gold Investors Handbook.2015 – We continue to be on the sidelines for this sector – regardless of the gnomes of Switzerland . As a safe haven gold simply wasnot there for investors despite turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.How much more frightening can the prospect for peace be than to have wars in multiple locations? Secondly the spectre of inflation – on which I have given numerous talks – simply failed to materialize. In fact economists and portfolio managers such as myself are now more concerned about deflation – and the spectre is a Japanese style decades long slide in the world economy.
Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter athttp://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

 

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Civeco Plunge Typical of Downdraft Trend in Energy Stocks

Civeo Sinks 50% After Halting Dividends, Closing Camps

Civeo Corp. (CVEO), the Houston-based owner of so-called man camps for energy workers, dropped 50 percent after suspending its dividend and closing lodges in response to lower demand for its services.

Civeo cut staff in Canada by 30 percent and in the U.S. by 45 percent this year as oil prices fell by almost half since June, according to a statement late yesterday. Capital spending next year will drop by an estimated 78 percent to $85 million, and Civeo warned it may need to write down the value of some of its assets.

The company halted its 13-cent quarterly dividend. Cutbacks by oil-sands producers have reduced demand for its services in Canada and coal companies in Australia are suffering from “persistently low” prices, Civeo said. It has closed two lodges in Canada and is evaluating other locations.

“There are few major oil-sands construction and expansion projects forecast for 2015, reducing the demand for labor and accommodations,” Chief Executive Officer Bradley Dodson said on a conference call yesterday, adding that the Athabasca oil-sands region is oversupplied with rooms for workers.

Civeo dropped to $4.14 at 12:18 p.m. in New York after plunging as much as 52 percent, the most on record.

The company was spun off by Oil States International Inc. (OIS) and began trading publicly in June at $23.25, when West Texas Intermediate crude was above $100 a barrel. The U.S. oil benchmark has since fallen to less than $54 a barrel.

Spending Cuts

Large U.S. oil companies in shale formations have reduced spending by 25 to 50 percent, and major producers in Canada’s oil sands have forecast spending for 2015 that’s 15 to 20 percent lower than this year, Dodson said. Civeo has limited work commitments in the oil sands after the first three months of 2015, he said.

Projects in the oil sands, where the extraction of thick bitumen requires multibillion-dollar mining operations or drilling that includes vast amounts of steam, are among the most costly to develop. About one-quarter of oil-sands projects need crude prices of at least $80 a barrel to be profitable, according to the International Energy Agency.

Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE), a Calgary-based oil-sands developer, said this month it will reduce spending next year by 15 percent, including a 64 percent reduction at its Narrows Lake project and a 46 percent cut to other emerging projects in the region.

Civeo said occupancy rate for rooms contracted in Canada has plunged to 35 to 40 percent in 2015 from more than 75 percent this year. In Australia, the rate has also dropped to 35 to 40 percent from more than 55 percent at the start of the year.

First-quarter sales will be $160 million to $175 million, down from $252.8 million a year earlier, Civeo said. Full-year sales next year will be $540 million to $600 million, missing the average estimate of $815 million compiled by Bloomberg from four analysts.

A private club in North Dakota’s Bakken shale that once charged membership fees as high as $25,000 and served jumbo shrimp cocktail was evicted this month in a sign that oil’s plunge is undercutting the region’s go-go years.

The Bakken Club was ordered on Dec. 17 to vacate its premises on Williston’s Main Street after failing to pay rent, state court records show. The club owed $21,598 for rent plus $1,329.90 in late fees, the landlord, On The Spot Development LLC, said in a Nov. 25 complaint. One check bounced.

The eviction, in the capital of the oilfield that set off the record surge in U.S. output, comes as a price war casts doubt on the boom’s future. The benchmark for U.S. crude oil fell as low as $52.70 a barrel today, the cheapest since May 2009, from more than $107 in June. Drillers such as Continental Resources Inc., the Bakken pioneer led by billionaire Harold Hamm, are idling rigs and cuttingspending.

 

Read More – our previous article :

Oil Falls : Sector Update Dec. 29 – and worse to come ( as we forecast)

Tax Planning for 2015  see http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

 

 

BlackBerry: A Year In Review and A Forecast from Forbes

BlackBerry: A Year In Review

Can BlackBerry Be The Comeback Kid?

For years the market has pronounced the death of BlackBerry. As another year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on what has transpired with BlackBerry and the mobile industry. The name BlackBerry was synonymous with mobile phones, keyboards and email. Today, some of these elements still hold true. In a market where all smartphones look similar, BlackBerry returned to its signature physical QWERTY keyboard on the recently released Classic and also offered a keyboard on a square shaped phone called the Passport. I had the opportunity to use the Passport and appreciated its screen size and keyboard.

Yet, the mobile market has evolved and so to has BlackBerry. It would be foolish to think of BlackBerry as solely a mobile phone manufacturer. It’s clear that phones are a part of its vision but not the entirety of its vision. Smartphone sales won’t be the linchpin for a market turnaround.

A Year of Big Announcements

For a theoretically dying company, BlackBerry has been very busy. It returned to its roots as an enterprise company and strengthened its position as a security company. It’s defining a path to evolve from a hardware company to a software and services firm. Let’s recap a few of BlackBerry’s accomplishments over the past year. The company:

Bolstered its consumer app story via a partnership. One of the big knocks against BlackBerry (and Microsoft for that matter) was its lack of consumer mobile apps. The ability to run Android apps on a BlackBerry has lessened this concern. To further alleviate this problem, BlackBerry struck a deal with the Amazon Appstore to make it easier to download apps. It also expanded its enterprise focused mobile application ecosystem through partnerships with Bloomberg LP, Box, CellTrak, Cisco, Entrust, SAP, and others.
Made a significant play for the enterprise mobile management market. EMM is a critical part of any enterprise mobile strategy. BlackBerry was known for management of its devices but needed to offer these services across a wider range of mobile operating systems. The company offered cross-platform mobile device management in BES12. It also inked deals with BrightStar and Ingram Micro to distribute BES12.
Bolstered its security across all product categories from phones through software. It purchased Secusmart to provide additional voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions. It acquired Movirtu, a Virtual SIM platform that allows employees to have two phone numbers (read split between corporate and personal use) on a single device. It announced BlackBerry Blend for the enterprise which makes it possible for employees to securely accessing personal and work data from their BlackBerry smartphone on any desktop or tablet. It also offered Enterprise Identity by BlackBerry, VPN Authentication by BlackBerry, and BBM Protected (for Android, BlackBerry and iOS platforms). In general, the company has been heavily focused on providing a wide range of security solutions.
Added new partners. In a surprise move, BlackBerry partnered with Samsung to deliver richer mobile security for Android. It also signed a strategic agreement with Salesforce.com to connect Salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) apps and platforms to BlackBerry’s EMM solution.

These are just a selection of the company’s announcements. Overall, it was a good year for BlackBerry. The company invested heavily in developing and acquiring solutions to meet enterprise mobility demands. It also quelled fears that it would run out of cash by effectively managing its supply chain, inventory, and expenses.

While it still declined in smartphone market share, phones aren’t the future lifeblood of the company. (In fact, it’s hard for anyone except Apple and Samsung to earn a living at making phones.) I expect smartphones will become just one piece of an integrated, highly secure portfolio that includes software and services. A business customer can either purchase these devices as part of the holistic solution or simply choose to use the software and services.

As I look around the globe, the studies from Lopez Research highlight that companies are reevaluating BYOD. They’re still offering BYO program but many are also considering purchasing devices for their employees (especially for tablets and next generation PCs). In certain areas, specifically regulated and security conscious industries, BlackBerry could see new device purchases as the corporate-liable market regains steam. For example, Mackenzie Health, a regional healthcare provider serving a population of more than half a million people, announced that it will use the BlackBerry Classic and BES12. But the real win for BlackBerry will be in providing new security and identity/authentication services and management for non-traditional devices, such as IoT.

In the Long Run, BlackBerry Is A Software Company

While I’m certain that BlackBerry bashing will continue, BlackBerry has survived yet another year and in far better shape than any of us had expected. It’s stabilized and proven that it can shift its focus to upcoming growth markets such as security, identity and the Internet of Things. The challenge in the coming year is growth as a software company. This is no small feat given that almost half of BlackBerry’s revenue comes from hardware sales. It’s also not easy to grow into a software behemoth. For example, it took Salesforce.com years to become a software powerhouse. It’s not impossible. It just takes time and the financial market is an unforgiving place.

This will be a multiyear journey for BlackBerry. The market should expect BlackBerry’s revenue to take a hit as it manages this transition. With careful money management, the company should the cash ($3 billion) to navigate the transition to a software company. Businesses should evaluate BlackBerry based on its stated direction and execution against that vision. This year has been a good start.

Maribel is the founder of Lopez Research LLC, a market research firm focused on mobility. She’s also the author of the Wiley book “Right-time Experiences: Driving Revenue with Mobile and Big Data.”

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