Archive for the ‘OPEC’ Category

Brazil holding $200billion in US treasuries

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Brazil is the fourth largest sovereign creditor of the US, holding more than $200 billion in Treasuries, which is good news for Brazil, since its economy has been growing enough that the country can do so:

Brazil, the region’s economic powerhouse, which just a decade ago had to come to Washington to ask the International Monetary Fund for a bailout, is now the United States’ fourth-biggest sovereign creditor — holding about $211 billion in U.S. Treasury securities, according to U.S. data from May.

As you may recall, a little over two years ago, Lula, then-president of Brazil, was lecturing President Obama about the dangers of protectionism and the benefits of free trade. Unfortunately Obama didn’t listen, and

These days, Latin America’s economy as a whole is expected to expand about 4.7 percent in 2011 — almost twice the expected rate in the United States — thanks to strong demand for the region’s commodities and a decade of mostly prudent fiscal management, itself the product of many hard-learned lessons of the past.

Hence, we have a chorus of clowns mocking the US economy,

“When did the American dream become a nightmare?” gloated Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, whose own country defaulted on about $100 billion in debt a decade ago.

In a speech at the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on Monday, she contended that Argentina had prospered since then by focusing on exports and controlling financial speculation — a lesson that Washington has yet to learn, she said.

Cristinita forgot to mention that she raided private pensions a few years ago (2008) to avoid default.

Cristina’s soul mates Evo and Hugo are using the US debt for propaganda purposes,

Washington’s biggest critics in the region, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, have also portrayed the crisis as an inevitable outcome for a country that failed to follow its own financial advice and overextended itself militarily — in Latin America, and elsewhere.

whether – in spite of large oil reservesthe well runs dry in Venezuela,

yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Bolivian president Evo Morales had announced that a local program called “Bolivia changes, Evo delivers,” which “is under his control and has little legislative or administrative oversight,” would no longer depend on Venezuelan largess, but would be funded by the Bolivian government.

Here in the USA, Congressman Connie Mack, Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Connie Mack, has proposed legislation which would

cease aid to those countries which harm America’s freedom and security.

Mack’s five amendments would:

  • Eliminate foreign aid funds for Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Boliviia
  • Cease U.S. contributions to the Organization of American States.
  • Eliminate U.S. funding for Global Climate Change Initiative Activities.
  • Establish a Congressional recorded vote which states “The delay in the authorization of the Presidential Permit is threatening the economic and national security benefits of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
  • Name Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism due to its continued material and financial support of the Revolutionary ArmedForces of Colombia (FARC), Hezbollah, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Meanwhile, out-of-control government spending, onerous regulations on businesses, and uncertainty regarding the currently hostile environment on private enterprise does not bode well for the US economy – and that has the Hemisphere’s economies worried.

Cross-posted at Real Clear World

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OPEC cuts production, prices fall, Hugo sweats some more

Friday, October 24th, 2008

WSJ Blog: Oil Ink: OPEC Slashes Output, Crude Price Falls

OPEC did exactly what it promised in Vienna, slashing oil output by 1.5 million barrels a day, but the market shrugged off the cartel’s biggest production cut in nearly two years and crude futures fell to $63 in New York.

BBC: The cut will take effect from 1 November.

Bloomberg: OPEC Agrees to Cut Production Quotas as Price Slumps

OPEC decided to lower supply by 1.5 million barrels a day from November, oil ministers said today at the end of a meeting at the group’s Vienna’s headquarters. The reduction will be from the existing quota for 11 members of 28.8 million barrels a day.

OPEC President and Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said at a news conference that the cut will be “100 percent effective” in stabilizing prices.

Apparently Khelil didn’t talk to the Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al- Attiyah, who said,

Another cut in December is “possible,” depending on how the oil market reacts

Venezuela has been insisting that OPEC establish a target price range of $80 – $100/barrel. Iran, Venezuela and Libya are panicking, according to the NYT.

All this points to serious splits between OPEC members,

Their disagreements — both publicly and privately — may set the stage for a more contentious chapter in the organization’s history that could also mean a period of lower oil prices as producers fight over what course to take.

“OPEC member countries’ national interests are greatly misaligned,” said Antoine Halff, an oil analyst at Newedge, a brokerage firm. “Falling prices will deepen, not lessen, those divisions.”

Because the growth in global oil demand has slowed sharply in recent months, OPEC fears the world will face a huge oversupply next year. Some members, led by Iran, pushed for an aggressive cut in production. Their aim is to stop the precipitous slide in prices that risks putting a big dent in their government revenues and jeopardizes their increasingly large social spending programs.

Allies of the United States within the group, led by Saudi Arabia, have pledged to keep oil markets well supplied, as industrialized nations grapple with the worst economic crisis in decades. They have repeatedly said they do not want to add to the world’s economic woes by pushing up oil prices. After he arrived in Vienna, Mr. Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said that oil prices should be determined by the market.

Here in the US, gasoline retail sales fell by 8 percent last week.

The Washington Post quotes Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez’s admission that “Demand is collapsing.”

Chavez’s attempts to turn OPEC into an overtly politically militant group have failed so far. Venezuela’s oil production has dropped by 25% since Chavez came to power. One of my commenters mentioned that Venezuela’s oil is high in sulfur and sells for less than the world oil price – this means Chavez is getting now $100 less per barrel than he was a few months ago. With the price of oil dropping, his Bolivarian empire dreams are a chimera; if oil stays low, he’ll be gone, too.

(Regular readers of this blog know that I have stated that if oil stays below $80 for an extended period of time, Chavez will be looking at real estate in a retirement community near Cannes.)

As of the writing of this post, oil is trading at $63.30

UPDATE
Welcome, Instapundit readers!

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Hugo and Juan Carlos kiss and make up; bump included?

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Smiles and laughter: Hugo Chávez meets King Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos I met the Venezuelan leader with a warm smile, shaking hands and affectionately patting him on the arm. “Thanks for making the effort to come,” the king said. “I’m happy to see you.”

The King was very congenial in spite of having to cool his heels for a full hour before Hugo showed up. At least the King was able to wait indoors but the media had to sit in the hot sun for the entire time.

They didn’t hug, but, does this look like a bump to you?

Let’s go to the videotape (in Spanish):

The King was probably in a good mood because Chavez has promised to sell 100,000 barrels of oil a day at $100/bb, $25 below the current market price. The anchorwoman said that Chavez hasn’t stopped talking since he arrived in Spain.

[NOTE: Alek mentions in the comments that it's not 100,000 but 10,000. As you can see in the newscast they typed 100,000 in the banner, but Alek is correct. My apologies for the confusion.]

If you all may recall, last November Juan Carlos publically told Chavez to shut up, “Por que no te callas?”, after Chavez called former Spanish PM Aznar a fascist:

The “Por que no te callas?” made its way around the world as a best-selling ringtone, several songs, and hundreds of t-shirts. Even King Abdullah told Hugo to put a sock on it during an OPEC summit where Chavez was warning the US that he’d raise oil prices. Now Chavez is singing a different tune, saying that price of crude oil should be stabilized at 100 U.S. dollars per barrel.

After asking the King “Por que no nos vamos a la playa?” (which won’t replace the “Por que no te callas?”), Chavez went on to do standup during the press conference with Prime Minister Zapatero.

The diplomatic world gives a sigh of relief while the rest of us will simply continue to live in hope for a Juan Carlos-Hugo chessboxing match.

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Chavez and Ceresole, and Hugo goes to Russia

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Today’s WSJ has an article by Travis Pantin, Hugo Chávez’s Jewish Problem, which highlights the ideological connection between Hugo Chavez and Norberto Ceresole.

Norberto who, you ask?

Norberto Ceresole. Pantin explains,

As an alleged oppressor of the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has its own place of special infamy in Mr. Chávez’s worldview. This latter theme has served him particularly well in his efforts to mobilize the sentiments of his rural constituents. Thus, during a 2005 speech marking Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, Mr. Chávez likened the plight of Venezuela’s Indians to that of Palestinians. Reminding his listeners of how their ancestors had been “murdered in their land” by “governments, economic sectors and great land estates,” he thundered: “You were expelled from your homeland, like the heroic Palestinian people.”

All of these elements seem entirely derivative of Marxist-Leninist theorizing, with a strong admixture of postcolonialism à la Franz Fanon and Fidel Castro. But Mr. Chávez is not just another Latin American leftist on the Castro model. While the Cuban dictator may be his most important political influence, his greatest intellectual debt is to the Argentinian writer and thinker Norberto Ceresole: a man not of the left but of the populist right, a Holocaust denier and a sworn enemy of Israel and the Jews.

Born in 1943, Ceresole was one of the leading spokesmen for the radical populist government of the Argentine president Juan Perón. Later, in the guise of a political theorist, he argued that the only appropriate leaders for Latin American nations were caudillos: nationalist, militarist and charismatic strongmen capable of ushering in a “postdemocratic” age in which the region’s people would become effortlessly at one with the generals who would direct every aspect of society. Led by a group of such caudillos, a confederation of Latin American fascist states would then be in a position to beat back American global hegemony.

Ceresole reportedly traveled with Mr. Chávez during his initial bid for power. After the latter’s 1998 victory, he published a celebratory volume, “Caudillo, Army, People: The Venezuela of President Chávez.” The second chapter is entitled “The Jewish Question and the State of Israel.” In it, Ceresole espoused a “new revisionism” that defined the Holocaust as a “myth” and Israel as a global menace:

The existence of this political enterprise—Israel: a power concentrated in the monopoly of monotheism and implemented through an army, police forces, jails, tortures, assassinations, etc.—seeks to consolidate itself through a series of ideological manipulations in the bosom of the hegemonic power of the United States, which seeks to be accepted as the ruler of the world by any means, even generalized terror, and dissuasive and persuasive practices.

It was for this reason, according to Ceresole, that one of the greatest threats to the Chávez regime lay in Venezuela’s “Jewish financial mafia.” Indeed, the Venezuelan Jewish community as a whole was to be considered guilty of race-based hostility to Chávez’s redemptive nationalist movement.

* * *

The ingeniousness of Ceserole’s doctrine, as filtered through the sensibility of Hugo Chávez, resides in its blending of Marxist economics with two venerable anti-Semitic traditions. The first, still powerful in South America, derives from Catholic teachings about the historic Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus. The second, encapsulated most notoriously in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” has flourished in both rightist and leftist variations throughout modern European history, resurfacing in our own time in the fulminations of extreme anti-Zionists.

This is an ominous sign, and yet one more symptom of the illness that is Chavez’s regime.

But caudillismo itself is nothing new: Latin America has suffered immensely by holding on to their tradition of caudillismo, and by staying away from true democratic institutions.

Will they ever change?

Hugo and Mendevev
Hugo and Medvedev

In other Chavez news, he’s talking big in Russia, pushing for a natural gas OPEC-like cartel and mutual investment protection.

Hugo was also saying that

if Russian military forces ever visited Venezuelan territory, they would be greeted “by flying colors, drum beats and songs, as this means the arrival of our allies with whom we share the same view on the world.”

Worried that this might imply that Russia’s welcome to build a military-technical base on its territory, the Venezuelan government was quick to correct that, saying that it only means that the Russian Navy would be welcome to dock at a Venezuelan port.

It’s all so redolent of the Cold War it makes one want to send The Hunt for Red October’s Jack Ryan to Caracas.

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Sue Opec?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

“Sue Opec”, says Thomas Evans in today’s NYT.

Oh, please.

Let’s waste time in court instead of aggresively developing the reserves that we know already exist, building nuclear plants and developing oil shale? Should we push for a symbollic propaganda move (which will generate even more anti-American press), or focus on America becoming independent of foreign oil?

By the time any such lawsuit would make it to court, the American consumer will be purchasing oil pumped from ANWR. We’re talking decades-long lawsuit here. And forget about collecting damages of any kind in the unlikely event the US wins.

Aggresively exploiting the reserves that we know already exist, building nuclear plants, developing oil shale, and exploring new reserves will do far more for America’s security and independence from foreign oil, and it will destabilize Opec (and their terror-sponsoring dictatorships) more effectively than any lawsuit.

Never mind the question of whether OPEC is telling the truth about their reserves.

Sue Opec? No, thanks.

’nuff said.

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Hugo and Jad, talking currency

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Via Memeorandum, Hugo’s back in Tehran visiting Ahmadinejad and discussing their scheme:

During the gathering, the two firebrand leaders echoed one another, blaming President Bush’s policies for the decline of the dollar and its negative effect on other countries, and challenging Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to mention weak dollar concerns in the summit’s final declaration.

Ahmadinejad claimed OPEC’s member countries want to convert their cash reserves into a currency other than the depreciating U.S. dollar, which he called a “worthless piece of paper.”

Chavez said the dollar was in free-fall and that its “empire” must end, and proposed trading oil in a basket of currencies excluding the dollar.

But the two were unable to generate support from enough in the 13-member cartel — many of whom, including Saudi Arabia, are staunch U.S. allies.

You have to admit, that “basket of currencies” bit is just the sort of thing that any currency and commodities trader simply loves to hear.

As I posted on February 20, 2006 (you might have to go here and scroll down for the link), Al-Jazeera reported on February 2006 that Iran and Venezuela had joined forces to undermine the U.S. dollar.

The latest kerfuffle at the OPEC meeting was only the latest chapter in that story, now that Hugo’s brought his Ecuatorian friend Correa back into OPEC. Expect lots more on this scheme.
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Hugo smackdown II: Now it’s the Saudi king or "Por que no te callas?" in Arabic

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

First it was the King of Spain at the Latin American Summit in Chile, now it’s King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the OPEC Summit telling Hugo to put a sock on it:

Chavez’s OPEC Speech Spurs Rebuke From Saudi King:

Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez appears to have earned for the second time in a week a rebuke from a king, with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah implying he shouldn’t seek to use the oil cartel OPEC as a political weapon.

Mr. Chavez also warned the United States that oil prices would further surge if the U.S. contemplates an attack against his country or Iran.

Exactly a week after Mr. Chavez was told to “shut up” by the King of Spain, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said the 13-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel — Ecuador rejoined the group this weekend — shouldn’t be used as a tool for conflict.

His remarks came in a speech minutes after Mr. Chavez told fellow leaders of OPEC Saturday that it must echo its values at the time of its creation and “assert itself as an active political agent.”

The BBC:

Political agenda

The summit saw differences about the future direction of the exporters’ group.

President Chavez and his Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, whose country rejoined Opec at the summit, had both pleaded for a more political agenda for the group, but ran into opposition from US ally Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah, the head of state of the host nation, Saudi Arabia said: “Those who want Opec to take advantage of its position are forgetting that Opec has always acted moderately and wisely.

“Oil shouldn’t be a tool for conflict, it should be a tool for development.”

The final declaration stressed the importance of world peace for the stability of oil prices.

A division had also emerged during the summit between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Iranian officials wanted the final statement to express concern about the weakness of the dollar.

In a post-summit news conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that all Opec countries showed interest in converting their cash reserves into other currencies.

But Saudi officials were against including any such remarks in the declaration. One is reported to have warned that it could add to the pressure on the dollar.

I would appreciate if any of my readers could translate “Por que no te callas?” into Arabic.

UPDATE
Via Larwyn, Myrtus translated: Limada la taskat? = لماذا لا تسكت؟
لماذا لا تسكت؟

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