US BAT and the EU VAT: the former is "illegal" under WTO; the VAT is just fine. Just yesterday, I made the observation that the US BAT is nothing different, in the eyes of some folks, than the German VAT. It's way different, of course, but ....
Kemper. Phoenix rising. Heidi Heitkamp in the news.
More appointments: Shaking things up. Carl Icahn, billionaire investor / activist; and, Peter Navarro, a critic of trade with China, join the president-elect's economic team. WSJ says Trump needs to add Larry Kudlow to the team. Agree. Navarro will head the new White House National Trade Council, a new entity. Icahn will be appointed "special advisor on regulations'; opened seven Icahn charter schools in New York. None of these positions will require Senate confirmation. Talking heads continue to raise "conflict of interest" issues. Heidi Heitkamp was director of ND gasification project; any doubt where her allegiances lie. Pelosi? Give me a break. "Joe" made excellent observation on Icahn to push back all this concern about "conflicts of interest."
And another appointment: Kellyann Conway will have title in White House, something like "Special Advisor."
Blind spot: President Reagan was the first president to appoint a Latino to his cabinet. President Trump is likely to be the first president in 28 years to not appoint a Latino to his cabinet. Other than an editorial in the WSJ has anyone said anything about this?
Squawk Box: giddy with forecast. Two analysts suggest S&P 500 up to 2400; "Joe" says way too low with what Trump is suggesting. Analyst jokingly raise it to 2500, and "Joe" says that is still too low.
SUVs. The headline suggested bad news. Not. Here's the headline: US car makers idle plants among oversupply concerns. It's a good news story: they have an oversupply of sedans, compact cars, and minivans because .... drum roll ... Americans buying high-margin, gas-guzzling SUVs. Others suggest "not so fast": pick-up truck sales and SUVs sales have to slow down, also. Why?
“There is just not much demand for that small economical car,” said Scott James, president of Mike Shaw Automotive, which owns dealerships in Colorado, Texas and Louisiana. “It’s cheap gas.”
Prices at the pump have edged higher this year, hitting an average of $2.20 per gallon this week for regular unleaded, compared with $1.92 a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But current prices still remain well below the $3-4 range seen between 2011 and 2014.
Mr. James said he has no shortage of pickup-truck and SUV buyers, but that his “gut” tells him that new-vehicle sales overall are headed for a slowdown next year. “It’s certainly plateauing,” he said. “It can’t keep going strong forever.”Aleppo evacuation nears end. UN is getting ready to send monitors to Aleppo to observe the "evacuation-that-was." I'm sure this has not escaped Trump's attention.
Confused. North Carolina adjourns; fails to repeal transgender law.
President Obama's advice to PEOTUS: undated, a screen shot from about December 18, 2016, just before he used executive order to "permanently" ban drilling in the Arctic and issued new rules with intent to kill coal industry:
Back to the Bakken
RBN Energy: how the rebounding LNG market will help US gas producers.
Are things really as bad as all that? No, they probably aren’t, especially if you take a longer-term view.
There are signs that the international LNG market’s mid-decade funk may be over, or that it’s at least in the process of ending. One indicator is that, as of this week, spot prices in eastern Asia—the epicenter of LNG demand—have risen to about $9/MMBtu, a gain of ~80% from the ~$5 spot prices of a few months ago. LNG demand is also up in 2016 compared to 2015—not necessarily at the two biggest LNG importing countries (#1 Japan and #2 South Korea), but declines there were more than offset by rising LNG demand from up-and-comers like #3 China and #4 India and from the six countries (Pakistan, Jamaica, Lithuania, Poland, Egypt and Jordan) that started importing LNG in 2015-16.Nice 30-second soundbite: eastern Asia is the epicenter of LNG demand -- #1 Japan, #2 South Korea, #3 China, and #4 India.
But look at this: six countries started importing LNG in 2016: Poland, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lithuania, and Jamaica.
LNG and Poland: huge back story on so many levels.
LNG and Jordan, Egypt: huge back story on so many levels.