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Market Prefers Natural Gas Over Oil

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Market Prefers Natural Gas Over Oil

Markets reflect a preference to natural gas over oil futures and what is driving the trend.

All indicators point to another quarter of lackluster performance for the crude oil markets

However, there has been a positive optimism shown towards natural gas in the last six months. 

Clear indication for its preference over coal and oil is driven by a few factors.

Weather, Mexican demand and production shortfalls.

The markets are reflecting several factors that are influencing the figures. 

There is foreign demand for US gas coming from Mexico. 

The proximity of the resources keeps the prices accessible and is favored for consumption in southern countries.

The warmer weather expected in the US will inflate the need for power. 

EIA (Energy Information Administration) data shows that, even though total stocks are standing at 2.972 trillion cubic feet, which is 660 billion cubic feet more than 12 months ago, it is still 80 billion cubic feet below that which was predicted by analysts. 

Even while there is increased demand, production has failed to address that.

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Coal is not the new black.  Factors behind the flatline.

However, the demand for coal has remained stagnant. 

Coal has priced itself out of the competition. 

The choice to power the US homes this summer is natural gas, and this is expected to remain unchanged for the next three months. 

Whether US consumers continue to prefer natural gas over coal to power their heating systems and not just their air conditioners will be subject to production and prices in ensuing months.

The chart for coal consumption below shows the markets trend towards the mild usage. 

This is further reflected by the increase in natural gas.

J10.1

A clear picture is emerging for natural gas

With the production levels of natural gas remaining below the expected consumer driven demand, the prices will rise accordingly. 

But it is still priced cheaply enough to remain a desirable choice for the power sector natural gas consumption.

Energy suppliers for homes in the summer heat prefer natural gas. 

With summertime comes that threat of natural weather patterns that might disrupt the production and supply of natural gas.

Looking at the forecasts for both, it is necessary to gauge the chances of severe Gulf weather causing a disruption in the output and subsequent fall in supply. 

This is a precaution that is always needed when factoring in Gulf weather patterns.

Storms in the Atlantic have so far passed without disruption. 

The tropical weather systems expected during the hurricane season will continue to drive up the price of natural gas in expectation of possible disruption.

Stockpiles of crude oil are falling in the face of increased production.

It has not been announced yet if US producers will continue to produce more or follow the global trend of reduced outflow.

Reporting on this financial news – Myra. P. Saefong, Markets/Commodities Reporter with Biman Mukherji from Marketwatch – recently addressed this trend. 

It states in the article the reasons behind the continued rise in consumer demand and the reflected optimistic pricing of natural gas.

Comparing the chart below to the one above showing the indicators for coal consumption, the trend in the upward swing for natural gas is apparent.

J10.2

Outside of market influence, some independent thinkers are of the opinion that possibly turning to natural gas choices and options may be swayed by the inherent naturalness of gas as opposed to the emissions culminating from coal and oil.

Politically, natural gas may be fundamental in breaking the stranglehold that unreliable sources in foreign countries wield.

Predicting trends and analyzing alternative energy desirables is increasingly important as those markets are not sustainable for any long term forecasts.

This leads to the exchange being effected by weather, politics and demand.

Interlinked to the weather is the unpredictability of decisive forecasting. 

If the supply of any product (in this case natural gas) is already understocked in the face of increased demand, this will drive up the desirability of the commodity.

The oil markets have been hit by political unrest in Nigeria

This leads to several factors coming into focus that are linked to that market. 

The supply is effected so alternate energy sources will be focused on as a solution to the Western summertime demands. 

There is a growing reluctance to rely solely on oil, and this is reflected in the markets.

Globally, alternate energy sources are being embraced as a necessity, and this is showing in the consumption and price of coal and oil being brought into question. 

A cautious approach to sustainability for all energy supplies is strictly monitored by the EIA.

Taking all these factors into consideration complete the global picture for natural gas marketing trends. 

The general sway of opinion tends to back up the consensus that natural gas will continue on its current path for some months to come.

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JPMorgan Faces Nearly $1 Billion Fine For Manipulating Gold Prices

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JPMorgan Faces Nearly $1 Billion Fine For Manipulating Gold Prices

JPMorgan recently admitted to its role in the manipulation of both the Treasury and precious metals markets. The company did so using a tactic called “spoofing.”

Will Rhind, the CEO of GraniteShares, recently gave an interview where he discussed how JPMorgan manipulated the market. He also mentioned that their illegal actions affected precious metals prices.

Grumblings Present for Years

Rhind said he never had direct knowledge of the manipulation but had been hearing grumblings about it for years. He says anyone who made the accusations was dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.”

“This is really quite extraordinary because throughout my career there have always been these mutterings of manipulation of the gold market. And a lot of the people who were talking about that were really written off as being fringe or conspiracy theorists, an extreme view. And those people have been right.”

He added. “It’s not as if people haven’t been talking about this or indeed making allegations, and indeed at one point, I think several times, there were allegations made to the CFTC, to regulators, regulators did have a look but nothing was found in terms of the findings.”

Rhind said the extraordinary aspect was that it wasn’t a small “boiler room” company that got caught. Actually, it was one of the largest banks in the world.

He described it as an “extraordinary situation,” considering what happened. It’s a scenario “where one of the largest banks in the world had to pay a monumental fine. I think it’s the largest fine that’s ever been paid for spoofing – market manipulation – in this particular order and really sets a massive precedent.”

JPMorgan Isn’t The Only One

While JPMorgan is the one paying a nearly $1 billion fine, Rhind said they weren’t the only bad actors.

“Some of the emails, the chats have been made public now. (They’re) extraordinary and show the depth of this, not just one bank, but multiple banks and traders coordinating to manipulate prices.”

JPMorgan is accused of “spoofing” or manipulating the price of gold by putting in massive orders. Then, they quickly pulled the orders before they are executed. Rhind said even though the orders weren’t real, they still had a “cause and effect” on the markets.

“In this particular context this is about spoofing. And spoofing is a word for when you put in a fake order, essentially is what it is. So you put in an order in the market to buy or sell, but you withdraw that order before it is executed. So that obviously (has a) cause and effect if you put in an order and it’s a sizeable one that can have other consequences in terms of other orders that then move the price of that particular.”

He says it’s impossible to say how the spoofing affected the precious metals markets.

“As far as how much that has actually affected the price on a day-to-day basis, I think that’s very, very difficult to determine. So I think the minutiae of it is almost going to be impossible to determine. But I think it’s more the fact that this was happening, that people knew or suspected that it was happening,” he adds it’s really been made public.

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

A bombshell report about major western banks like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank was released yesterday. It said that these banks allowed “trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins.”

That’s according to an investigation by BuzzFeed News, who spent more than a year compiling the FinCEN Files. They say the documents were compiled by the banks themselves and actually shared with the government. However, they mentioned that this fact was kept away from the public.

Martin Woods, a former suspicious transactions investigator for Wachovia Bank (acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008) said, “Some of these people in those crisp white shirts in their sharp suits are feeding off the tragedy of people dying all over the world.”

Incredibly, the report says a bank is immunized from prosecution. It can also continue the transaction and collect all fees. This may happen as long as a bank flags a transaction as suspicious.

“So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.”

Banks Continue Processing Suspicious Transactions

The investigation also found that many banks continued to move money for suspected criminals. This came even after authorities prosecuted or gave banks a fine for financial misconduct.

For example, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, American Express, and others processed millions of dollars in transactions for the family of Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Kazakhstan’s most populous city. The transactions went on even after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest.

Incredibly, the report reveals that “major financial institutions often fail to perform the most basic checks on their customers, such as verifying where a business is located when someone opens a new account. The lapses allow criminal groups to hide behind shell corporations, registered with no identifying details about their ownership, and slide the proceeds of their crimes into the global financial system.”

JPMorgan Chase allegedly collected more than $500 million in fees from Bernie Madoff while he was running his ponzi scheme. With this, the company only paid a $1.7 billion fine. The company was also supposed to improve its ability to detect money laundering. Instead, the FinCEN Files show the bank’s own investigators believed it opened accounts for “an alleged Russian organized crime figure who is known for drug trafficking and contract murders, as well as businesses tied to the repressive North Korean regime, which the US has placed off-limits.”

No High-Level Arrests

Instead of bank executives being arrested, or even closing down the offending banks, many simply agree to deferred prosecution agreements. These include fines but no high-level arrests.

Unsurprisingly, little is done should a bank not live up to its end of the agreement. “Banks often get to the end of their agreement without actually fixing the problems. Then, instead of getting the prosecution that they had been threatened with, they just get another chance. And sometimes another,” says the report.

“Since 2010, at least 18 financial institutions have received deferred prosecution agreements for anti–money laundering or sanctions violations, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. Of those, at least four went on to break the law again and get fined. Twice, the government responded to this kind of repeat offense by renewing the deferred prosecution agreement — the very tool that failed the first time.”

US District Judge Jed Rakoff added “Under US law, a bank that engages in money laundering can literally be forced out of business by the government, and it is kind of surprising that government hasn’t taken that step, given the obvious deterrent effect it would have.”

Paul Pelletier is a former senior Justice Department lawyer who once led the agency’s fraud unit. He says there’s only one real way to deal with the problem.

“The bankers will never learn until you start putting silver bracelets on people. Think of the message you’re sending to repeat offenders.”

You can read the full FinCEN File investigation here.

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Money Laundering of Global Banks Reported

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Money Laundering. Money Laundering US dollars hung out to dry-money laundering-ss-featured

US banks helping North Korean organizations to move illicit funds. Asian and European banks’ alleged involvement in money laundering. These are some of the leaked suspicious bank transactions reports that alleged major banks as helping move money illegally. Earlier today, BuzzFeed shared leaked documents submitted by banks to the government.

RELATED: Average Income in the US Was Highest in 2019

Suspicious Bank Money Laundering Cases Reported

These include suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. BuzzFeed shared these 2,000+ SARs with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It reported SARS amounting to $2 trillion between 1999 and 2017. While SARs flag these to authorities, they are not definite proof of wrongdoing.

Five Global Banks Are Among Those Reported

According to ICIJ, five global banks appeared most often in the documents. These are HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and Bank of NY Mellon. The reports showed an overwhelmed banking system. One that allows vast amounts, which can include illicit funds, to get past tight controls. 

Once banks detect suspicious activity, they have 60 days to file SARs. However, some banks took years before submitting reports. SARs also showed that banks moved funds for companies registered in offshore havens. These include the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Panama. Staff is often unaware of account owners. As a result, they often search for Google to determine the identity of people behind the transactions. 

The reports include funds processed by JPMorgan for alleged corrupt entities and persons. They include recipient countries such as Venezuela, Ukraine, and Malaysia. The report also included an instance where HSBC accepted and moved money from a Ponzi scheme. A Deutsche Bank SAR said it processed money linked to a Ukrainian billionaire.

Bank Stocks Fall Due to News

Shares of both HSBC and Standard Chartered fell when news broke out Monday morning. Standard Chartered shares fell 2.69%, while HSBC sank 2.91%. Earlier, HSBC shares fell to its lowest price in 25 years. 

When asked to comment, HSBC said that they already moved on from the charges. In a statement, HSBC said that all “the information provided by the ICIJ is historical.” It claimed the transactions were already flagged by the Justice Department in 2017. As such, they already met commitments under a deferred prosecution pact. As part of the deal, the Feds deferred all charges if HSBC would fight money laundering. HSBC said they already overhauled their system to fight financial crime. “HSBC is a much safer institution than it was in 2012,” the bank noted. 

Standard Chartered also reacted to the news. It said, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programs.” 

North Korea Moved Money Across Borders 

NBC News reported how North Korea got its money despite a global ban. Sanctions prevent Pyongyang from accessing the global banking system. According to documents, NK-linked organizations moved $175 million over the years. These transactions cleared through US banks such as JP Morgan and the Bank of New York Mellon. 

Former Treasury Department official Erick Lorber believes that North Korea was behind it. He said: “Taken as a whole, you have what, frankly, looks like a concerted attack by the North Koreans to access the U.S. financial system over an extended period through multiple different avenues in ways that were fairly sophisticated.” 

Money Laundering Techniques

A firm from Dandong, China (near the NK border), transacted with North Korea in the open. In 2016, the U.S. indicted Ma Xiaohong and officers of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Corp. They charged Ma and the company for money laundering and helping NK evade sanctions. SARs showed Dandong Hongxiang routed money through China, Singapore, Cambodia, to North Korea. They also used shell companies to move millions of dollars through U.S. banks. 

Other reported transactions were from companies from Singapore and China. Until now, charges remain pending and there are no extradition orders. 

Who should be the ones responsible and charged with the crime? Are they the rogue countries, who keep finding ways to get their illicit money? Or are they the companies and persons willing to act as fronts? Or do we focus our attention on banks, who may be looking the other way in the name of fat fees and corporate profits? One thing is certain: it’s all about the money.

Watch this as BBC reports that UK banks may have helped with money laundering and moving illicit funds:

Who bears responsibility for the spate of money laundering and illicit fund transfers?

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Let us know who you think is the most complicit by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.

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