POITOU, FRANCE – The delusional, rock ’em-sock ’em, baroque news just keeps coming.
We laugh readily; but even we are having a hard time keeping up.
Forbes claims that our Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, may be “one of the biggest grifters in American history.” He stands accused, by a long list of former associates, of having ripped them off… getting away with as much as $120 million in ill-gotten gains.
The man is innocent until proven guilty, of course.
But in our experience, a businessman who leaves a trail of embittered partners or employees behind him is probably a scoundrel.
Speaking of grifters…
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he is taking the Silicon Valley carmaker private. It loses money on each car it makes and tries to make it up on volume.
Then, as it produces and sells more cars, it loses even more money. So far, it is $11 billion in the hole… with almost no chance to get out.
So who’s going to put up $60 billion to take the company private?
No one! Not with his own money… Instead, Tesla is going down when the whole shebang goes down. Its distinction is that it will be one of the ones that doesn’t get back up.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s primary election results show how the U.S. has degenerated… from Republic to Empire… from mind to heart… from big ideas to big personalities.
What, exactly, Mr. Donald J. Trump stands for is still in dispute. But it’s bad ju-ju to stand against him… at least in the Republican primaries.
CNN reports that every one of the last 14 candidates endorsed by the president won or has been leading (as of this morning, some results are still undecided).
As for Mr. Trump himself, he takes full credit in his recent tweet:
As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win! I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I’m doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!
If only there were more hours in the day! We are sure he would be able to improve crop yields.
As far as we know, no president has ever added a single dollar to the economy. And we see no reason to think the man in the White House now will do better…
But Mr. Trump is a new phenomenon… capable of quickly sorting out any problem put before him.
Maybe he should turn his attention to Venezuela… after China, Iran, and the economy, of course…
What becomes of a political system dominated by Trumpismo? We don’t know… But we can look to Latin America for clues.
As long-time sufferers of the Diary know, we are connoisseurs of disaster. Not natural disasters, which are unpredictable, but man-made ones.
It’s like watching a horror movie, where the poor girl knows there is a monster in the basement… but goes down there anyway. And Venezuela 2018 is shaping up to be a classic.
The trouble began in 1999, when Hugo Chávez was elected. Chávez was a “strongman” president – a big personality.
He led the country through one dopey policy after another… spending, spending, spending… until he was spent-out and died in 2013. Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has tried to continue his policies and hold onto his power…
But it’s proving hard to do. A few days ago, there was apparently an assassination attempt against Maduro – by drone, no less.
Fingers pointed in all directions. Was it an inside job by military patriots, eager to get him out of the way before the whole country goes to hell? Was it the political opposition?
Some said it was an attack on Venezuela launched by Colombia. Some said it was just an accident… or that a military drone went out of control.
Or, was it another bungled attempt at regime change by the world champions?
When it comes to meddling in the affairs of foreign countries, the USA is clearly number one. And it was about this time last year that Donald Trump proposed an invasion.
But who knows?
In any case, we take no policy positions here at the Diary. But as to an invasion of Venezuela, we are solidly, completely, and undilutedly against it.
An invasion might interrupt the delicate fermentation needed to produce a quality disaster. Things take time; Rome wasn’t built in a day… nor was she destroyed in one.
Besides, an invasion hardly seems necessary. If regime change is the goal, just sit back and let disaster do the work.
Reports tell of increasingly bizarre and ragged occurrences throughout the country.
Already, inflation and price controls have combined to produce one of the most lunatic pricing errors we’ve ever seen. A single U.S. dollar will buy you 925,000 gallons of gasoline. From The Drive:
Venezuela has maintained its famous fuel subsidies that have long made it the cheapest place to buy gas in the world. […] While the price of basic goods has skyrocketed – AFP points out a single egg costs 200,000 bolivars – gas prices are still as low as the Mariana Trench. A liter of 91-octane gasoline costs just a single bolivar, while 95-octane fuel costs six.
Since hyperinflation has made the bolivar essentially worthless, there’s a strong black market for U.S. currency; a single dollar is now trading for 3,500,000 bolivars. And that’s how you get to a place where it’s possible to buy almost a million gallons of premium gas for a buck.
All we can say – and we say this with deep insincerity – is that we are grateful to Maduro and the Venezuelan people, to Trump and his fans, to Musk and his investors, and to Ross and his cronies… for putting on such an entertaining show.
Maybe we can learn something.
Editor’s Note: Today, we share an insight from David Forest, Casey Research’s globetrotting geologist. He has made it his life’s work to uncover explosive plays in the resource market. And he shows how one metal will be instrumental to the energy source of the future…
By David Forest, Editor, International Speculator
Today, I’d like to talk to you about nickel…
You might remember nickel from your high school chemistry classes. But what you might not know is that nickel is also a key component in the batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs).
And right now, we’re witnessing an interesting setup that could deliver smart speculators a small fortune with this metal.
You see, the metal flashed onto a lot of investors’ radars back in 2016, when Elon Musk, CEO of Silicon Valley carmaker Tesla, said that the batteries used in Tesla’s EVs are reliant on nickel (and to a lesser degree, graphite).
Musk also said that he wants to add as much nickel as he can to batteries going forward. Specifically, Musk wants to add 33% more nickel into each battery.
But here’s the thing. Nickel will soar with or without Tesla.
That’s because overall demand for EV batteries is going through the roof.
Between 2014 and 2018, worldwide battery manufacturing for EVs more than doubled, rising 150%. That’s an incredible rise. But what’s happening today is even more shocking: By 2020, global battery output is expected to double again.
And it doesn’t stop there. Projections are that, between 2020 and 2037, global manufacturing of batteries for EVs and other new energy applications will rise tenfold.
Remember, nickel is the primary input for many of these batteries…
Here’s the kicker as to why this could be the perfect setup for nickel and associated mining stocks…
Nickel is a particularly difficult metal to find.
Unlike gold or copper, which are more or less the same wherever you find them on Earth, nickel has distinctly different forms in different places. The preferred form for use in EV batteries is called nickel sulfide.
Now, you don’t need to know the precise chemistry of nickel sulfide, but here’s what’s important…
Nickel sulfide is only found in a few places on the planet. The biggest source is the Sudbury District in eastern Canada – a geological freak of nature that geologists believe was created when a giant asteroid smacked into the Earth there, melting the crust and creating huge nickel sulfide deposits.
As you can imagine, that kind of unique circumstance doesn’t pop up in many places…
Western Australia is a significant producer of nickel sulfide. But aside from Australia and Canada, the only other place on Earth with big nickel sulfide deposits is Russia – a source that could be cut off from the rest of the world by international sanctions.
So we have a hard-to-find metal, with one of the world’s largest supplying countries potentially being lost to most buyers – at the same time that demand is set to explode.
The chart below shows what this means for the market:
Today, there is already a shortage of nickel. There just isn’t enough nickel being mined globally to meet demand.
You can see how demand (black bars) is running ahead of supply (green bars)… and the shortfall is going to deepen as the EV market continues to grow.
The blue line shows that the supply shortfall is projected to grow larger with every coming year – reaching a total yearly supply shortfall of 1 million tonnes by 2025.
And going forward, the situation gets even more dire. There simply aren’t many new mines on the horizon that can meet the surging demand for nickel in batteries – especially as people like Musk cram even more of this metal into each unit.
That supply crunch means the potential for big runs in the nickel price – the kind that will cause a spike for nickel stocks.
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to add some nickel exposure to your portfolio.
– David Forest
P.S. Nickel is just one of the big trends on my radar today. There’s another major story that no one’s talking about right now…
You see, President Trump just quietly signed what may go down in the financial books as his most significant executive order. The ultimate goal? To identify and unlock over 1 million tonnes of a new “super-fuel” on U.S. soil.
It’s called “Brandt Oil,” and it’s quickly becoming the new oil standard. And it’s opening up a rare opportunity to bring incredible wealth to you and your family – but only if you get in at the ground-floor stage we’re at now. Click here to get all the details…
SEC to Musk: Show Me the Money
As Bill wrote above, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced plans to take his company private. The company’s stock jumped on the news. That caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and it has a few questions for Mr. Musk…
Two Ways This Trade War Ends
Trump’s trade war with China continues to grab headlines. The president recently threatened a 25% tariff on billions of dollars’ worth of imported Chinese goods. Many trade experts suspect this trade dispute will end in a stalemate. But there is another potential outcome…
Jeff Brown: This Is Amazon’s Next Big Move
Regular Diary readers will know Jeff Brown as Bill’s go-to technology expert. Jeff has called industry-altering technology trends years before the mainstream financial press had any idea of them. Now, he’s making another bold call…
In the mailbag, more feedback on Bill’s dot-connecting. Is our editor “too tough on Donald”? Or is he just telling it like he sees it?
Sometimes you are bit hard on The Donald and what he is trying to do. You may be right about a lot of what is going on, but what is the answer? You see, most of us are not billionaires or millionaires who run in and out of the country at will, fixing up old barns or ranches hither, thither, and yon. We are trying to cope with the madness that has overrun the country.
So for those of us who can still think and reason, but do not own or have access to a private jet and will have to live here when the shit hits the fan, you tell me, what is the answer? (Since that is what we pay for.) It is not just about making money and the portfolio. I have to wonder why the people who are creating all the trouble have not been rounded up and put in jail. Sometimes, making money does not provide peace of mind.
– Rusty S.
Those of us who voted for Trump are simply fed up with the status quo and the losers in Washington. We are ready for someone to shake things up, even if it causes problems. Staying the course and trying to get along hasn’t worked for decades, so why keep going? We are ready for someone to buck the system and fight, even when the fight is rough and, at times, questionable.
– Dave A.
Even if Trump fails, he has succeeded in awakening the American public to what came before and the hope of what might come in the future. We the people must work to make it happen! The press hasn’t assisted in that process, fake news or not.
– Dick S.
President Trump’s world is not make-believe. It is real and second only to that of Ronald Reagan. So stop supporting the Bilderberg one-worlders in their effort to destroy this nation.
– Edwin S.
President Trump is fighting the Deep State! That is what he was elected to do. We Americans decided it was time for a change for the better. Hillary did not win in spite of all the underhanded things that were done for her. I think that the midterm elections are going to be a rude shock for the corrupt Democrats and Republicans because Americans are fed up and will no longer tolerate the way our government is being run. Trump has a difficult job to do, and he is supported by the American people.
Don’t let readers embellish Trump’s educational accomplishments – not that such laurels impress you much. He has an undergraduate degree from Wharton, not an MBA, and graduated in the bottom half of his class. Granted, he is a “stable genius.”
– Gary M.
Continue to tell the truth about the biggest con man in the history of the presidency who has surrounded himself in the White House with liars and crooks, other than his military generals. He thumbs his nose at institutions that many other countries wish they had, i.e., the rule of law, checks and balances, free press, constitutional law, and honest institutions (like the FBI and CIA). Oh sure, we are a long way from being perfect, but there were three kinds of people that my dad could not tolerate: liars, bullies, and braggarts.
– Larry L.
Donald J. Trump is not exactly the reincarnation of the Great Satan. I have to admit to voting for him in 2016… as the lesser evil of those foisted upon us by both major parties. He was, after all, a rich businessman, though several of his enterprises went bankrupt. His lawyers and advisors managed to keep his personal fortunes isolated from his failures.
He has obviously had trouble choosing similar quality political and economic advisors, both in domestic and foreign affairs. Look at all his “firings.” I guess he is still trying, a year and a half into his term. His blustering “bully” tactics may have worked in business – most of the time. They are making him the epitome of the “ugly American” in the eyes of much of the world, however, and, by implication, making all Americans look bad. It is his misfortune to take the reins as America is increasingly falling from the grace we enjoyed through much of the 20th century, despite the various ineptitudes shown by many of our political leaders of both major parties. His ineptitude just continues the tradition.
– Chuck B.
Often times, I lose all hope for my country when I read the rantings offered up by some of your readers. I have yet to see anything emanating from your keyboard that leads me to believe that you are an “under-the-cover liberal”… or that you are a “Democrat”… or that you are “small-minded”… or that you “voted for Clinton”… or that you are a “socialist”… or that you are “not an American at all.” I may not agree with everything you write, but I’ve never read anything from you that I didn’t enjoy reading. Keep up the excellent work.
– Korte Y.
Keep up your thoughtful discourse. It’s always nice to see the embers of Hell erupting through the mouths of the scourged minions of MAGA!
– Bruce W.
Good grief. It’s distressing to hear that many of your readers feel the way you say! Holy sh**, if I may say so. They are the same, in all probability, who will try to vote the current government back in. Scary. Who are these scary people? (And although neither party has the party going, there is one that is slightly heads above the other; but I won’t mention any specifics, for fear of having my head bitten off by the other.)
My opinion is that the worms (the bad ones) were let out of their hidey-holes and allowed to pollute the world. If there is one useful purpose of religion, it is that it keeps the worms and flies in control. I don’t invest but read you… and your opinions seem spot-on most times. The people who agree probably don’t generally speak out. I usually don’t…
– Joan G.
Ahh… You are doing an excellent job of crossing the T’s and connecting the dots! I always look forward to and enjoy your insights and analysis. Couldn’t be more right-on in my view. The intended worldwide instability, controversy, and chaos are paving the way to the Novus ordo seclorum, the future, high-tech feudal system.
– Reiner R.
Two months after taking office, President Reagan started a secret initiative…
It was a plan to bypass the big banks and politicians and return America’s money to the people. But these so-called “Reagan dollars” were never circulated. The plan was forgotten…