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World News, Shanghai, Russian Ruble, Rain Days Update 04/10/2022

Highlights


There was nothing in Friday’s USDA numbers that justified such a strong finish on Friday.

Jet fuel supplies on the US East Coast areas are lower now than any time since 1995.

Argentine farmers are having great difficulty securing diesel fuel for the harvest that is just beginning.

Russia’s Putin has ordered a draft of 135,000 men for military duty.

Looks like he is in this war for the long haul.

The top four ranked fertilizer exporters are: Russia, China, USA and Canada

USDA says so far for April, no reports of new bird flu infected flocks of table egg-laying hens or layer pullets.

 

Jared Nelson is an American living in Shanghai on day 22 of the COVID lockdown. He reported yesterday:

As we feared yesterday, we have new restrictions. Before today we were allowed to leave our building (but not community) to get deliveries - no more; now we are not allowed out of our apartment door.

Jennifer Zeng also in Shanghai reported this morning: Gunshots can be heard in the Jiuting area of Shanghai after people protested and demanded food delivery.


Shipping News reports containers full of frozen food and chemicals are piling up at China’s biggest port, Shanghai, as the COVID lockdown and compulsory virus testing keeps truckers from the docks.


While the port itself is operating normally, there are a “critically high” number of refrigerated containers and items classified as dangerous goods piled up at two storage yards. Ships carrying those types of cargo are not likely to unload.


More than 21,000 COVID cases were reported in Shanghai just on Thursday. With the 100% 14-day mandatory quarantine of the hundreds of thousands people who had contact with any of those 21,000 people is what is causing the supply chain problem.


A lack of truck availability is stopping more essential businesses in the city. The Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (maybe the world’s largest computer chip manufacturer) is struggling to secure trucks to ship out their chips, which is hurting manufacturers and consumers around the world.


Tightened restrictions on truckers in other parts of China are also delaying the delivery and return of containers to ports. Many hundreds of containers of frozen food and hazardous items like lithium batteries and chemicals will have to be directed away from Shanghai to other ports with similar, but less severe problems. Meanwhile, the citizens of Shanghai are desperate for food.


China's agricultural imports in 2021 were nearly double their ag imports just five years ago.


China annual ag imports chart:

 

Brazil’s summer dry season normally begins late May to early June, but rains diminish quickly in May (see chart below). Those corn fields need to build moisture in April (now!) to get the second crop corn in as good shape as possible before May. Rainfall the past ten days has been less than normal.


Average monthly Brazil rain fall chart:

 

Kazakhstan’s sunflower oil exports from September through January exported 21% less (34,000 mt) sunflower oil than a year ago.


It looks like Russia will not make that $600 million debt service payment on its national debt due this week.


However, the Russian ruble is now stronger on the foreign exchange market versus the dollar than it was before the invasion of Ukraine. All the “massive economic sanctions” that were levied on the Russian economy appears to have had the opposite effect. How is that possible?


Gold.


With the aim of supporting the ruble, the Russian Central Bank announced two weeks ago the ruble (Russia's currency) would be backed by gold. Specifically, one gram of gold is now equal to 5,000 rubles.


Get this: gold is trading at $1,950.40 per ounce this morning. Therefore, you and everybody else in the world can buy Russian rubles, go to the Russian Central Bank and exchange 5,000 rubles for one gram of gold.

There are 28.3 grams in an ounce. Thus, 141,500 rubles will buy one ounce of gold worth $1,950.40 worth of gold.


The key is: how many dollars will it take to buy 141,500 rubles? Two weeks ago, one US dollar would buy 120 rubles. Thus, it took just US$1,179.16 to buy one ounce of gold. And, that, Ladies and Gentlemen, how the Russians have out-smarted everyone. It was just a few weeks ago Joe Biden said, The Ruble will become rubble.

 

A little history:

The US dollar was tied to gold until 1933 when the The Gold Standard rescinded, meaning, before 1933, anybody could take paper dollars to any national bank and redeem those paper dollars for gold at a guaranteed rate. That made the US dollar as good as gold.

In 1933, the Federal Reserve and the US government said the US dollar was still backed by gold, but paper dollars could not be redeemed for gold. In 1971, even the charade that the dollar was backed by gold was thrown out.

The gold standard was rescinded to give the Federal Reserve and governments around the world more flexibility to manage (manipulate) exchange rates and economic activity. All currencies abandoned a true gold standard during the Great Depression.

Only one other country went back to the Gold Standard in the last 90 years and that was Libya in 2012 when Omarr Qaddafi went to the gold standard when the rest of the world was ganging up on him for being a jerk.

The "civilized" economies of the world could not have a third class African country run by a bully with the strongest currency in the world! In a matter of months, Qaddafi suffered a brutal death during a major NATO operation to "support" liberty in Libya. Perhaps you recall the "Spring Uprisings" which included the overthrow of Egypt's government and an unfortunate indcident at a place called Benghazi.

The US Secretary State went to Libya for a "victory lap" and declared, "We came, we saw, he died!" Who was the US Secretary of State?

Why, none other than Hillarly Clinton.

So, Putin may not be doing so well in Ukraine, however, he is kickin' butt all over the rest of the world. Money talks. When money people can buy gold $500 under market, they will do it, even if they have to buy rubles. It is going to get nasty.

Will the civilized economies try to buy all of Russia's 2,298.53 mts of gold and send Russia into total bankruptcy? Or will they just kill Putin?

By going to the gold standard, Putin has made the Russian ruble the crown jewel of world currencies and negated every last negative impact of economic sanctions because legal or not, money people will find a way to buy rubles simply because they can exchange it for gold.


 

Rain Days Update


The Western Corn Belt has 5 less rain days in the 10 day forecast than yesterday and the Eastern Corn Belt has 3 less rain days than yesterday.


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