Iran Is Hiding 51 Million Oil Barrels At Sea, Maritime Tracker Reports

#AceFinanceNews – July.17: Iran Is Hiding 51 Million Oil Barrels At Sea, Maritime Tracker Reports
Zero Hedge / Tyler Durde

With yesterday’s appearance what seems like the first Iran oil tanker to set sail post-nuke-deal, Haaretz reports that Iran has been hiding millions of barrels of oil it never reported to the United States or in the world oil market, according to a company that has developed sophisticated maritime tracking technology. With the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, Iran denies it’s storing oil at sea, despite reports that surfaced in The New York Times as early as 2012; but Ami Daniel, Windward founder and cochairman, shows the Iranians are taking huge, 280-meter-long ships and filling them with oil, to sit at sea and wait. Because the sanctions allow for production of only three million barrels a day, they began storing the remainder… oil tankers have been sitting in the Gulf for anywhere between three and six months, just waiting for orders.”

Searching for ships that do not want to be found…

As Bloomberg explains, based in Tel Aviv, Windward was founded four years ago by two Israeli naval officers…

The algorithms Windward developed were initially intended to tackle illegal fishing by analyzing and profiling normative patterns in sea traffic. The entrepreneurs discovered that their technology could also be used to monitor unusual behavior near, say, oil-drilling ports in Libya.

These anomalies of maritime behavior, which occur daily, would have probably gone undetected in the past. Today, advanced satellite imaging and communications technology, coupled with analytical software developed by an Israeli startup called Windward, identifies potential illegal activity in real time.

“Everything affects everything else in the sea,” Daniel said in an interview. “We see when things are beginning to happen. We give you the insight first because we can see when patterns start changing.”

As Haaretz reports, Windward claims that Iran is currently storing 50 million barrels of crude on tankers in the Gulf, a much larger amount than estimates from Western sources. Bank of America has estimated Iran is holding 30 million barrels, while the U.S. news broadcaster CNBC put the number at 40 million.

According to Windward, the Iranian ships are purposely hiding their cargo.

According to Windward, the amount of oil Iran is storing offshore has jumped more than 150% over the last year to over 51 million barrels as of Wednesday. The increase coincided with nuclear talks with world powers led by the U.S. while Iranian President Hassan Rohani publicly claimed Iran did not have enough oil to fulfill its own needs.

The amount of oil Iran is holding is far larger than the daily quota of 30 million barrels imposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on its members.

Iran currently produces 3.3 million barrels of oil daily, according to the U.S. Energy Agency, slightly more than the three-million-barrel ceiling stipulated by the sanctions, which allow Iran to export no more than one million barrels a day.

Limitations were also placed on Iran’s oil-storage facilities, which Tehran apparently circumvented with the offshore storage scheme. The amount of oil involved is quite extensive: Annually, Iran pumps 1.204 billion barrels of oil, meaning the offshore oil stores reported by Windward account for 4.2% of Iran’s yearly production. In total, there are 28 Iranian tankers in the Gulf, each holding between one and two million barrels, according to Windward.

  • * *

Follow in real-time the rise of floating storage in Iran’s waters…

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Attention Greek Bankers: Bridge In Brooklyn For Sale On The Cheap

#AceFinanceNews – July.17: Attention Greek Bankers: Bridge In Brooklyn For Sale On The Cheap
Zero Hedge / Tyler Durden


First of all, the facts. According to Ms. Danièle Nouy, head of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, Greek banks were proclaimed as recently as 7 June “to be solvent and liquid”. Ms. Nouy went on to say that “[t]he Greek supervisors have done good work over the past years in order to recapitalise and restructure the financial sector.

That was also visible in the outcome of our stress test. The Greek institutions have experienced difficult phases in the past. But they have never before been so well prepared for them”. When pressed about the DTA/DTC issue facing Greek banks (DTA make up more than 40% of their capital), she seemed unperturbed: “That is not only a Greek issue but a general problem.[…] [W]e are now in a transitional phase, in which new capital rules are being introduced. When this has been completed, part of this problem will be fixed. But that requires a global approach”. Ms. Nouy’s view accords with the results of the ECB AQR back in October.

If you were a shareholder of a Greek bank, you wouldn’t lose sleep over your relationship with your regulator. In that context, the statement of the 12 July Euro Summit may have come as a shock—particularly the bit about the new program for Greece having to include “the establishment of a buffer of EUR 10 to 25bn for the banking sector in order to address potential bank recapitalisation needs and resolution costs, of which EUR 10bn would be made available immediately in a segregated account at the ESM”. And further down: “The ECB/SSM will conduct a comprehensive assessment after the summer. The overall buffer will cater for possible capital shortfalls following the comprehensive assessment after the legal framework is applied”.

You could be forgiven for thinking—where did that come from? A keen observer might also notice that one of the six things that the Summit asked Greece to do by 22 July is to transpose the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). Why all the haste, then? After all, when the European Commission requested on 28 May eleven countries to implement BRRD, Greece was not even among those countries. Could the tight deadline then have anything to do with the following mention in the Summit statement: “EUR 10bn [of the buffer for the banking sector] would be made available immediately in a segregated account at the ESM”?

Let us first look at what the IMF has to say about the issue. In the IMF’s initial debt sustainability analysis of 26 June, bank recap needs were estimated at only €5.9bn (p. 7, table 1). Not the case in its latest debt sustainability analysis (14 July):”The preliminary (mutually agreed) assessment of the three institutions is that total financing need through end-2018 will increase to Euro 85 billion, or some Euro 25 billion above what was projected in the IMF’s published DSA only two weeks ago, largely on account of the estimated need for a larger banking sector backstop for Euro 25 billion [emphasis ours]”.

Now let’s see what the European Commission said in its assessment of Greece’s request for support from the ESM (dated 10 July): “[S]ince end-2014, the situation of the banking sector has deteriorated dramatically amid increased State financing risks, strong deposit outflows, a worsened macroeconomic development and more recently due to the implementation of administrative measures designed to stabilise the funding situation of banks and preserve financial stability. […] The estimated size of the required capital backstop amounts on a preliminary basis to EUR 25 bn”.

Quite weird, no? Despite the fact that “since end-2014, the situation of the banking sector has deteriorated dramatically”, the three institutions thought till 7 June that Greek banks were solvent and as recently as 26 June (the date of the IMF’s initial deb sustainability analysis) that only €5.9bn would be needed for bank recap. On 10 July the European Commission already thought that €25bn were needed, but that probably did not get communicated to participants in the Euro Summit on 12 July who spoke of a buffer between €10bn and €25bn (quite a broad range, that one), of which €10bn was needed “immediately”. Finally, on 14 July the IMF confirmed needs to be €25bn. Quite a mess, frankly.

Now, there are two ways in which one could interpret this. Someone leery of the European institutions might think that Eurocrats came up with yet another way of enriching large European banks at the expense of the Greek and European taxpayer (some people, like former Bundesbank head Karl Otto Pöhl, claim that even the first Greek bailout was “about protecting German banks, but especially the French banks, from debt write offs”). That the €25bn will be used to endow Greek banks, which will be bailed in and then sold off in a matter of months by the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) (to be launched on 1 January 2016). No prizes for guessing who will buy Greek banks. Some cynics might even say that, when €25bn of public money becomes available, a bureaucrat is sure to find a way to line his friends’ pockets.

Judging from press reports, Greek bankers remain unruffled. They seem to think that the bank recap will take the form of the 2013 exercise: back then, private investors put up just 10% of the funds needed, while the rest came from the European taxpayers (via the Greek taxpayer). They seem to rely on an exception in to the general rule of the BRRD (“no public funds to be used without a bail-in”): according to point (e) of Article 59 (3) of the BRRD, “an injection of own funds or purchase of capital instruments at prices and on terms that do not confer an advantage upon the institution” does not necessitate a bail-in, as long as the supported institution was solvent (or words to that effect) at the time of the intervention.

According to this narrative, none of the three institutions had an inkling as to what exactly was happening with Greek banks—their regulator, the SSM, even thought they were well capitalized. It apparently dawned on the three institutions right around the European Summit that there was a problem, but, although they knew before the Summit that the hole was €25bn, they apparently forgot to tell Europe’s leaders how big it was, and they mistakenly thought they could fix it with perhaps €10bn. But they knew that fixing the problem is something that should happen “immediately”.

That this presents a reversal of the longstanding sweep-under-the-carpet, kick-the-can-further approach of Eurocrats to all-things-Greek should not be a cause for concern. Nor should the timing raise any eyebrows: slapping an additional almost 10% of GDP onto Greece’s funding needs at a time when the Europeans and the IMF are at odds over the sustainability of Greek debt may seem a bit odd, but one should not read anything into it.

Oh, and that paragraph in the latest IMF debt sustainability analysis: “[T]he proposed additional injection of large-scale support for the banking system would be the third such publicly funded rescue in the last 5 years. Further capital injections could be needed in the future, absent a radical solution to the governance issues that are at the root of the problems of the Greek banking system [emphasis ours]. There are at this stage no concrete plans in this regard”. Nothing to be concerned about, just some mandarin venting frustration.

The SSM will simply run a stress test on Greek banks, and identify a €25bn capital shortfall (despite the words of Ms. Nouy just a bit over a month ago). Greek banks will be able to complete their capital raising exercises by 31 December 2015 (when, according to Article 32(4) of the BRRD the only exception to “no public funds without a bail-in” rule expires); if not, the always obliging European Commission will certainly provide an extension. Investors will certainly flock to subscribe for Greek bank rights issues, despite having thrown €8.3bn down the drain by doing the exact same thing just over a year ago.

Of course, there are some rather inconvenient facts, which one would need to ignore under this scenario: for example, if the SSM has to run stress tests on Greek banks, this will take some time. Why then the rush to implement BRRD and the need to set aside the €10bn for Greek bank recap “immediately”? Oh, and there is that Bruegel report on Greek bank recap which came out while the Euro Summit was still in progress, and puts things rather bluntly: “[T]he potential package for Greece would include 10 to 25bn for the banking sector in order to address potential recapitalisation needs. Rumours this morning suggest the banks would then become part of a new asset fund and sold off to pay down debt” (mind you that the piece was already published at 7am). Again, nothing to worry about, just some academic hokum.

And if you believe all that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

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#AceFinanceNews – July.17: GOOGLE EXPLODES, NASDAQ HITS RECORD HIGH: Here’s what you need to know (DIA, OIL, USO, BHI, SPX, SPY, QQQ, TLT, GOOG, GOOGL, TSLA, ETSY)
Business Insider / Myles Udland


Stocks finished the day mixed while Google gained more than 16% and the Nasdaq closed at a record high to end the week. After Greece dominated the headlines over the last few weeks, each of the major averages logged notable gains with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing 4% and the S&P 500 gaining more than 2%.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,089, -31, (-0.2%)
  • S&P 500: 2,216, +2.5, (+0.1%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,209, +46, (+0.9%)

And now, the top stories on Friday:

  1. It was a busy day in economic data, but the most positive news came from the housing market, where housing starts rose 9.8% in June to a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 1.17 million, the fastest pace since 2007. Building permits were also up 7.4% in June, well above expectations for a decline in permits. In a note to clients following the data, Stu Hoffman at PNC wrote, “Housing ‘caught fire’ in a positive sense this spring helping to heat up an economy that was frozen stiff in the cold winter months. This will continue to add construction jobs to more than make up for the loss of jobs in the energy economy.”
  2. Consumer prices rose 0.3% in June, as expected, and when excluding the more volatile cost of food and gas, prices rose 0.2%. Over the prior year, “core” prices rose 1.8% in June. This is still below the Fed’s 2% target, but in a note to clients following the report, analysts at Capital Economics noted that “core” prices are up 2.3% over the last 3 months on an annualized basis.
  3. The initial reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan in July disappointed, with the index falling to 93.3 in July after a 96.0 print in June. In a release, the survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin wrote, “The small loss in early July reflected a slight rise in concerns about international developments which was partially offset by continued news of job gains.”
  4. Google shares went absolutely nuts on Friday, gaining more than 16% adding more than $60 billion market cap to the company after earnings on Thursday night beat expectations. The search giant reported earnings per share of $6.99, topping expectations, while revenue came in a bit light at $17.7 billion. This also marked the first quarter of new CFO Ruth Porat’s tenure after Porat joined the company from Morgan Stanley. Wall Street analysts praised Porat in notes following the report.
  5. Tesla announced a new mode for its Model S electric vehicle: “Ludicrous Mode.” In a press call on Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the upgrade to the car’s performance, and said the company made the upgrade despite the fact that no customers had been asking for it because, as Musk said, “it was too ludicrous.”
  6. Shares of online craft marketplace Etsy had a wild ride on Friday, rising more than 35% after the company got a passing mention on Google earnings conference call as a beneficiary of increased traffic due to what Google called “deep linking.”
  7. The Federal Reserve was in focus this week with Fed chair Janet Yellen speaking to lawmakers on both Wednesday and Thursday. But a report from Business Insider’s Jonathan Marino on Friday said the Fed could face another challenge from lawmakers next week who are seeking to limit the New York Fed’s “permanent” status on the FOMC, the Fed committee that makes decisions on the Fed’s interest rate policies.

Don’t Miss: Wildfires rages in Athens on Friday »

SEE ALSO: Ben Bernanke thinks Europe has a bigger problem to fix than Greece’s debt

Join the conversation about this story »

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In India And China, You Can Buy Your Next Home Without Leaving Home

#AceFinanceNews – July.17: In India And China, You Can Buy Your Next Home Without Leaving Home
Consumerist / Laura Northrup




Depending on how you feel about the way real estate works now, the idea of sticking a house in your Internet shopping cart and clicking “Buy” may or may not appeal to you. Advances in technology mean that you can buy a new house without even going outside, and get a discount for doing so…in India.

Homebuilders’ websites work like a showroom or a demo unit, with three-dimensional walkthroughs available on the screen. The discounts for doing this can be huge: one builder offers 12% off an apartment that costs about $102,000, for example.

E-commerce company Alibaba also worked with a developer to sell houses on the company’s Taobao marketplace, which is pretty much the equivalent of buying a condo on Amazon. Shoppers in India use sites like and even the e-commerce site SnapDeal, where you can also buy clothes, toys, and other regular old merchandise.

One realtor in India told Bloomberg News that it will be impossible for online real estate sales to replace its real-life counterpart, but online sales have been a great way for the housing market in India to deal with some excess housing in new developments that had been delayed.

Indians Are Spending Millions Buying Homes Online [Bloomberg]

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Hertz and Google are big market movers


#AceFinanceNews – NEW YORK (AP):July.17: Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market:


Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ), up $2.02 to $19.01

The rental-car company restated more than two years of financial results and announced plans to cut costs and buy back stock.

SolarWinds Inc. (SWI), down $11.51 to $35.54

The m…

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Elizabeth Warren Sends Hillary Clinton a Message

#AceNewsReport – July.17: Elizabeth Warren Sends Hillary Clinton a Message
TIME / Sam Frizell


Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a bright red line on Friday for 2016 presidential candidates, calling for them to commit to end the so-called “revolving door” between Wall Street and the Cabinet.

The firebrand populist said specifically that all the presidential candidates should support Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill introduced this week that would prohibit bonuses for Wall Street executives who take government jobs.

“Anyone who wants to be President should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable,” said Warren, speaking in Phoenix at Netroots Nation, a convention of liberal activists.

While the call to action was aimed at everyone running in 2016, its clearest target was Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who is courting the very types of progressive activists in the audience in both the primary and general election.

MORE: How Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Fury is Remaking Democratic Politics

While Warren declined to run for president, her supporters give her credit for pushing Clinton to the left and setting the liberal standard on a host of issues.

Clinton has already gone at least part of the way to satisfying Warren’s demands. During a speech Monday on her vision for the American economy, Clinton called for greater regulation of financial institutions.

“I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that Too Big To Fail is still too big a problem,” Clinton said on Monday. She outlined plans to rein in Wall Street and “go beyond Dodd-Frank.”

Baldwin’s bill is aimed at addressing what progressives see as a profound governmental problem: that government finance appointees often have close ties to Wall Street. In her speech, Warren pointed out that three of the last four Treasury Secretaries, the vice chair of the Federal Reserve and other key government officials have had close ties with Citigroup, a major Wall Street bank.

“Elizabeth Warren offered a framework for how Democratic presidential candidates can reduce Wall Street influence in key appointments,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee after Warren’s speech.

Unhappy with President Obama’s less aggressive approach to Wall Street, the Democratic left has searched for a liberal champion who can address issues like income inequality and campaign finance reforms and found some of its voice in Warren, a former Harvard law professor and consumer protection advocate.

While Clinton has rhetorically embraced much of Warren’s logic, she has not gone as far as her fellow Democratic presidential candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

In her speech Friday, Warren spoke about a surging progressive movement across the country, calling Washington, D.C., out of touch with the rest of America.

She ticked off a litany of issues that she said Americans are further to the left on than elected officials, including raising the minimum wage, reducing the cost of college, requiring paid sick leave, increasing social security benefits, and enacting campaign finance reform.

“I’m here to make an announcement to insider Washington: America is far more progressive than you are,” Warren said.

It’s a message Warren is counting on resonating in the 2016 election. Warren added that the economic crisis in 2008 would have been different if there had been left-leaning economists in high governmental positions instead of Wall Street alums.

“How would the world be different today if, when the economic crisis hit [in 2008], Joe Stiglitz had been Secretary of the Treasury?” Warren said.

Stiglitz is now advising Hillary Clinton.

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LONDON: Wheatley to stand down as CEO of FCA

#AceFinanceNews – LONDON (Reuters) – Martin Wheatley will stand down as chief executive of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on September 12, the watchdog said on Friday.

In a separate Treasury statement, Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne said Wheatley has done a “brilliant job” in launching the FCA but that different leadership is now required to build on those foundations.

Tracey McDermott will take on the role of acting chief executive, Osborne said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Carolyn Cohn)

Wheatley to stand down as CEO of FCA


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