Tillerson: Not many good North Korea options | Reuters

From Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday there would not be many good options left on North Korea if the peaceful pressure campaign the United States has been pushing to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs failed….

The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed on Friday to push for a quick U.N. Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea. U.N. diplomats said the United States had given China a draft sanctions resolution.

But Washington faces an uphill struggle to convince Russia and China to give quick backing to new U.N. sanctions.

Experts say North Korea’s ICBM launch on Tuesday was a major step forward in its declared intent to create nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. Some U.S. experts say the missile appeared to have the range to hit Alaska, Hawaii and parts of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s weapons programs but the consequences of that could be catastrophic and it prefers global diplomatic action.

Source: Not many good North Korea options if pressure fails: Tillerson | Reuters

Is the Donald long gold?

Don’t know if he is long, but Donald Trump is doing his best to drive up demand for gold.

From the FT overnight:

Donald Trump has warned that the US will take unilateral action to eliminate the nuclear threat from North Korea unless China increases pressure on the regime in Pyongyang.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the US president said he would discuss the growing threat from Kim Jong Un’s nuclear programme with Xi Jinping when he hosts the Chinese president at his Florida resort this week, in their first meeting. “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Mr Trump said in the Oval Office.

“If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone.”

But he made clear that he would deal with North Korea with or without China’s help. Asked if he would consider a “grand bargain” — where China pressures Pyongyang in exchange for a guarantee that the US would later remove troops from the Korean peninsula — Mr Trump said:

“Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”

Nothing like the threat of nuclear war to drive up the price of portable assets. Not that it would do much good if you are on the receiving end.

Spot Gold broke resistance at $1250 an ounce. Follow-through above $1260 is likely and would signal an advance to $1300.

Spot Gold

Theresa May had a calmer, less belligerent approach: “….encourage China to look at this issue of North Korea and play a more significant role in terms of North Korea … I think that’s where our attention should focus.”

The Chip on China’s Shoulder | WSJ

…..Fully 70% of Chinese television dramas have plots related to war with Japan, he tells us, and in 2012 alone 700 million imaginary Japanese were killed in Chinese movies. Mr. French’s findings on this count are ominous: “Up until the present day,” he writes, “East Asia has never proven large enough for two great powers to coexist peacefully.”

….he points to the enormous demographic shift under way in China as the population ages and birthrates fall far short of replacement. China is on course to have more than 329 million people over the age of 65 by 2050, while the younger, working-age population is set to plummet. The inexorable aging of the population will, Mr. French predicts, restrain the country’s ability to project power in the future. It will halve the size of the military-age population while saddling workers and the government with enormous expenses to care for the elderly. He suggests that the incredible pace with which China is currently trying to assert control over the South China Sea is driven by President Xi Jinping’s awareness that the country has a window of at most 20 or 30 years before demographics catch up to it and such an expansion becomes impossible.

China’s attempt to dominate East Asia (if not Asia) brings it into direct conflict with Japan. Expect increased militarization of Japan as China attempts to expand its sphere of influence. The Korean peninsula and Vietnam are simply sideshows.

Source: The Chip on China’s Shoulder – WSJ

Don’t Believe the Hype: China’s North Korea Policy is All Smoke and Mirrors

Dr. Van Jackson is an Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and author of the book Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations:

Social media is abuzz with news that China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it will suspend coal imports from North Korea as part of U.N. Security Council sanctions enforcement for the North’s most recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests in violation of prior Security Council resolutions. So China is finally standing arm-in-arm with the United States and international community to actually do something about North Korea. That’s great, right? Wrong.

China’s suspension of coal imports is smoke and mirrors; an act of geopolitical misdirection. The United States is being played, as it has in the numerous past instances when China supported sanctions resolutions against North Korea at the United Nations only to fail to implement them….

….China’s “emotions” toward North Korea don’t drive its policy. China has a long tradition of paying lip service toward cooperation with the United States and the international community while largely failing to apply any meaningful pressure on North Korea, and for good reason: It doesn’t want a nuclear-armed neighbor on its border to become a nuclear-armed enemy. We ignore China’s enduring strategic interests in North Korea at our peril.

Source: Don’t Believe the Hype: China’s North Korea Policy is All Smoke and Mirrors

Asia: Japan surges while China ebbs

Japan is surging ahead, with the Nikkei 225 index headed for a test of 20000* after its breakout above 17500 four weeks ago.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target medium-term: 17500 + ( 17500 – 15000 ) = 20000

India’s Sensex found support at 26000, but narrow consolidation and declining Twiggs Money Flow both warn of selling pressure. Breach of 26000 would indicate another decline, with a target of 23000*.

Sensex Index

* Target medium-term: 26000 – ( 29000 – 26000 ) = 23000

Shanghai Composite Index is undergoing another correction. Respect of support at 3100 would indicate a healthy up-trend, while breach of 3000 would warn of a reversal. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target medium-term: 3100 + ( 3100 – 2800 ) = 3400

Sharply falling Money Flow warns of strong selling pressure on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index. Breach of support at 22000 would signal a primary down-trend with an initial decline to 20000.

Hang Seng Index

Japan & China rally

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index broke resistance at 17500 while rising Money Flow indicates buying pressure. Target for the rally is the November 2015 high of 20000*.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target medium-term: 17500 + ( 17500 – 15000 ) = 20000

Shanghai Composite Index followed through after a brief consolidation at 3200, offering a target of 3400*. Expect retracement to test the new support level at 3100 but rising Money Flow suggests respect is likely.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target medium-term: 3100 + ( 3100 – 2800 ) = 3400

Asia steadies

China’s Shanghai Composite Index steadied and is again testing resistance at 3100. Breakout would signal a primary up-trend. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow indicate buying pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rallied for another test of resistance at 17000. Breakout above 17000 would suggest a primary up-trend. Follow-through above 17600, completing a broad double-bottom, would confirm. Further consolidation, however, is more likely.

Nikkei 225 Index

India’s BSE Sensex broke out of its narrow rectangle at 28000, signaling another advance. Expect a test of the 2015 high at 30000. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow now appears misleading.


Asia pulls back

China’s Shanghai Composite Index retreated below resistance at 3100. Prospects of a primary up-trend have dimmed and further consolidation between 2800 and 3100 is likely.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is pretty directionless, retreating from resistance at 17000. Breach of 16000 would warn of another test of primary support at 15000. But a broad base between 15000 and 17000 is likely.

Nikkei 225 Index

India’s BSE Sensex is the most promising, consolidating in a bullish narrow range around 28000. Upward breakout would signal a further advance towards the 2015 high of 30000. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of long-term selling pressure, however, and downward breakout would warn of a correction to 25000 or 26000.


Hope isn’t a strategy

Cautious optimism has evaporated after poor recent polls favoring a BREXIT. I hope that sanity prevails but, as the saying goes: “Hope isn’t a strategy”.

Better to have a Plan A and a Plan B to cope with the two alternatives. But if enough investors decide their money is safer in the bank, then expectations of a fall are likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The S&P 500 does not appear unduly alarmed but a sharp fall on 13-week Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Reversal below 2000 would warn of another test of primary support (1820 to 1870).

S&P 500 Index

Dow Jones Industrial Average shows a similar picture. Breach of medium-term support at 17400 to 17500 would warn of another test of primary support at 15500 to 16000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

A CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiked to 20, indicating increased market risk. Long-term measures remain unaffected.

S&P 500 VIX


Germany’s DAX retreated below medium-term support, warning of another test of primary support. 13-Week Money Flow below zero suggests a primary down-trend.


The Footsie broke support at 6000 warning of a test of 5500. Reversal of Money Flow below zero would suggest a primary down-trend.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6400 + ( 6400 – 6000 ) = 6800


The Shanghai Composite Index continues to range between 2700 and 3100.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index broke support at 16000 and its lower trend channel, warning of another decline.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 15000 – ( 18000 – 15000 ) = 12000

India’s Sensex remains bullish, with a short retracement below 27000. Bearish divergence on 13-week Money Flow would end if the descending trendline is penetrated.



The ASX 200 broke medium-term support at 5200, warning of another test of primary support at 4750. Expect support at the former level of 4900 to 5000 but it is questionable whether this will hold. Combination of a seasonal sell-off and BREXIT fears are going to test buyers’ commitment.

ASX 200

The Banks Index fell sharply and breach of support at 7200 would offer a target of 6400*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target calculation: 7200 – ( 8000 – 7200 ) = 6400

Health Care is experiencing a strong sell-off, led by CSL. This is a good long-term stock but exposure to the UK/Europe has spooked the market.

ASX 200 Health Care

Asia: Shanghai weakens

The Shanghai Composite Index broke medium-term support at 2900, warning of another test of primary support at 2700. Reversal of Money Flow below zero would warn of a decline to 2400*.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is edging higher but trend strength is weak. Breakout above resistance at 17000 was followed by a retreat to 16000. Support is weak and breach of 16000 would signal another test of primary support at 15000.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17500 ) = 15000

India’s Sensex is more bullish, testing its upper trend channel at 26000. Short retracement is a bullish sign and breakout above 26000 would signal that the down-trend is ending. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero would strengthen the signal.


* Target calculation: 23000 – ( 25000 – 23000 ) = 21000