Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime

Inverno21. Si dice che sarà gelido e con i prezzi del natural gas saliti alle stelle.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-10-10.

Lago Baikala ghiacciato con bolle ghiacciate di metano 001

Previsioni meteo inverno 2021/22, torna la Nina: in Italia freddo gelido e forti nevicate

«Secondo le previsioni, la Nina spingerebbe l‘Anticiclone russo siberiano verso l’Europa orientale, portando aria gelida in Italia e possibili nevicate anche intense.

L’ondata più fredda è attesa tra gennaio e febbraio. Dicembre 2021 non dovrebbe essere uno dei mesi più freddi del prossimo inverno. Quello più gelido, invece, potrebbe essere febbraio 2022.

La Nina consiste in un raffreddamento della temperatura delle acque superficiali dell’Oceano Pacifico centrale e orientale, condizionando conseguentemente il clima del nostro Pianeta, facendo sentire i suoi effetti anche in Europa e in Italia.»

* * * * * * *

«Regional natural gas markets in the United States are seeing prices for this winter surge along with global record highs – suggesting that the energy bills causing headaches in Europe and Asia will hit the world’s top gas producer before long»

«Gas prices in Europe and Asia have more than tripled this year, causing manufacturers to curtail activity from Spain to Britain and sparking power crises in China»

«→→ The benchmark U.S. natural gas contract has been rallying, lately hitting seven-year highs, but its $5.62 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) price is a far cry from the $30-plus being paid in Europe and Asia. ←←»

«However, the U.S. market is worried about the coming cold, particularly in New England and California – where prices for gas to be delivered this winter are far above the nationwide benchmark. In New England, buyers are expecting gas to cost more than $20 per mmBtu»

«U.S. gas currently being delivered to the Henry Hub terminal in Louisiana, the nation’s benchmark, recently surpassed $6 for the first time since 2014. For January that price is in the same range, suggesting buyers think the country as a whole will have ample pipeline and storage access to keep fuel flowing this winter»

«→→ Gas-fired power plants are expected to produce about 49% of the electricity generated in New England ←←»

«→→ Prices at the Southern California citygate for January 2022 were trading over $13 this week, which would be a record outside of February 2021 ←←»

«Just 4% of the electricity produced in California will come from hydro facilities this year, according to federal projections, down from an average of 14% over the past five years»

«Analysts expect New England to start burning oil sooner than usual this year. Notably, during an extreme cold event starting in late December 2017, oil spiked to 27% of overall power generation, compared with less than 1% earlier that month»

* * * * * * *

Si tenga ben presente come i prezzi del natural gas negli Stati Uniti differiscano da quelli praticati nel blocco europeo, ove sono sottoposti a severi carichi fiscali.

* * * * * * *


Global natgas price surge looms for United States this winter.

Regional natural gas markets in the United States are seeing prices for this winter surge along with global record highs – suggesting that the energy bills causing headaches in Europe and Asia will hit the world’s top gas producer before long.

Gas prices in Europe and Asia have more than tripled this year, causing manufacturers to curtail activity from Spain to Britain and sparking power crises in China.

The United States has been shielded from that global crunch because it has plenty of gas supply, most of which stays in the country since U.S. export capacity is still relatively small.

The benchmark U.S. natural gas contract has been rallying, lately hitting seven-year highs, but its $5.62 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) price is a far cry from the $30-plus being paid in Europe and Asia.

However, the U.S. market is worried about the coming cold, particularly in New England and California – where prices for gas to be delivered this winter are far above the nationwide benchmark. In New England, buyers are expecting gas to cost more than $20 per mmBtu.

High winter prices are nothing new for New England and California, where the limited number of pipelines into both regions regularly become constrained on the coldest days. But this winter could be worse.

Both regions have spent years aggressively moving away from fossil fuels through regulations, power plant retirements and carbon pricing that makes power from fossil-fired generation, particularly coal, more expensive.

U.S. gas currently being delivered to the Henry Hub terminal in Louisiana, the nation’s benchmark, recently surpassed $6 for the first time since 2014. For January that price is in the same range, suggesting buyers think the country as a whole will have ample pipeline and storage access to keep fuel flowing this winter.

“Henry Hub prices continue to climb for the winter months, but we should see even bigger increases on the East and West Coasts for New England and California,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at commodity analytics firm Kpler.

In New England, gas for January delivery is soaring, trading this week at more than $22 at the region’s Algonquin hub , which would be the highest price paid in a month since January and February of 2014.

That reflects the region, which turns to liquefied natural gas (LNG) when its pipelines become congested, will have to compete with buyers in Europe and Asia already paying a lot more for the super-cooled fuel.

Gas-fired power plants are expected to produce about 49% of the electricity generated in New England. That is in line with the last five years, but overall demand is rising as the economy has recovered.

“What is driving gas prices for us is expected increased demand for pipeline gas as the economy recovers, and supply is catching up after pandemic low demand,” said Caroline Pretyman, a spokesperson at Eversource Energy (ES.N), New England’s biggest energy provider.

                         CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ ON A WINTER’S DAY

Prices at the Southern California citygate for January 2022 were trading over $13 this week, which would be a record outside of February 2021, when the Texas freeze pushed gas prices to record levels in many parts of the country.

Prices are up in California because the state has been suffering through a long drought that has restricted its ability to generate electricity through hydropower. Solar has also been constrained by smoke cover from wildfires, analysts said.

As a result, the state has relied more on gas-fired plants, which are expected to account for about 45% of electricity generated this winter, above the five-year average of 41% as the drought limits hydropower supplies, according to federal projections. read more

Just 4% of the electricity produced in California will come from hydro facilities this year, according to federal projections, down from an average of 14% over the past five years.

Unlike New England, California has access to gas supplies from more regions including the Permian shale in Texas and New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains and Canada.

New England imports roughly 16 billion cubic feet (bcf) of LNG during the winter, equivalent to about 5% of its winter gas consumption. However, competition from Europe and Asia means those shipments will come at a dear cost.

Some power generators have another option – switching to burning oil. Right now, fuel oil costs about three times as much as natural gas, so that kind of switch will only happen as gas prices rise. Oil also emits about 30% more carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

Analysts expect New England to start burning oil sooner than usual this year. Notably, during an extreme cold event starting in late December 2017, oil spiked to 27% of overall power generation, compared with less than 1% earlier that month, according to ISO New England, the region’s grid operator.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Unione Europea

Blocco Europeo è strangolato dai rincari del 280% YoY del Gas Naturale. – Mr Putin ringrazia.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-23.

2021-09-22__ Gas prices 001

Il mercato dell’energia americano è una realtà separata e differente da quella del Blocco Europeo.

Se è vero che sul mercato americano il natural gas abbia costi di produzione aumentati di oltre il 100% nell’ultimo anno, sarebbe altrettanto vero constatare come sul mercato del Blocco Europeo il wholesale power prices del natural gas sia levitato oltre il 250%.

Ricordiamo come il termine “wholesale power prices” significhi “the price that a store or business pays for goods that it will then sell to the public”: è il prezzo praticato dai grossisti per i grossisti.

«→→ The gas market chaos, which has driven prices 280% higher in Europe this year and led to a 100%-plus surge in the United States, is being blamed on a range of factors from low storage levels to carbon prices to reduced Russian supplies ←←»

«→→ The story emerging from the UK energy sector will soon be more relevant to the European market than Evergrande ←←»

Questi prezzi del natural gas sono tali da strozzare il sistema produttivo e condurre rapidamente al fallimento, come sta accadendo nel Regno Unito.

* * * * * * *

«Low inventory around the world has made heating fuel more expensive than it has been in years»

«Rock-bottom gas prices have been a reliable feature of the US economy since the financial crisis»

«The gas is burned to generate electricity and heat homes and to make plastics, steel and fertilizers»

«A substantial and sustained increase in prices will be felt from households to heavy industry.»

* * *

«Soaring gas prices that threaten to push up winter fuel bills, hurt consumption and exacerbate a near-term spike in inflation are another blow to a world economy just getting back on its feet after the coronavirus shock»

«→→ The gas market chaos, which has driven prices 280% higher in Europe this year and led to a 100%-plus surge in the United States, is being blamed on a range of factors from low storage levels to carbon prices to reduced Russian supplies ←←»

«Whatever the causes, the surge carries major market implications»

«the impact in the United States …. should be small. While over a third of U.S. energy consumption in 2020 was supplied by natural gas»

«Overall though, higher gas prices raise the risk of stagflation – high inflation, low growth»

«Euro zone wholesale power prices are at record highs, potentially exacerbating inflation pressures inflicted by COVID-related supply bottlenecks»

«In Germany, 310,000 households face an 11.5% increase in gas bills»

«Noting German factory gate prices were already the highest since 1974, Citi analysts predicted 5% hikes for electricity and gas prices in January, adding 0.25 percentage points to consumer inflation next year»

«Cuts in fertiliser production could also lift food prices»

«Central banks are sticking with the line that the spike in inflation is temporary»

«This week’s central bank meetings could test policymakers’ resolve»

«With UK producer price inflation soaring, shipping costs showing little sign of cooling, commodity prices higher up and job vacancies tipping 1 million, there is a growing chance that higher prices will stick around for longer»

«more (BoE) members may move quickly to vote for a rate rise sooner than expected next year, but it would be an unpopular course of action with looming tax rises already hard to digest for many consumers»

«Britain is considering offering state-backed loans to energy firms after big suppliers requested support to cover the cost of taking on customers from companies that went bust under the impact of gas prices»

«→→ The story emerging from the UK energy sector will soon be more relevant to the European market than Evergrande ←←»

* * *

«British energy firms fear collapse as Europe’s gas crisis sees prices surge 250%»

«Britain’s energy industry could be headed for a significant shake-up, industry insiders have warned, as countries all over Europe grapple with an unprecedented crisis in the power sector»

«Wholesale gas prices have spiked across the region, with the U.K. being hit particularly hard»

«The front-month gas price at the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark for natural gas trading, gained on Monday to trade at 73.150 euros ($85.69) per megawatt-hour, hovering close to the record high seen last week»

«Since January, the contract has risen more than 250%»

«the crisis was being caused by a “cocktail of pretty potent things” that were outside of suppliers’ control»

«→→ These included strong competition for natural gas deliveries between Europe and Asia, some outages at U.S. production facilities, and a tightening of EU carbon market rules ←←»

«Start-up Bulb, the country’s sixth-largest supplier, is seeking a bailout, while four smaller competitors recently ceased trading»

* * * * * * *

Non esiste sistema economico che possa produrre alcunché senza costi ragionevoli dell’energia.

Nel Blocco Europeo gli energetici, già cari di per sé stessi, sono inoltre gravati da una pletora di tasse e balzelli ecologici, alle quali va imputata gran parte del sovrapprezzo.

Di ideologia si muore.

* * * * * * *


Natural-Gas Prices Surge, and Winter Is Still Months Away.

«                       Low inventory around the world has made heating fuel more expensive than it has been in years

It’s considered the off-season for demand, and prices haven’t climbed as high since a blizzard lashed the Northeast in early 2014. Analysts say this winter should not be cold enough to push prices to heights unknown during the shale era, which turned the US from a gas importer to a supplier to the world.

Rock-bottom gas prices have been a reliable feature of the US economy since the financial crisis. The effluents extracted with sideways drilling and hydraulic fracturing caused the gas to crash and never recovered. The gas is burned to generate electricity and heat homes and to make plastics, steel and fertilizers. A substantial and sustained increase in prices will be felt from households to heavy industry.

The stock has already received a lift from $5 gas.»

* * *

Gas price surge, just one more headwind for world economy.

London, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Soaring gas prices that threaten to push up winter fuel bills, hurt consumption and exacerbate a near-term spike in inflation are another blow to a world economy just getting back on its feet after the coronavirus shock.

The gas market chaos, which has driven prices 280% higher in Europe this year and led to a 100%-plus surge in the United States, is being blamed on a range of factors from low storage levels to carbon prices to reduced Russian supplies.

So high are tensions that several European Parliament lawmakers have demanded an investigation into what they said could be market manipulation by Russia’s Gazprom.

Whatever the causes, the surge carries major market implications:

                         1/GROWTH

Analysts say it’s too early to downgrade economic growth forecasts but a hit to economic activity looks inevitable.

Morgan Stanley reckons the impact in the United States, the world’s biggest economy, should be small. While over a third of U.S. energy consumption in 2020 was supplied by natural gas, users were predominantly industrial, it notes.

Overall though, higher gas prices raise the risk of stagflation – high inflation, low growth.

“It is quite clear there is a growing sense of unease about the economic outlook as a growing number of companies look ahead to the prospect of rising costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

                         2/INFLATION

Euro zone wholesale power prices are at record highs, potentially exacerbating inflation pressures inflicted by COVID-related supply bottlenecks. In Germany, 310,000 households face an 11.5% increase in gas bills, data showed on Monday.

Noting German factory gate prices were already the highest since 1974, Citi analysts predicted 5% hikes for electricity and gas prices in January, adding 0.25 percentage points to consumer inflation next year.

Higher food costs are another side effect, given a shortage of carbon dioxide which is used in slaughterhouses and to prolong the shelf-life of food. Cuts in fertiliser production could also lift food prices.

Goldman Sachs predicts higher oil demand, with a $5 per barrel upside risk to its fourth-quarter 2021 Brent price forecast of $80 a barrel. Brent is trading at about $74 currently .

                         3/CENTRAL BANKS

Central banks are sticking with the line that the spike in inflation is temporary — European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel said on Monday she was happy with the broad-based rise in inflation.

But as market- and consumer-based measures of inflation expectations rise, gas prices will be on central banks’ radar.

“If we have higher inflation, transitory or structural, and have slower growth – it will be a very tricky situation for markets and central banks to assess, navigate and communicate,” said Piet Haines Christiansen, chief strategist at Danske Bank.

This week’s central bank meetings could test policymakers’ resolve. The Bank of England meeting on Thursday is in particular focus, given UK inflation has just hit a nine-year high.

With UK producer price inflation soaring, shipping costs showing little sign of cooling, commodity prices higher up and job vacancies tipping 1 million, there is a growing chance that higher prices will stick around for longer, said Susannah Streeter, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“If they do, more (BoE) members may move quickly to vote for a rate rise sooner than expected next year, but it would be an unpopular course of action with looming tax rises already hard to digest for many consumers,” she said.

                         4/ STATE BAILOUTS

Britain is considering offering state-backed loans to energy firms after big suppliers requested support to cover the cost of taking on customers from companies that went bust under the impact of gas prices. One firm, Bulb, is reportedly seeking a bailout.

France meanwhile plans one-off 100 euro ($118) payments to millions of households to help with energy bills.

“The story emerging from the UK energy sector will soon be more relevant to the European market than Evergrande,” said Althea Spinozzi, senior fixed income Strategist at Saxo Bank.

And in a week packed with central bank meetings, she added that markets were “right to fret.”

5/COMPANIES

Spain shocked the utility sector last week by redirecting billions of euros in energy companies’ profits to consumers and capping increases in gas prices. Revenue hits at Iberdrola and Endesa were estimated by RBC at one billion euros and shares in the companies sold off heavily.

Since the move, investors have fretted about contagion to other countries, Morgan Stanley said. While seeing those fears as overdone, the bank acknowledged there was a risk of margin squeezes at European utilities in coming months.

Sector shares are down for the third week straight.

* * *

British energy firms fear collapse as Europe’s gas crisis sees prices surge 250%.

– Britain’s energy industry could be headed for a significant shake-up, industry insiders have warned, as countries all over Europe grapple with an unprecedented crisis in the power sector.

– Wholesale gas prices have spiked across the region, with the U.K. being hit particularly hard.

*

London — Britain’s energy industry could be headed for a significant shake-up, industry insiders have warned, as countries all over Europe grapple with an unprecedented crisis in the power sector.

Wholesale gas prices have spiked across the region, with the U.K. being hit particularly hard.

The front-month gas price at the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark for natural gas trading, gained on Monday to trade at 73.150 euros ($85.69) per megawatt-hour, hovering close to the record high seen last week.

Since January, the contract has risen more than 250%.

In the U.K., day-ahead energy prices for Monday reached an average of 291.18 euros per megawatt-hour, according to energy analysis firm LCP Enact. However, the maximum price for the U.K. on Monday could be as high as 1,083.78 euros per megawatt-hour, LCP Enact’s analysis showed.

                         Impact for energy firms

Robert Buckley, head of relationship development at Cornwall Insight, told CNBC that the crisis was being caused by a “cocktail of pretty potent things” that were outside of suppliers’ control.

These included strong competition for natural gas deliveries between Europe and Asia, some outages at U.S. production facilities, and a tightening of EU carbon market rules, as well as various other factors.

“All suppliers will be finding it very tough at the moment,” Buckley said. “Some of them are bigger and more resilient than others. But scale doesn’t automatically equal resilience.”

He added that “it looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better” in terms of suppliers leaving the British electricity and gas market.

″[Suppliers are] caught between this rapture of the rising energy price wholesale market and the default tariff cap, and depending on who you believe, this is anywhere up to £200, £250 [$273, $341] below what a market-related cost would be at the moment, so that’s 20% of the total bill,” he said, referring to a cap on consumer energy prices in Britain. “That’s -20% of gross margins. Very few [companies] can sustain that for any length of time.”

Meanwhile, Bill Bullen, founder of U.K. supplier Utilita Energy, warned that surging wholesale prices would inevitably lead to more insolvencies in the energy sector.

“We’re heading back to an oligopoly at this rate and going backwards,” he said in an email Monday.

According to a report from Cornwall Insight, in the fourth quarter of 2010, the six largest energy firms supplied 99.5% of the domestic energy market in the U.K. By the second quarter of 2021, that figure had fallen to 69.1%.

“I wonder how it will look at the end of Q3 2021,” Bullen said.

Start-up Bulb, the country’s sixth-largest supplier, is seeking a bailout, while four smaller competitors recently ceased trading, the BBC reported.

According to industry body OGUK, wholesale energy prices have surged with a 70% rise since August alone. “OGUK predicts that UK North Sea output will roughly halve by 2027 unless new fields are opened, making the U.K. even more reliant on imports,” Will Webster, the organization’s energy policy manager, told CNBC via email.

A spokesperson for British energy regulator Ofgem told CNBC in an emailed statement, “This is a global issue … Ofgem is working closely with government to manage the wider implications of the global gas price increase.”

                         Political fallout

Governments are keen to take action to stop the crisis hitting consumers too hard.

The British government is considering bailout loans for energy suppliers, according to local media reports. Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng met with British energy companies on Monday, in what he said was an effort to “ensure that any energy supplier failures cause the least amount of disruption for consumers.”

Seeking to reassure the public Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the pricing crisis as “temporary,” Bloomberg reported.

The U.K. has limits on how much suppliers are able to charge consumers for energy, with price caps reviewed by the government every six months.

In a note Monday, Eurasia Group warned the Continent’s soaring energy prices were also beginning to have political ramifications across the wider region.

Spain’s government released a decree this week to cap retail energy prices. Eurasia analysts speculated that if more EU member states imitate Spain, prioritizing cheap energy above the green transition, the EU’s credibility as a climate leader could be damaged.

“If Madrid’s actions find imitators across the EU this winter, the bloc’s efforts to push for more ambitious climate action at the upcoming global talks in November may suffer,” they said in Monday’s note.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Unione Europea

Blocco Europeo. 2021Q2. Pil -2.5%, occupati -2.1 milioni, comparati con 2019Q4.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-11.

2021-09-08__ Eurostat Pil 001

Molto correttamente, Eurostat riporta le variazioni percentuali sul trimestre precedente.

Infatti, il 2020Q2 fu particolarmente depresso, per cui il rapporto 2021Q2/2020Q2 risulta essere abnormemente elevato, inaffidabile.

Sempre molto correttamente, Eurostat paragona questi macrodati con quelli del 2019Q4, ultimo trimestre prima della crisi pandemica.

«Based on seasonally adjusted figures, GDP volumes were 2.5% and 2.2% below their highest level of the fourth quarter 2019 for the euro area and EU. For the United States, GDP was 0.8% higher than the level of the fourth quarter 2019»

«employment in persons was 2.1 million in the euro area and 2.0 million in the EU below the level of the fourth quarter of 2019»

* * * * * * *


Eurostat ha rilasciato il Report GDP up by 2.2% and employment up by 0.7% in the euro area. In the EU, GDP up by 2.1% and employment up by 0.7%

                         GDP growth in the euro area and the EU

In the second quarter of 2021, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 2.2% in the euro area and by 2.1% in the EU compared with the previous quarter, according to an estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2021, GDP had declined by 0.3% in the euro area and 0.1% in the EU.  

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 14.3% in the euro area and by 13.8% in the EU in the second quarter of 2021, after -1.2% in both zones in the previous quarter.

During the second quarter of 2021, GDP in the United States increased by 1.6% compared with the previous quarter (after +1.5% in the first quarter of 2021). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP increased by 12.2% (after +0.5% in the previous quarter).

                         GDP growth by Member State

Ireland (+6.3%) recorded the sharpest increase of GDP compared to the previous quarter, followed by Portugal (+4.9%), Latvia (+4.4%) and Estonia (+4.3%). Declines were observed in Malta (-0.5%) and Croatia (-0.2%).

                         GDP components and contributions to growth

During the second quarter of 2021, household final consumption expenditure increased by 3.7% in the euro area and by 3.5% in the EU (after -2.1% in the euro area and -1.7% in the EU in the previous quarter). Government final consumption expenditure increased by 1.2% in both zones (after -0.5% both in the previous quarter). Gross fixed capital formation increased by 1.1% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU (after -0.2% and +0.3% respectively). Exports increased by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.8% the EU (after +0.7% in both areas). Imports increased by 2.3% in the euro area and by 2.2% in the EU (after +0.4% and +0.6%).

Household final consumption expenditure had strong positive contributions to GDP growth in both the euro area and the EU (+1.9 and +1.7 percentage points – pp, respectively). The contributions from government final expenditure (+0.3 pp in both zones) and gross fixed capital formation (+0.2 pp in both zones) were also positive. The contribution from the external balance was close to neutral for both zones, while the contribution from changes in inventories was slightly negative for the euro area and neutral for the EU.

                         GDP levels in the euro area and EU

Based on seasonally adjusted figures, GDP volumes were 2.5% and 2.2% below their highest level of the fourth quarter 2019 for the euro area and EU. For the United States, GDP was 0.8% higher than the level of the fourth quarter 2019.

                         Employment growth in the euro area and EU

The number of employed persons increased by 0.7% in both the euro area and in the EU in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, employment had decreased by 0.2% in both the euro area and the EU.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment increased by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU in the second quarter of 2021, after -1.8% and -1.6% respectively in the first quarter of 2021.

Hours worked increased by 2.7% in the euro area and by 2.4% in the EU in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the previous quarter. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year the increases were 17.0% in the euro area and 14.7% in the EU (see annex table on employment in hours worked).

These data provide a picture of labour input consistent with the output and income measure of national accounts.

                         Employment growth in Member States

In the second quarter of 2021, Latvia (+5.7%), Greece (+2.8%), Denmark and Portugal (both +1.9%) recorded the highest growth of employment in persons compared with the previous quarter. Decreases were observed in Estonia (-1.1%) and Spain (-0.9%).

                         Employment levels in the euro area and EU

Based on seasonally adjusted figures, Eurostat estimates that in the second quarter of 2021, 207.5 million people were employed in the EU, of which 159.0 million were in the euro area.

In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in persons was 2.1 million in the euro area and 2.0 million in the EU below the level of the fourth quarter of 2019.

                         Evolution of labour productivity in the euro area and EU

The combination of GDP and employment data allows an estimation of labour productivity. The analysis of growth compared to the same quarter of the previous year shows that productivity growth (based on employed persons) fluctuated around 1% for both zones between 2013 and 2018.

In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, productivity based on persons increased compared to the same quarter of the previous year with 12.2% for the euro area and 11.6% for the EU.

Based on hours worked, productivity compared to the same quarter of the previous year decreased by 1.5% for the euro area and increased by 0.3% for the EU.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Commercio, Economia e Produzione Industriale

Cina. Agosto21. Esportazioni salite del 25.6% su agosto20. Per fortuna era ‘male in arnese’.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-09.

2021-09-07__ Cina Export 001

Così, il sistema economico cinese, dato dai media occidentali come agonizzante, ha segnato in agosto un Export del +25.6% ed un Import del +33.1%, confrontati con i valori rilevati nell’agosto 2020. Il saldo della bilancia commerciale è stato 58.3 miliardi Usd, per un valore annualizzato di 699.6 miliardi Usd.

I media occidentali sono esterrefatti, e si consolano dicendo che ” economic momentum has weakened”.

Ci si dimentica che per esportare occorre prima produrre, e che si importa ciò che poi dovrà essere lavorato.

Eppure, i rialzi dei costi delle materie prime ci sono anche per i cinesi.

* * * * * * *

«China’s August exports growth unexpectedly picks up speed in boost to economy»

«China staged an impressive recovery from a coronavirus-battered slump, but economic momentum has weakened recently due to Covid-19 outbreaks, high raw material prices and slowing exports»

«Shipments from the world’s biggest exporter in August rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 25.6% from a year earlier, from a 19.3.% gain in July»

«Exports from neighboring countries also showed encouraging growth last month, with South Korean shipments accelerating on strong overseas demand»

«Shipments from the world’s biggest exporter in August rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 25.6% from a year earlier, from a 19.3.% gain in July, pointing to some resilience in China’s industrial sector»

«→→ Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast growth of 17.1% ←←»

«August exports showed that despite a higher base for comparison from last year, the ongoing global recovery will not be impeded, and the impact from the resurgence in the Covid-19 pandemic remains limited»

«Export growth of machineries and hi-tech products stayed high»

«Exports from neighboring countries also showed encouraging growth last month, with South Korean shipments accelerating on strong overseas demand»

«China’s exports may sustain its strong growth into the fourth quarter, with overseas demand for Chinese goods over the Christmas season possibly exceeding expectations»

«the main constraint facing China’s exports right now is the very stretched international shipping capacity»

«A global semiconductor shortage has added to the strains on exporters»

«Imports increased 33.1% year-on-year in August»

«China’s trade surplus with the United States rose to $37.68 billion from $35.4 billion in July»

* * * * * * *

Nella foga verbale della guerra economica che gli Stati Uniti hanno intrapreso verso la Cina, accusandola di ogni possibile cosa che sia nefandezza ai loro occhi e sistematicamente sminuendone le capacità del sistema produttivo cinese, alla fine anche i liberal democratici sono obbligati a confrontarsi con numeri impietosi.

Europa. La stagflazione è in casa per rimanervi. Se ne pigli atto.

Europa. Luglio21. PPI, industrial producer prices, +12.2% su Luglio 2020. Inflazione a due cifre.

Usa. Nonfarm Payrolls 253,000. La débâcle economica di Joe Biden.

* * *

Una ultima considerazione.

Quale credibilità potrebbe ancora essere riposta negli ‘economisti’ occidentali che sbagliano in modo così vistoso le previsioni che fanno?

Si sono screditati con le loro stesse mani e con i loro fantasiosi giudizi surreali.

Gran brutto segno clinico il pensiero reso coatto dalla ideologia. Ha prognosi infausta.

*


China’s August exports growth unexpectedly picks up speed in boost to economy

– China staged an impressive recovery from a coronavirus-battered slump, but economic momentum has weakened recently due to Covid-19 outbreaks, high raw material prices and slowing exports.

– Shipments from the world’s biggest exporter in August rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 25.6% from a year earlier, from a 19.3.% gain in July.

– Exports from neighboring countries also showed encouraging growth last month, with South Korean shipments accelerating on strong overseas demand.

* * *

China’s exports unexpectedly grew at a faster pace in August thanks to solid global demand, helping take some of the pressure off the world’s second-biggest economy as it navigates its way through headwinds from several fronts.

China staged an impressive recovery from a coronavirus-battered slump, but economic momentum has weakened recently due to the delta variant-driven Covid-19 outbreaks, high raw material prices, slowing exports, tighter measures to tame hot property prices and a campaign to reduce carbon emissions.

Shipments from the world’s biggest exporter in August rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 25.6% from a year earlier, from a 19.3.% gain in July, pointing to some resilience in China’s industrial sector.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast growth of 17.1%.

“August exports showed that despite a higher base for comparison from last year, the ongoing global recovery will not be impeded, and the impact from the resurgence in the Covid-19 pandemic remains limited,” said Ji Chunhua, Senior Vice President of Research at Zhongtai International.

Export growth of machineries and hi-tech products stayed high in August, Ji said.

Exports from neighboring countries also showed encouraging growth last month, with South Korean shipments accelerating on strong overseas demand.

Some of the port gridlock also appears to have cleared in a boost to China’s shippers last month.

The eastern coastal ports have suffered congestion as a terminal at the country’s second biggest container port shut down for two weeks due to a Covid-19 case. That put further pressure on global supply chains already struggling with a shortage of container vessels and high raw material prices.

Zhang Yi, Beijing-based economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management, said China’s exports may sustain its strong growth into the fourth quarter, with overseas demand for Chinese goods over the Christmas season possibly exceeding expectations.

“We believe the main constraint facing China’s exports right now is the very stretched international shipping capacity.”

However, behind the robust headline figures, businesses are struggling on the ground. Companies faced increasing pressure in August as factory activity expanded at a slower pace while the services sector slumped into contraction. A global semiconductor shortage has added to the strains on exporters.

Imports increased 33.1% year-on-year in August, beating an expected 26.8% gain in the Reuters poll, buoyed by still high prices. That compared with 28.1% growth in the previous month.

China posted a trade surplus of $58.34 billion in August, versus the poll’s forecast for a $51.05 billion surplus and $56.58 billion in July.

Many analysts expect the central bank to deliver a further cut to the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves later this year to lift growth, on top of

July’s cut which released around 1 trillion yuan ($6.47 trillion) in long-term liquidity into the economy.

The country appears to have largely contained the latest coronavirus outbreaks of the more infectious delta variant, but it prompted measures including mass testing for millions of people as well as travel restrictions of varying degrees in August.

China’s trade surplus with the United States rose to $37.68 billion from $35.4 billion in July, Reuters calculations based on the customs data showed.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Materie Prime

Acciaio. Ferro estrattivo +40.38% ed acciaio +29.34%, anno su anno. Inflazione.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-07-23.

2021-07-20__ Steel 001

«Shanghai steel futures recovered to above 5,400 yuan a tonne, the highest since May 18th after latest data showed China’s crude steel output rose by 11.8% from a year earlier in the first half of the year. China pledged to limit crude steel output in 2021 at no higher than the 1.065 billion tonnes it made last year but at the half-way stage of the year, the country has already produced 563.33 million tonnes of the metal. Considering only June, production went up 1.5% year-on-year but declined 5.6% from a record level in May as government environmental controls ahead of the Communist Party’s centenary celebrations in July constrained production. The steel market has been under pressure due to China’s efforts to limit soaring commodity prices after cost of steel rallied to an all-time high of 5,975 yuan per tonne on May 11th.

Steel Rebar is mostly traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange and London Metal Exchange. The standard future contract is 10 tons. Steel is one of the world’s most important materials used in construction, cars and all sorts of machines and appliances. By far the biggest producer of crude steel is China, followed by European Union, Japan, United States, India, Russia and South Korea. The steel prices displayed in Trading Economics are based on over-the-counter (OTC) and contract for difference (CFD) financial instruments.» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *

«Roaring industrial demand is propelling those rallies, with plants straining to boost supply after lying dormant during the pandemic.»

«On top of that, powerhouses China and Russia are trying to limit exports to help other industries at home»

«That optimism is a far cry from the past decade, when Western makers closed plants and shed workers as low demand had their mills operating below capacity»

«Last year alone, 72 blast furnaces were idled, according to UBS Group AG»

«→→ This year, U.S. President Joe Biden wants to spend on infrastructure, and the European Union wants to spend on reaching net-zero emissions ←←»

«The West’s top steelmaker ArcelorMittal is set for blockbuster earning»

«We could see a turnaround story there because those economies just need their steel»

«Developments in China are key, given it produces more than half of the world’s steel, mostly with coal-fired blast furnaces»

«Still, other Asian nations are looking to fill any potential gaps in supply»

«Biden is determined to make new roads, rail and housing the hallmark of his tenure, while the EU is emphasizing clean energy as part of the coronavirus recovery package and Green Deal»

«And even as demand rises, Western producers aren’t keen on expanding»

«Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., the second largest U.S. steelmaker, is set to tear down its Ashland mill in Kentucky, as well as a blast furnace at Indiana Harbor West»

«If anything, more support is on the way. The EU eventually will impose duties on imported steel as part of its Green Deal, and those will fall most heavily on carbon-intensive producers such as Russia»

«India is set to boost capacity, with top producer JSW Group saying it will reach its goal of more than doubling capacity to 45 million tons before 2030»

«Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, plans to add another 60 million tons by the end of this decade»

«We need bricks, we need cement, we need steel»

* * * * * * *

Messi i dazi sull’acciaio inossidabile da Cina, Indonesia e Taiwan.

Cina. Innalzati i dazi sui tubi di acciaio EU ed USA.

Acciaio. Primo Trimestre. Mondo -1.4%, Italia -40.2%.

China iron ore surges over 50% in 2020, up for second straight year.

Cina. Acciaio +54%, +23% nel quarto trimestre. Unione Europea -30%.

USA. Acciaio. Prezzi schizzati a 1,350 Usd per tonnellata, +33% in un mese.

Thyssenkrupp-Manager besorgt “Wir haben einen Stahlengpass in Europa”

Unione Europea. Mancano 20 milioni di tonnellate di acciaio in un anno.

* * * * * * *

In un anno il prezzo medio del ferro estrattivo è salito del 40.38% e quello dell’acciaio del 29.34%.

La produzione si è spostata nei paesi che non hanno preclusioni ideologiche: Cina, Russia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia.

Ed il risultato finale è che l’occidente soffre di una severa carenza di acciaio, pur pagandolo a caro prezzo.

Non esiste produzione industriale senza acciaio. Ma non è detto che i produttori vogliano venderlo, specie poi a quanti vorrebbero condannarli perché non si sottomettono alla loro ideologia.

Di conseguenza, ed è un ben triste ritornello di questi tempi, salgono i costi di produzione industriale e, quindi, i prezzi al dettaglio.

Tutto concorre ad alimentare un processo inflattivo, di fronte al quale le banche centrali possono fare poco o nulla.

Adesso, il debito junk rende meno della inflazione.

La conclusione è purtroppo molto semplice.

*


Record Steel Prices Inject Life Into Long-Suffering Industry

There’s rarely been a better time to be in the steel business.

Prices have boomed worldwide this year, smashing record after record. Roaring industrial demand is propelling those rallies, with plants straining to boost supply after lying dormant during the pandemic. On top of that, powerhouses China and Russia are trying to limit exports to help other industries at home.

“If you’d asked me six months ago what was my most positive vision for the first half of 2021, I don’t think I would’ve even come close to the reality,” Carlo Beltrame, who manages Romania and France for AFV Beltrame, said in a phone interview. The closely-held company plans to build a 250 million-euro ($295 million) mill in Romania with the capacity to produce about 600,000 tons a year.

That optimism is a far cry from the past decade, when Western makers closed plants and shed workers as low demand had their mills operating below capacity. Last year alone, 72 blast furnaces were idled, according to UBS Group AG.

This year, U.S. President Joe Biden wants to spend on infrastructure, and the European Union wants to spend on reaching net-zero emissions. Manufacturers such as Nucor Corp., U.S. Steel Corp. and SSAB AB are among those set to become profit machines. ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s biggest outside of China, will earn more than McDonald’s Corp. or PepsiCo Inc., according to analysts’ estimates.

                         Profit Machine

The West’s top steelmaker ArcelorMittal is set for blockbuster earnings

Few expect these good times to last through 2022. Keybanc Capital Markets and Bank of America Corp. believe the backlogs driving a surge in U.S. steel prices will start clearing this year. But some analysts predict the current rally may herald better times in the long run, with prices eventually settling at more sustainable levels than before.

“The steel industries outside of China will potentially enter a renaissance period,” said Tom Price, head of commodities strategy at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London. “We could see a turnaround story there because those economies just need their steel.”

Developments in China are key, given it produces more than half of the world’s steel, mostly with coal-fired blast furnaces. The government has signaled it no longer wants to bear the huge environmental burden that entails, so it’s seeking to curb production through measures such as firming up guidance on capacity swaps and removing export tax rebates.

“Restrictions almost certainly will come into place,” said Tomas Gutierrez, Asia editor and head of data for Kallanish Commodities Ltd. “Steelmakers overseas can sleep a little easier.”

Achieving the government’s goal will be a challenge given China’s strong output at the start of the year, said Lu Ting, senior analyst at researcher Shanghai Metals Market. Still, other Asian nations are looking to fill any potential gaps in supply.

Also providing cause for optimism is the renewed focus on stimulus and infrastructure in the U.S. and Europe. Biden is determined to make new roads, rail and housing the hallmark of his tenure, while the EU is emphasizing clean energy as part of the coronavirus recovery package and Green Deal.

That requires steel, and lots of it. Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan would increase annual demand by about 5 million tons for the first five years, London-based consultancy CRU Group estimated. A bipartisan package would spend $579 billion if approved.

Yet only 4.6 million annual tons of planned capacity are expected to come online in the U.S. by the end of 2022, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Andrew Cosgrove said.

And even as demand rises, Western producers aren’t keen on expanding. U.S. Steel Chief Executive Officer David Burritt told shareholders in April the company had no plans to restart two blast furnaces that were shut down last year.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., the second largest U.S. steelmaker, is set to tear down its Ashland mill in Kentucky, as well as a blast furnace at Indiana Harbor West. CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in April those will never return to production as his focus is paying down debt.

European producers are almost as skittish about investing in new capacity after spending the past decade painfully cutting down. ArcelorMittal said during earnings calls that its priority is shareholder returns.

In part, that’s due to fears that protectionist measures governments implemented to support their ailing steel companies won’t last forever.

But there’s no signs of change on that front, even with sky-high prices. Biden still hasn’t repealed tariffs on foreign steel imposed by former President Donald Trump, while the EU last month opted to extend its safeguard measures for another three years.

If anything, more support is on the way. The EU eventually will impose duties on imported steel as part of its Green Deal, and those will fall most heavily on carbon-intensive producers such as Russia.

Other nations also could fill the gap created by China’s restrictive measures. India is set to boost capacity, with top producer JSW Group saying it will reach its goal of more than doubling capacity to 45 million tons before 2030. Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, plans to add another 60 million tons by the end of this decade, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie.

AFV Beltrame could start building its rebar and wire rod factory in Romania as early as this year. The plant will generate the lowest emissions in a steel production unit in the world, the company says.

“I’m trusting that this super cycle will last for some more months,” Carlo Beltrame said. “We need bricks, we need cement, we need steel. And we as entrepreneurs have to take the challenge of transforming this industry.”

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici

Carbone. Dai 46.9$ per tonnellata a settembre agli attuali 148.6$.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-07-20.

2021-07-20__ Coal 001

«Coal futures surged to almost $150 a tonne in July»

«Coal is the major fuel used for generating electricity worldwide»

«The biggest producer and consumer of coal is China»

«China’s biggest industrial provinces has pushed the electricity consumption to unprecedented levels»

«Other big producers include: United States, India, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Germany and Poland»

«The biggest exporters of coal are: Indonesia, Australia, Russia, United States, Colombia, South Africa and Kazakhstan»

«The coal prices have risen almost 40% since the beginning of May as warmer weather boosted demand in Japan, South Korea, and the United States, and production declined in Indonesia and Australia due to flooding»

* * * * * * *

Checché ne pensino e ne dicano i liberal socialisti, al momento attuale a livello mondiale il carbone è la principale fonte energetica con la quale genere corrente elettrica.

In un anno i prezzi del carbone sono quadruplicati, ripercuotendosi pesantemente sui costi di produzione della corrente elettrica. Ma questi maggiori costi si riverberano su quelli della produzione e, quindi, sui costi al consumo.

In poche parole, i rincari del costo del carbone sono significativa concausa dell’incremento della inflazione.

*


«Coal.

Coal futures surged to almost $150 a tonne in July, the highest level in a decade as a heat wave in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong, China’s biggest industrial provinces has pushed the electricity consumption to unprecedented levels. Meanwhile, local supply remains limited as drought knocked hydropower generation in Yunnan province, output restrictions remain in place in Shanxi production hubs amid tighter safety inspections and environmental curbs, and as a trade spat with Australia has crimped imports. The coal prices have risen almost 40% since the beginning of May as warmer weather boosted demand in Japan, South Korea, and the United States, and production declined in Indonesia and Australia due to flooding.

Coal futures are available for trading in the Intercontinental Exchange and on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The standard GC Newcastle contact listed on ICE weights 1,000 metric tonnes. Coal is the major fuel used for generating electricity worldwide. The biggest producer and consumer of coal is China. Other big producers include: United States, India, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Germany and Poland. The biggest exporters of coal are: Indonesia, Australia, Russia, United States, Colombia, South Africa and Kazakhstan. Coal prices displayed in Trading Economics are based on over-the-counter (OTC) and contract for difference (CFD) financial instruments. Our coal prices are intended to provide you with a reference only, rather than as a basis for making trading decisions. Trading Economics does not verify any data and disclaims any obligation to do so.» [Fonte]

Pubblicato in: Brasile

Brasile. Bolsonaro. Ricoverato, ma con polls favorevoli al rinnovo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-07-18.

Brasile. Minas Gerais 002

«For the first time, a clear majority of Brazilians think the country’s coronavirus pandemic is no longer “out of control”»

«in what could be a boost for President Jair Bolsonaro, who is almost certain to seek re-election next year»

«Bolsonaro has seen his polls numbers sag due to his handling of the world’s second deadliest outbreak, in which over half a million Brazilians have died from the virus, second only to the United States»

«Bolsonaro, who is currently hospitalized and could face emergency surgery due to complications from a 2018 stabbing»

«According to the poll, 53% of Brazilians now think the pandemic is “partly under control” while an additional 5% think it is “totally under control”»

«41% of Brazilians polled think the pandemic is still “out of control,” down from a high of 79% in mid-March»

«Black Brazilians are the most likely to say that the pandemic is “out of control,” with 52% choosing that option, compared with 38% of white Brazilians»

«Coronavirus deaths in Brazil have been steadily falling since April from a record high of over 4,000 in one day. On Wednesday, Brazil reported 1,556 deaths»

«Over 42% of Brazilians have received at least one dose, while just over 15% are fully vaccinated»

* * * * * * *

Brasile. Elezioni politiche. Bolsonaro sembrerebbe essere favorito.

Brasile. Il sistema economico sembrerebbe essere in netta ripresa.

Brasile. Adesso è il terzo fornitore della Cina di petrolio.

Brasile. Bolsonaro nomina Kassio Nunes alla Suprema Corte.

Brasile. Bolsonaro sale molto nei sondaggi. Liberal angustiati e tormentati.

Brasile. Jair Bolsonaro. Datafolha. Popolarità mai così alta al 37%, Consenso 47%.

Brasile. Giugno. PMI in crescita, ma ancora in fascia di contrazione.

Brasile. Archiviati decenni di socialismo si avvia alla rinascita economia.

* * * * * * *

«This is the beginning of Brazil’s liberation from socialism, political correctness and a bloated state»

*

Sarebbe a nostro sommesso parere del tutto prematuro parlare dei prognostici per le elezioni politiche del prossimo anno in Brasile.

Prendiamo atto come Mr Bolsonaro debba subire un nuovo intervento chirurgico addominale, a seguito del tentato omicidio cui fu oggetto nel corso delle passate elezioni.

I liberal democratici lo odiano perché non si piega ai loro voleri, ed anche perché è sopravvissuto all’attentato.

*


In boost for Bolsonaro, most Brazilians say pandemic is under control, poll shows

SAO PAULO, July 15 (Reuters) – For the first time, a clear majority of Brazilians think the country’s coronavirus pandemic is no longer “out of control,” a Datafolha poll published on Thursday showed, in what could be a boost for President Jair Bolsonaro, who is almost certain to seek re-election next year.

Bolsonaro has seen his polls numbers sag due to his handling of the world’s second deadliest outbreak, in which over half a million Brazilians have died from the virus, second only to the United States.

Bolsonaro, who is currently hospitalized and could face emergency surgery due to complications from a 2018 stabbing, has been criticized for minimizing the severity of the disease, being slow to acquire vaccines, shunning lockdowns and pushing unproven miracle cures.

According to the poll, 53% of Brazilians now think the pandemic is “partly under control” while an additional 5% think it is “totally under control.”

Meanwhile, 41% of Brazilians polled think the pandemic is still “out of control,” down from a high of 79% in mid-March.

Black Brazilians are the most likely to say that the pandemic is “out of control,” with 52% choosing that option, compared with 38% of white Brazilians.

Coronavirus deaths in Brazil have been steadily falling since April from a record high of over 4,000 in one day. On Wednesday, Brazil reported 1,556 deaths.

The results of the survey suggest that Brazilians believe the government’s vaccination drive, which was widely criticized for its slow and patchy rollout, is beginning to yield results.

Over 42% of Brazilians have received at least one dose, while just over 15% are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

The Datafolha poll was carried out July 7 and 8 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Militare, Russia

Russia. Controllo militare dell’Artico. Le basi sono più importanti delle parole.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-06-13.

Franz Josef Land 001

Il controllo militare, economico e politico dell’Oceano Artico è diventato terreno di confronto tra le grandi potenze.

2021-05-23__ Franz Josef Land 002

Tra le pochissime isole, la Franz Josef Land è l’arcipelago più a nord di tutto il continente: il suo possesso è quindi vitale, sia come punto avanzato di avvistamento radar, sia come base missilistica  di interdizione a missili, aeroplani e navi.

«Franz Josef Land archipelago is the closest land to the North Pole in the eastern hemisphere (about 870 km to the North Pole).

It has been discovered in 1873 by the Austrian – Hungarian “Tegetthoff” expedition, under the leadership of Carl Weyprecht, who named the islands after Emperor Franz Joseph I.

The extremely northern position of the islands attracted expeditions of the pioneer age (late 19th – early 20th century), which usually saw Franz Josef Land as a useful advanced base for attempts to reach the North Pole.

The archipelago was more fully explored by expeditions such as one led by Nansen (who spent the winter of 1895–96 in Franz Josef Land).

In 1926 the islands were taken over by the Soviet Union, for research and military purposes; many of the Russian Polar stations are now abandoned, and the whole archipelago is given back to the wildlife. Polar Bears, walruses, arctic foxes, belugas and whales, and lots of Arctic birds.

Nowadays it is one of rare ‘wild’ places left on Earth – it is unpopulated except for one permanent Russian base.

The archipelago consists of 191 islands, mostly covered with a permanent ice cap. Islands of volcanic origin, including Alexandra Land, Prince George Land, Bell Island, Hooker Island, Prince Rudolf Island, Hall island…» [Ultima0thule]

* * * * * * *

2021-05-23__ Franz Josef Land Saint Nicholas Church 001


«Now Franz Josef Land is home to a Russian military base and the source of added tension in relations with the West»

«The US has once again accused Moscow of “militarising” the Arctic and the head of Russia’s Northern Fleet has told the BBC that Nato and US military activity in the region is “definitely” provocative and on a scale not seen since World War Two»

«The airfield has been upgraded to allow all kinds of planes to land all year round, though emerging on to the tarmac was like stepping on an ice rink»

«Less than 960km (600 miles) below the North Pole, conditions are extreme, with deep snowdrifts and blizzards even in mid-May»

«Even the structure of the base is meant to make a statement: it’s painted in the colours of the Russian flag, bright against the blank canvas all around»

«Known as Arctic Trefoil for its three-leaved shape, the base is the second of its kind in the Arctic – this one is meant for 150 soldiers.»

«But the main show is outside, where Bastion missile launchers raise and lower their firing mechanisms as a soldier in white camouflage stands guard, gun across his chest»

«The missile systems are “to destroy enemy ships”»

«The Northern Fleet put on a far greater show of strength earlier this year when three nuclear submarines smashed through the ice simultaneously, a manoeuvre never seen before»

«Such posturing is making the United States and Nato wary as Russia’s military presence in the region expands to a level not seen since the Cold War»

«we were bussed to a battlecruiser moored in the closed military town of Severomorsk. At 252 metres long, the nuclear-powered Peter the Great is the giant grey flagship of the Northern Fleet.»

«We see such activity as provocative so close to the Russian border where we have very important assets. By that, I mean nuclear forces»

«As the polar ice melts, removing a protective natural curtain, Russia’s long northern frontier will become vulnerable»

«Trade would include exports of the large oil and gas reserves beneath the sea here»

Nota.

Pyotr Velikiy è il nome russo dell’incrociatore atomico Pietro il Grande.

* * * * * * *

Aver costruito, tenuto in manutenzione ed in ottima efficienza bellica una sofisticata base militare in una zona dal clima così avverso significa aver messo a punto una congerie inenarrabile di mezzi: dagli abiti da indossare, a sistemi di arma operativi anche a -50°C, missili e rampe di lancio mobili atte a lavorare a quelle temperature. Per non menzionare anche i mezzi più umili ma indispensabili, quali i lubrificanti che non congelino.

Le beghe legali lascerebbero alquanto sorridenti: le armi comandano.

*


Russia flexes muscles in challenge for Arctic control.

Now Franz Josef Land is home to a Russian military base and the source of added tension in relations with the West.

The US has once again accused Moscow of “militarising” the Arctic and the head of Russia’s Northern Fleet has told the BBC that Nato and US military activity in the region is “definitely” provocative and on a scale not seen since World War Two.

                         Making the Arctic a priority for Russia

We were among the first foreign journalists taken to visit the facility on Alexandra Island, over two hours’ flight from Murmansk up over the Arctic.

The airfield has been upgraded to allow all kinds of planes to land all year round, though emerging on to the tarmac was like stepping on an ice rink.

Less than 960km (600 miles) below the North Pole, conditions are extreme, with deep snowdrifts and blizzards even in mid-May. For a while, rattling along in a military truck, I could make out nothing but white through the window.

In deepest winter the temperature drops to minus 50 degrees C and the soldiers occasionally have to head out in their vehicles to disperse the polar bears who amble right up to the base.

                         ‘Like a space station’

Even the structure of the base is meant to make a statement: it’s painted in the colours of the Russian flag, bright against the blank canvas all around.

Known as Arctic Trefoil for its three-leaved shape, the base is the second of its kind in the Arctic – this one is meant for 150 soldiers.

Ahead of a tour, the commander in charge said it was so high-tech and ecologically efficient it was “like a space station, just in the Arctic emptiness instead of in orbit”.

But the main show is outside, where Bastion missile launchers raise and lower their firing mechanisms as a soldier in white camouflage stands guard, gun across his chest.

The missile systems are “to destroy enemy ships,” another soldier said. They are “effective”, he informed us.

The Northern Fleet put on a far greater show of strength earlier this year when three nuclear submarines smashed through the ice simultaneously, a manoeuvre never seen before. On the same Arctic exercises, two fighter jets flew over the North Pole, refuelling in mid-air.

Such posturing is making the United States and Nato wary as Russia’s military presence in the region expands to a level not seen since the Cold War.

Nato’s spokeswoman confirmed that the alliance had stepped up its patrols and exercises, in response, she said, to a “more challenging security environment”.

                         Blaming Nato for build-up

But Russia doesn’t see things that way.

Before we were flown to the archipelago, we were bussed to a battlecruiser moored in the closed military town of Severomorsk. At 252 metres long, the nuclear-powered Peter the Great is the giant grey flagship of the Northern Fleet.

On board, the Fleet’s commander, Adm Alexander Moiseyev, addressed us in front of a portrait of Peter I, the Tsar who founded Russia’s navy and turned the country towards the West.

But he accused Nato forces and the US of military actions in the Arctic that increased the risk of conflict.

“There haven’t been so many of their forces here for years. Decades. Not since World War Two,” Adm Moiseyev countered, when I put it to him that Nato blamed Russia for the surge in tension. “We see such activity as provocative so close to the Russian border where we have very important assets. By that, I mean nuclear forces.”

As for the Russian build-up, the troops are returning to a region Russia abandoned in the 1990s when the Soviet Union fell apart.

“We’re just recreating the capacity to protect our borders, not to threaten anyone,” argues Lev Voronkov, an Arctic expert from MGIMO university. “After the USSR collapsed, even border posts in that region were left unmanned.”

That won’t be an option for much longer. As the polar ice melts, removing a protective natural curtain, Russia’s long northern frontier will become vulnerable.

                         Land of opportunity

As the Bastion missile launchers danced for the cameras on Alexandra Island, I spotted a Russian ice-breaker cutting through the frozen landscape in the distance. A smaller cargo ship followed in its wake and an iceberg loomed behind both of them.

The vessels were crawling along the northern shipping route that skirts the archipelago and that Russia hopes to develop and control as global warming makes it easier to navigate. Trade would include exports of the large oil and gas reserves beneath the sea here.

Admiral Moiseyev calls his troops the “main instrument” for protecting those economic interests, as well as Russia’s borders.

As competition begins to heat up, our visit to Franz Josef Land was a chance for Russia to flex some muscle and send a message: that its ambitions for the Arctic are great and growing and they are interests it’s ready to defend.