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China Prepares To Launch Gold ETFs As Utah Becomes First State To Make Gold And Silver Legal Tender

May 23, 2011 Comments off

zerohedge

Following Friday’s news that China has now surpassed India as the world’s largest buyer of gold, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the country is trying to capitalize on the popular interest in the precious metal by transferring the trading infrastructure away from US to domestic capital markets. First, it recently launched a 1 kilo gold futures contract on the HK Merc in an obvious attempt to undermine the Comex monopoly in the space, and next it seems that China has the GLD plain in its sights, as it plans to start exchange-traded funds, tapping rising demand in China, the world’s biggest investment market for the precious metal. Often blamed for the recent volatility in the price of gold, precious metal ETFs have been primarily an instrument available to those with access to the US market. That appears to be ending, and with an entire nation suffering from gold fever (as inflation continues to be goalseeked by the China politburo above expectations in what appears to be a programmed attempt by the Chinese central planners to push its population into gold hoarding) and about to be offered a simple way of investing in (paper) gold, it is likely that the price of gold (and soon thereafter all other commodities) will see unprecedented spikes in price in either direction as millions more are given direct exposure to trading the non-dilutable currency equivalent.

From Bloomberg:

“There are some complexities, as the central bank is in charge of gold management, while we still need to go through the procedures for launching new exchange products,” Wang Zhe, chairman of the bourse, said at a Shanghai forum. There is no timetable and the exchange is working with regulators on the plan, Wang said. China is the world’s largest gold producer and second-largest in overall consumption.

China doesn’t have gold ETFs and investors usually choose to buy physical gold, or invest through contracts traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the Read more…

Minnesota to Test for Possible Driver’s Mileage Tax

April 21, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes.com

Minnesota is looking for people to test technology that could one day be used to collect fees based on driving mileage.

“This research will provide important feedback from motorists about the effectiveness of using technology in a car or truck to gather mileage information,” said Cory Johnson, project manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in a statement on Monday.

(Photo: REUTERS / Joshua Lott)
A traffic aide directs vehicles along the 3rd Avenue bridge across the Mississippi River during rush hour in Minneapolis, Minnesota August 2, 2007.

(Photo: REUTERS / Joshua Lott)
A traffic aide directs vehicles along the 3rd Avenue bridge across the Mississippi River during rush hour in Minneapolis, Minnesota August 2, 2007.
  
The department says it anticipates a fee on road use could same day be necessary as people switch to more fuel efficient cars and electric vehicles, reducing tax revenue from gasoline.

“We are researching alternative financing methods today that could be used 10 or 20 years from now when the number of fuel efficient and hybrid cars increase and no longer produce enough revenue from a gas tax to build and repair roads,” he said.

The Department said if implemented, motorists would pay a fee based on miles driven, rather than how much gasoline the vehicle uses, which is now the case in the state.

The department is seeking 500 people for the Minnesota Road Fee Test, which is set to start in July. Volunteers should be from the counties of Hennepin or Wright. They will be given a small stipend for their time, along with smartphones with a GPS application to allow them to submit information. The research will end by December 2012.

Participants needed will be a mix of rural and metro area travelers.

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U.S. braces for floods as Red River rises

April 8, 2011 Comments off

reuters.com

Movers this week pulled furniture from the lower level of the Sterns’ house and ripped out the carpet to reduce damage from seeping water as the Red River continued a rapid rise.

“Any spring there is anxiety,” Sherri Stern said on Thursday. “We didn’t expect to have water that we would have to start pumping this fast.”

The Red River swelled to within four feet of its forecasted crest at Fargo-Moorhead on Thursday as volunteers piled up sandbags. At the forecasted level, the Red River crest would be the third highest on record behind 2009 and 1997.

The flood has potential to force thousands of people from their homes in North Dakota and Minnesota based on past similar floods, but protection is better this year, said Cecily Fong, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

RED TO CREST SUNDAY AT FARGO

The Red, which forms the boundary between the two states, rose to 35.9 feet at Fargo- Read more…

NOAA: Another Spring of Major Flooding Likely in North Central U.S.

February 20, 2011 Comments off

North Central U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map as of Feb. 17, 2011.

North Central U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map as of Feb. 17, 2011.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

A large swath of the country is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring, from northeastern Montana through western Wisconsin following the Mississippi River south to St. Louis, National Weather Service flood experts are forecasting. Today the agency released an initial spring flood outlook for this high risk region and will release a national spring flood outlook on March 17.

For the third consecutive year, forecasters predict moderate to major flooding along the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota and includes the Souris River Basin and the Devils Lake and Stump Lake drainages in North Dakota.

If the current forecast holds, the main stem Mississippi River is at risk for Read more…