German government cancels contract with America's number two wireless services provider Verizan (nyse:VZ) over allegations the NSA has unrestricted access to all information going through Verizon, regardless of how sensitive that information is. Germany is deeply concerned about "the ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms".
Germany versus USA: Who Wins ? Federal Gold Reserves Stay In NYAlso this month, the German government cancelled a previous request to repatriate Fed-held gold reserves, on account of the slow pace / doubts about their whereabouts still prevalent. The cancellation comes just 1.5 years into a 7 year plan that had called for the return of 87 tonnes per year (374 tonnes from Paris, 300 tonnes from New York), though Germany was getting it back at the rate of only 25 tonnes per year. What's more, The US Fed returned only five tonnes representing only 8% of what should have been returned.
Russia Replaces US Security Bond Reserves With Physical GoldOver the last three years Russia has dumped $50 billion in US securities, replacing dollars mainly with gold bars. In the month of May 2014 alone, Russia purchased 900 thousand ounces of gold ($1.17 billion) bringing its total gold holdings up to 35.5 million ounces (valued at $44.3 billion). The previous month of April was also a big month for purchases, had been the biggest month for gold purchases by the Russian central bank since 2010.
USA to export first shipment of oil in AugustOn June 25, 2014 the Obama administration signs bill lifting previous oil export ban; the ban had been in place to protect US oil supplies.
Over the last few years American oil output increased from 5.5 million to 8.0 million barrels per day, while at the same time US oil consumption fell from 20 million to 18.5 mbpd. Initially, exports will be limited to condensate from shale produced at Eagle Ford. Exports could reach 700,000 barrels per day by early next year. note: shale oil is light oil, making it easier to use in industry; for instance it can be used as aerospace fuel whereas heavy oil cannot.
China Buying Up LondonJust this week China Construction Bank paid £110 million for a 123 thousand ft2 seven story building at 111 Old Broad Street. The building will presumably be its headquarters in Europe and base for yuan clearing bank operations. This comes one week after China Life paid £795 million for 70% stake in a London office tower.
China Construction Bank is the second biggest bank in China after ICBC. It has an aggressive overseas expansion plan (in 2013 overseas assets up 40% to $120 billion).