US Nat'l Assoc of Realtors (NAR) November pending home sales data will be released Wednesday morning at 9:00 am CST. Analysts expect the month over month figure -0.5% from the previous month.
Libya's military reported today that armed men had planted explosives at the pipeline pipeline feeding Es Sider port. This pipeline carries approximately 90.000 barrels of oil daily to the port. The Forties pipeline that's been shutdown in U.K. is reportedly being tested and should start operations in early January. However, at this point, the combined loss from these two pipeline of approximately 550,000 barrels a day is for the time being friendly to oil prices. OPEC in a new assessment expects the oil market to get in balance in the first half of 2018, possibly the first quarter of the year. INEOS, the operator of the Forties pipeline, said they are partially restarting their Kinneil facility. Expect a very gradual increase in oil flow as they slowly and carefully bring the pipeline back on stream. If it weren't for the attack in Libya, the news of Kinneil coming back online would be taken as a bearish factor.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday called for Washington and Pyongyang to start negotiations, saying Russia was ready to facilitate such talks. He reiterated such again today. Standing in the way is President Trump's demand that Pyongyang must commit to giving up its nuclear weapons before any talks can begin. I'd rate the odds of this demand being met at zero. In the end, we'll likely end up speaking with North Korea without their giving up their nuclear arsenal. Another missile test however will make me change my mind. Unlike previous Presidency's I don't see President Trump throwing money at North Korea to "buy" suspension of Pyongyang's nuclear program. Rather, lifting of sanctions might be what President Trump brings to the table sometime down the road. If I read his Presidency right, he'll let others "buy" the peace if peace is to be had.
Here's something interesting concerning the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies. Reign Sapphire Corporation, a dealer in sapphires, announced that they will use blockchain technology to keep records of the attributes of each each sapphire they deal with including the color, carat, and certificate number. Blockchain technology is going to become a "norm" in many industries as once data about a product is entered, tracking the history of that product becomes easy. I see this usage possibly moving to many aspects of the stone and jewelry business.
There won't be a lot to write about in front of New Year's Eve. I will do my best to keep my comments to the point.