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November 9, 2015
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Bonhams, the auction house, is holding a scotch auction in New York on November 20th at beginning at 10:00am. A little early to drink in New York and London, but it is past 5:00pm in Hong Kong. – Smile!

Some really stunning bottles are being auctioned off including: –

Ardbeg Single Cask 1972
Distilled 27 Oct 1972, bottled 14 Oct 2004 by Ardbeg Distillery Limited.
Cask number 2780, Ping No. 1, bottle number 41 of 245. In presentation case. Good label. Level: into neck. 70 cl. Single malt, 51.4% volume

Footnote

There’ll be another scramble to Copenhagen when the world gets word of this one…sadly I didn’t get this until just after the last Bible went to press: as an October 2004 bottling this might have won Whisky of the Year, but we’ll never know! 51.4%. 245 bottles for Juuls Vinhande (Denmark). Rated 97. Jim Murray – Whisky Bible”

The Balvenie 50 Year Old 1952
In cask 26th January 1952, bottled 5th September 2002. Distilled & bottled by The Balvenie Distillery Company.
Cask 191. Bottle number 36 of 83. In wooden presentation case. Good label. Level: very top shoulder. 70 cl. Single malt, 45.1% volume

Bruichladdich 40 Year Old 1964
Distilled 22nd October 1964 by Bruichladdich Distillery.
Bottle number 152 of 550. Level: high shoulder. 700 ml. Single malt, 43.1% volume

The Macallan Millennium Decanter 50 Year Old 1949
Distilled January 1949, bottled August 1999 by The Macallan Distillers Ltd.
Caithness Glass, hand blown crystal decanter. In fitted wooden presentation case with copper-clad crystal stopper. Original shipping box. 700 ml. Single malt, 43% volume

Gary D’Urso, Bonhams, Specialist – Whisky, New York, United States

+1 917 206 1653
Fax: +1 212 644 9009
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August 9, 2015
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Farmland values rise…Albeit at a Slowing Rate…

The value of all U.S. farm real estate, a measure of the value of all land and buildings on farms, rose 2.4% from 2014 to an average value of $3,020 per acre, according to U.S. Department of Agricultural (“USDA”). The U.S. cropland value increased 0.7%, to $4,130 per acre from the previous year. Pastureland value increased 2.3%, to $1,330 per acre. The increase in farmland value actually represents a deceleration from the 8.1% growth rate reported in 2014, the slowest pace since 2010.

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Clearly since the financial crisis of 2008 the U.S. Government, the Federal Reserve, social activists and pundits have been preoccupied with the idea of “Too Big to Fail”. The U.S. government enacted the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 10, 2010. As described by President Obama, this Act to change the U.S. financial regulatory system (and impact the global financial system) would be a “sweeping overhaul of the United States financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression”.

The greatest impact of Dodd-Frank on the marketplace has been the destruction/elimination of entrepreneurial. Instead of controlling those financial entities that are “too big to fail”, Dodd-Frank has enhanced their size, power and market competitiveness as compared to smaller entities. The regulatory framework which Dodd-Frank has put in place has all but limited entrepreneurial development of financial institutions, such as start up hedge funds or new start-up banking/financial institutions, The Dodd-Frank Act has not only increased the likelihood that a large entity will need to be protected from failing, but also that its failure will have a significant and systemic impact as these entities have become even more pervasive throughout American society and the economy.

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August 3, 2015
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By: Charles Gave of GaveKal Research – Reprinted with Permission

I am afraid I am rapidly turning into Gavekal’s resident bear—asleep half the time, grumpy the rest. In particular, I am amazed how some people have suddenly discovered that world trade is going nowhere, and that they are so bamboozled by this strange pattern. Where exactly have they been for the last 15 years?

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July 8, 2015
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China’s stock market crisis is winding its way through small capitalized stocks of the Chinese equity markets. As the overall Chinese equity markets have imploded over the course of the past few weeks, the impact has not only been felt by investors, who represent the wealthier contingent of Chinese society, but the concern is that is will begin to impact other areas of Chinese business activity and international markets. The full impact of the decline in the Chinese equity market may yet to have been fully flushed through the system as many of these stocks are restricted by limit down daily movements or have had trading suspended. Market declines may continue to occur until the daily limit down movements and suspensions have normalized. At this point, the full impact of the market decline will be realized.

Impact of Market Decline: 

The Chinese government has been instituting controls to slow the impact of the decline in the small cap market. Since the decline has basically been limited among a small portion of Chinese investors as foreign investors have for the most part been invested in large capitalization issues, less impacted by the declines on a relative basis, the greatest impact appears to be market confidence/perception and the concern is its impact will lead to domestic and global contagion. The decline in the Chinese equity markets has increased global volatility and reduced the likelihood of a interest rate move by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

One may suspect that Chinese consumer confidence may suffer, causing higher end consumer markets to slow. In the commodity markets, the impact of the decline has been significant. Clearly, iron ore prices have reached the lows of 2009 and price of the oil market is off substantially from recent peaks.

Chinese Commodity Market Price Declines: – 

-Dalian iron ore:        -16.2% MTD, -29.5% YTD
-Shanghai steel rebar: -9.0% MTD; -25.9% YTD
-Shanghai copper:       -8.7% MTD, -13.8% YTD

A further economic slowdown of the Chinese juggernaut can be expected to have an impact on global shipping markets. It is difficult to determine if all of these impacts to the shipping markets will be negative. In the case of iron ore, shipping markets may see a slowdown in the immediacy of demand causes rates to fall from recent highs. In the case of oil, its fall may continue to cause rates to moderate, but until a slowdown in Middle East production occurs, shipping demand may buttress shipping rates. Whether this will impact the container market is debatable as the container market is more dependent on US demand and less of an impact caused by the Chinese equity markets. 

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