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Oil, silver, and gold climb on back of US dollar

Oil, silver, and gold climb on back of US dollar



US API Inventories lift oil prices

A weaker US dollar continued to put a floor on oil prices overnight, but it was the US API Crude Inventory data that propelled them higher. API Crude Inventories fell by a massive 8.60 million barrels, following on from last week’s 6.80 million falls. That lifted Brent crude by 1.1% to USD44.30 a barrel, and WTI by 1.70% to USD41.60 a barrel. Both contracts remain unchanged in another dull Asian session.

All eyes will now be on official US Crude Inventory data tonight, following its equally impressive 10.6 million-barrel fall last week. Crude Inventories are expected to fall by 3 million barrels tonight; however, the API data suggests it could be quite a lot more.

A much larger fall will all but confirm that US oil production has fallen materially, by possibly millions of barrels a day. That could be enough to overcome Covid-19 slowdown fears, and force oil prices higher, and out of their one-month summer doldrums.

I should emphasise though, that despite the moves higher overnight, both Brent crude and WTI remained firmly ensconced in their one-month ranges, as their long summer of love continues. Critical resistance remains at USD45.00 a barrel for Brent crude and USD42.70 a barrel for WTI. In WTI’s case, this is now also its 200-day moving average.

Only a strong close above these levels signals that oil’s bullish uptrend has recommenced. Until that is confirmed, possibly tonight, both contracts remain in range-trading mode. Traders should take care not to confuse hope with reality.


Gold and silver rally aggressively

As previously stated, gold broke USD2000 an ounce overnight, climbing to a new record high at 2020.00 an ounce. Silver, in the meantime, rose an even more impressive 7.0% to trade at USD26.0000 an ounce. Lower US yields and an ensuing weaker US dollar was all the cues markets needed to force both metals higher.

The bullish cash remains overwhelming for both metals, even at these lofty heights. US real yields continue to fall deeper into negative territory, with a slather of Covid-19 and Washington DC impasses thrown in for good measure.

Pullbacks are possible from here, quite possibly deep ones; especially if the dollar corrects higher on the currency markets versus the majors, as the charts suggest. Both precious metals, though, should find plenty of willing buyers on dips to USD1980.00 and USD24.0000 an ounce respectively.

Silver’s next upside technical targets are USD28.0000 and USD32.0000 an ounce. Gold is in uncharted territory, and so I will pick USD2100.00 an ounce as a nice round number. I am continuously asked how high gold can go; such is the target and data-driven world we live in now. That, to me, is a fool’s errand. Suffice to say; as I glance at the government deficits and the size of quantitative easings globally, my answer is that gold can go higher, much higher. Beware of the potentially emotional pullbacks within the longer-term trend, however. The next major stock market sell-off will test investors’ precious mettle (sic) for sure.

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Base network launches 8-week training course for blockchain developers

Base Bootcamp will offer students weekly meetings with a mentor, a dedicated Discord server, and access to Coinbase and Base engineers, the team stated.



Base Bootcamp will offer students weekly meetings with a mentor, a dedicated Discord server, and access to Coinbase and Base engineers, the team stated.

On October 20, the team behind Ethereum layer-2 Base network announced that it's launching an eight-week training course to turn traditional software developers into blockchain developers. Called “Base Bootcamp,” the new program doesn't cost anything to attend. However, it's designed for “mid to senior level Software Engineering individual contributors” and students must fill out an application and be accepted to enroll. Less than 20 students will be accepted into each “cohort” or class, and the team will stop accepting applications on October 27, the announcement stated.

In its announcement, Base claimed  the program is necessary because most software developers still do not know how to build Web3 apps. “Today, there are fewer than 30,000 onchain developers,” they stated, “compared to nearly 30 million software developers.” This implies that only 0.1% of software developers work in Web3.

The team released an online training program called “Base Camp” earlier in the year, which was open to anyone. But they decided that this wasn’t enough, as “keeping the momentum to learn a complex new skill alone can be difficult.” They claim that Base Bootcamp will provide more support for developers who don’t want to study alone.

Related: Coinbase open sources code for layer-2 network Base

The Base Bootcamp will pair each student with a mentor who they will meet with each week. It will also give them access to a group of Coinbase and Base engineers who will be available during office hours to answer questions. A private Discord server will be created to allow students to communicate with each other and to Base engineers, and additional assignments will be given that will be graded by members of the team. At the end of the program, students will be required to create their own Web3 app and present it to other students.

Although the program does not charge tuition, students are required to put up 1 Ether (ETH) on deposit to ensure that they finish the program. The team claimed that this deposit will be returned to the student upon graduation.

The lack of qualified Web3 developers is a commonly reported problem in the industry. Some Australian educators have suggested teaching Web3 development in high schools as a means of combating the problem. Other companies have tried to create tools to make Web3 development more simple. For example, Circle recently released a set of tools that allow developers to deploy contracts using familiar Web2 methods.

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Greece establishes AI advisory committee to create national strategy

The Greek prime minister created an AI advisory committee comprising some of the country’s top tech, ethics and science professionals.



The Greek prime minister created an AI advisory committee comprising some of the country’s top tech, ethics and science professionals.

Greek Prime Minister Kryiakos Mitsotakis announced the establishment of an advisory committee to create a national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI) in Greece on Oct. 19.

The Greek government said the “exponential pace” of AI development has created the necessity for an advisory committee under the country’s prime minister. The object of the committee is to prepare Greece for the developments and applications of the technology.

Mitsotakis commented on the establishment of the commission, saying the reception of the technology must be organized before it becomes a daily reality. “This is not about the future but the present,” he said.

The commission will be led by Constantinos Daskalakis, a professor of computer science at MIT, and has professionals in related fields such as technology, ethics, law and science. It also includes Greek researchers and scientists, a part of the diaspora living outside of Greece.

Daskalakis commented on the initiative, saying:

“We will also work in a coordinated manner so that Greece can be a member of the international initiatives for Artificial Intelligence that are being developed within the framework of the International Organization of Artificial Intelligence.”

Related: How Bitcoin ATMs in Greece fare during a record-breaking tourist season

A central component of the advisory committee will also be formulating policy recommendations and creating guidelines for a long-term national strategy.

According to the announcement, the AI strategy will include considering its impact on the economy and society, improving productivity, increasing innovation and strengthening local infrastructure, among other things.

Greece is among the 27 member states of the European Union that would be subject to the EU’s forthcoming EU AI Act

Earlier in October, EU officials announced that they are considering even more restrictive regulations for large AI models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s Llama 2.

Magazine: ‘AI has killed the industry’: EasyTranslate boss on adapting to change

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Delivering aid during war is tricky − here’s what to know about what Gaza relief operations may face

The politics of delivering aid in war zones are messy, the ethics fraught and the logistics daunting. But getting everything right is essential − and…




Palestinians on the outskirts of Gaza City walk by buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment on Oct. 20, 2023. AP Photo/Ali Mahmoud

The 2.2 million people who live in Gaza are facing economic isolation and experiencing incessant bombardment. Their supplies of essential resources, including food and water, are quickly dwindling.

In response, U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged US$100 million in humanitarian assistance for the citizens of Gaza.

As a scholar of peace and conflict economics who served as a World Bank consultant during the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel, I believe that Biden’s promise raises fundamental questions regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid in a war zone. Political constraints, ethical quandaries and the need to protect the security of aid workers and local communities always make it a logistical nightmare.

In this specific predicament, U.S. officials have to choose a strategy to deliver the aid without the perception of benefiting Hamas, a group the U.S. and Israel both classify as a terrorist organization.


When aiding people in war zones, you can’t just send money, a development strategy called “cash transfers” that has become increasingly popular due to its efficiency. Sending money can boost the supply of locally produced goods and services and help people on the ground pay for what they need most. But injecting cash into an economy so completely cut off from the world would only stoke inflation.

So the aid must consist of goods that have to be brought into Gaza, and services provided by people working as part of an aid mission. Humanitarian aid can include food and water; health, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services; and tents and other materials for shelter and settlement.

Due to the closure of the border with Israel, aid can arrive in Gaza only via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, will likely turn to its longtime partner on the ground, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, to serve as supply depots and distribute goods. That agency, originally founded in 1949 as a temporary measure until a two-state solution could be found, serves in effect as a parallel yet unelected government for Palestinian refugees.

USAID will likely want to tap into UNRWA’s network of 284 schools – many of which are now transformed into humanitarian shelters housing two-thirds of the estimated 1 million people displaced by Israeli airstrikes – and 22 hospitals to expedite distribution.

Map of Gaza and its neighbors
Gaza is a self-governing Palestinian territory. The narrow piece of land is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Israel and Egypt. PeterHermesFurian/iStock via Getty Images Plus


Prior to the Trump administration, the U.S. was typically the largest single provider of aid to the West Bank and Gaza. USAID administers the lion’s share of it.

Since Biden took office, total yearly U.S. assistance for the Palestinian territories has totaled around $150 million, restored from just $8 million in 2020 under the Trump administration. During the Obama administration, however, the U.S. was providing more aid to the territories than it is now, with $1 billion disbursed in the 2013 fiscal year.

But the White House needs Congress to approve this assistance – a process that requires the House of Representatives to elect a new speaker and then for lawmakers to approve aid to Gaza once that happens.


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is a U.N. organization. It’s not run by Hamas, unlike, for instance, the Gaza Ministry of Health. However, Hamas has frequently undermined UNRWA’s efforts and diverted international aid for military purposes.

Hamas has repeatedly used UNRWA schools as rocket depots. They have repeatedly tunneled beneath UNRWA schools. They have dismantled European Union-funded water pipes to use as rocket fuselages. And even since the most recent violence broke out, the UNRWA has accused Hamas of stealing fuel and food from its Gaza premises.

Humanitarian aid professionals regularly have to contend with these trade-offs when deciding to what extent they can work with governments and local authorities that commit violent acts. They need to do so in exchange for the access required to help civilians under their control.

Similarly, Biden has had to make concessions to Israel while brokering for the freedom to send humanitarian aid to Gaza. For example, he has assured Israel that if any of the aid is diverted by Hamas, the operation will cease.

This promise may have been politically necessary. But if Biden already believes Hamas to be uncaring about civilian welfare, he may not expect the group to refrain from taking what they can.

Security best practices

What can be done to protect the security of humanitarian aid operations that take place in the midst of dangerous conflicts?

Under International Humanitarian Law, local authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring the delivery of aid – even when they aren’t carrying out that task. To increase the chances that the local authorities will not attack them, aid groups can give “humanitarian notification” and voluntarily alert the local government as to where they will be operating.

Hamas has repeatedly flouted international norms and laws. So the question of if and how the aid convoy will be protected looms large.

Under the current agreement between the U.S., Israel and Egypt, the convoy will raise the U.N. flag. International inspectors will make sure no weapons are on board the vehicles before crossing over from Arish, Egypt, to Rafah, a city located on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.

The aid convoy will likely cross without militarized security. This puts it at some danger of diversion once inside Gaza. But whether the aid convoy is attacked, seized or left alone, the Biden administration will have demonstrated its willingness to attempt a humanitarian relief operation. In this sense, a relatively small first convoy bearing water, medical supplies and food, among other items, serves as a test balloon for a sustained operation to follow soon after.

If the U.S. were to provide the humanitarian convoy a military escort, by contrast, Hamas could see its presence as a provocation. Washington’s support for Israel is so strong that the U.S. could potentially be judged as a party in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

In that case, the presence of U.S. armed forces might provoke attacks on Gaza-bound aid convoys by Hamas and Islamic jihad fighters that otherwise would not have occurred. Combined with the mobilization of two U.S. Navy carrier groups in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, I’d be concerned that such a move might also stoke regional anger. It would undermine the Biden administration’s attempts to cool the situation.

On U.N.-approved missions, aid delivery may be secured by third-party peacekeepers – meaning, in this case, personnel who are neither Israeli nor Palestinian – with the U.N. Security Council’s blessing. In this case, tragically, it’s unlikely that such a resolution could conceivably pass such a vote, much less quickly enough to make a difference.

Topher L. McDougal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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