MIFiD II Delays…

Talk amongst many traders is that they are so unsure how the new rules and regulations surrounding the implementation of MIFiD II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) are to be imposed, that some even said they were keen to extend their holidays until this mess is sorted out. In other words, until they hear that regulators will grant firms a six-month delay for part of the changes about to be implemented for both the company and country, many just do not even know how to conduct business anymore.
The most critical problem surrounding this nightmare is the fact that every trade (with a European Counterpart) will require a LEI (Legal Entity Identifier). This is not such a critical issue for Wall Street Banks since they have already won a 30-month grace period after the SEC requested time to negotiate terms with the EU. Goldman Sachs has installed another of its board members as the top negotiator inside the SEC – Alan Cohen. Goldman Sachs has now three strategic people in the Trump Administration to steer the legislation in their favor both in the USA with restoring Glass Steagall to reduce their competition (Gary Cohen & Steven Mnuchin) and they have now added Alan Cohen, who was their Head of Global Compliance.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 29, 2017.

The EU Bad Loan Crisis to Get Much Worse – The Solution = Financial Pandemic

The bad loan (‘non-performing loan’ (NPL)) crisis in Europe is well known and many have been calling for this issue to be addressed. In Italy, the bad loan crisis has reached 21% of GDP. While NPLs dropped to 4.8% of all loans in the EU as a whole during the first quarter of 2017, they remained well above 40% in Greece and Cyprus, at 18.5% in Portugal, and 14.8% in Italy according to the European Banking Authority.
Now comes the bureaucrats with zero experience to save the day – or is that to create a financial pandemic in the EU? The EU Commission (EUC) along with the European Central Bank (ECB), want to ensure that banks promptly sell real estate, stocks, bonds and other assets that serve to collateralize loans according to their Mid-term Review of the Capital Markets Union Action Plan. Member States are required to adopt laws that facilitate the central directive. At this time, any bank cannot just sell a property that secures a loan. The problem is, all loans, whether secured or not, are valued the same.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 29, 2017.

Trump Tax Cuts – The Spark That Burns Down The EU

Authored by Tom Luongo,
For most of this year I’ve been wondering what would the spark that would set off a banking panic in the European Union.
I know, but what do I do for fun, right?
I’ve chronicled the political breakdown of the EU, from Brexit to Catalonia to Germany’s bitch-slapping Angela Merkel at the ballot box. All of these things have been open rebukes of EU leadership and it’s insane neoliberal push towards the destruction of national sovereignty and identity.
And what has propped up this slow train-wreck to this point has been the world’s financial markets inherent need to believe in the relative infallibility of its central bankers.
Because without competent people operating the levers of monetary policy, this whole thing loses confidence faster than you can say, ‘Bank run.’
The confluence of these things with the big changes happening politically here at home with President Trump are creating the environment for big trend changes to begin unfolding.
And, as always, you have to look to the sovereign bond and credit markets to see what’s coming.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

“Project Fear” Architect Now Thinks Brexit Will Have “Limited Impact” On UK Economy

Lord Macpherson, the UK civil servant dubbed “The Architect of Project Fear,” now believes Brexit’s negative impact on the British economy will be limited if it is handled correctly…
As a reminder, The FT points out, that Lord Macpherson was at the helm of the Treasury when his officials compiled a report suggesting that a post-Brexit, Canada-style trade deal with the EU would ultimately lower UK economic output by 6.2 per cent, costing British households 4,300 a year.
The report, published in April 2016, came out a month after Lord Macpherson ended his decade as permanent secretary at the Treasury and was denounced by Brexiters for what they believe was scaremongering about the economic consequences of Brexit.
Well, he has changed his mind, as economists do when faced with reality.
Macpherson is now a little more upbeat.
“Brexit is a risk but its economic impact should be limited provided [the government] seizes policy opportunity and looks forward not back,” he said in a tweet a few days before Christmas.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

The West Proves That Poland’s Loyalty Was Worthless

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,
Poland, one of the most loyal EU members, was just stabbed in the back by Brussels after the bloc initiated punitive Article 7 proceedings against it, proving that Warsaw’s unwavering loyalty to the West was worthless this entire time and thus giving Poles a reason to reconsider whether it’s time that they attempted to restore their long-lost Great Power status in Europe.
Many Poles were shocked to hear that Brussels had begun the process to sanction their country, despite knowing in the back of their minds all along that this was a very probable scenario. The EU had been warning Poland for months now that it wouldn’t tolerate the ruling Law & Justice party’s (PiS) judicial reforms, labelling them as ‘anti-democratic’ in spite of the same envisioned changes already being in place in many Western European countries. All that PiS wants to do is make it so that judges are accountable to the people, not to one another, and break the backs of the communist-era clique that still controls the country’s courts. This is crucial in the modern context because PiS follows a EuroRealist ideology that aspires to improve Poland’s sovereign standing in the EU, a vision which is directly at odds with EU-hegemon Germany’s EuroLiberalism that instead wants all member states to be subservient to an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels.
EuroRealism vs. EuroLiberalism
The matter is an urgent one for Poland because PiS’ Civic Platform (PO) predecessors stacked the courts with their allies before leaving power after the ruling party won the first-ever post-communist electoral majority in the country’s history in 2015. PO’s former leader is the current President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and he and his organization are popularly regarded as Germany’s proxies in Poland. PiS, on the other hand, is allied with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, with which it shares a strident belief in the conservative ideology of EuroRealism. It had long been the case that EuroLiberalism was on the ascent in Europe ever since the end of the Cold War, but the 2008 global economic recession and the 2015 Migrant Crisis sparked a grassroots movement all across Central and Eastern Europe which has seen the rapid rise of EuroRealism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 23, 2017.

Trump Tax Reform Causing Panic in Europe & Asia

While the American press keeps pushing the class warfare along with the Democrats, outside the USA there is a major panic taking place on a grand scale. I have been called into meeting in Europe and even in Asia all deeply concerned about the loss of competition with the United States due to the Trump Tax Reform. Naturally, the American press would NEVER tell the truth how cutting the corporate tax rate will upset the powers that be around the globe.
A German study warns that its economy will be among the losers in the face of the Trump Tax Reform, which they warn will fuel the tax competition between America and Europe, but also the study leader, Christoph Spengel from the Economic Research Institute ZEW, came out and told Reuters:
‘In addition, competition between EU members for US investment will increase; Germany is the loser.’

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 22, 2017.

Are the EU’s Days Numbered?

My recent meetings in Brussels reveals some concern what happens when Merkel loses power? Schultz is calling for the complete federalization of Europe – the United States of Europe as he puts it. The power is starting to slip between their fingers and as Italy approaches its confrontation with the EU in the next elections, there too we see the Social Democratic ruling party PD is losing its support in the same manner as the SPD in Germany.
Now with only a few weeks before the expected dissolution of the Italian parliament before the new elections, the PD is already down to only a 23.4% approval rating. The Socialist agenda is losing around the world just as Hillary lost in the States as did Schultz in Germany.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 21, 2017.

Europe’s Era of Harmony Is Over

No one else I know can muster as much deep experience and insight into the sprawling, incendiary world of geopolitics as my good friend George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures; and in today’s Outside the Box – part 2 of my 8-part SIC Speaker Series – George brings all his powers to bear to issue quite a declamatory statement on the present and future of the European Union.
George’s argument can be summarized as ‘the center cannot hold.’ With Brexiteers on its western front and unruly right-wingers on its eastern wing in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the EU is sore beset. But as George notes, the center is quietly debating whether that might not be a good thing:
There has been some talk in the central region of either creating a separate union consisting of Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or creating a bloc within the existing bloc. The point would be for these countries to stop being responsible for countries not ready to operate at the center’s level of performance. It would mean that southern Europe, with its economic problems, and Eastern Europe, with its distinctly different political culture, could go their own way.
That is what I would call a desperate conversation. Far from ever achieving a ‘United States of Europe,’ the EU members will be lucky (or maybe not so much) if they can retain their economic union. George agrees, and he has concluded that dissolution is inevitable:

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 20, 2017.

Economic Stimulus Alive and Kicking in EU

Janet Yellen and company pretty much followed the script during last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, raising interest rates another .25 percent and signaling three rate hikes in 2018.
We tend to focus primarily on Federal Reserve actions, but it’s important to remember the Fed isn’t the only central bank game in town. While it nudges interest rates slowly upward, the European Central Bank is standing pat on economic stimulus. And there’s no indication that is going to change in the near future.
With its latest rate hike, the Federal Reserve has pushed the Federal Fund Rate to 1.5%. That’s the highest we’ve seen since 2008. Even at that, we’re still well below the 5.25% peak hit during the last expansion.
Meanwhile, ECB chair Mario Draghi announced back in October that quantitative easing would live on in the EU.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 18, 2017.

Greece Is The Patsy For Europe’s Failure (And The Ordeal Is Far From Over)

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,
I feel kind of sorry this has become such a long essay. But I still left out so much. You know by now I care a lot about Greece, and it’s high time for another look, and another update, and another chance for people to understand what is happening to the country, and why. To understand that hardly any of it is because the Greeks had so much debt and all of that narrative.
The truth is, Greece was set up to be a patsy for the failure of Europe’s financial system, and is now being groomed simultaneously as a tourist attraction to benefit foreign investors who buy Greek assets for pennies on the dollar, and as an internment camp for refugees and migrants that Europe’s ‘leaders’ view as a threat to their political careers more than anything else.
I would almost say: here we go again, but in reality we never stopped going. It’s just that Greece’s 15 minutes of fame may be long gone, but its ordeal is far from over. If you read through this, you will understand why that is. The EU is deliberately, and without any economic justification, destroying one of its own member states, destroying its entire economy.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.

16/12/17: Remember the Russian Attack on the Internet?

In 2016, a bot, named Mirai, wrecked havoc over the global internet with massive waves of DoS attacks on anything, from French telecoms, to U. S. web services, to Russian banks, to African airports and beyond. Per Wired, “As the 2016 US presidential election drew near, fears began to mount that the so-called Mirai botnet might be the work of a nation-state practicing for an attack that would cripple the country as voters went to the polls.”
Of course, the minute there is any suspicion of the ‘nation-state’ actors behind the attack, we know that is the code word for ‘the Russians’. And, of course, given the sheer number of ‘security research’ lackeys eagerly awaiting for the U. S. or UK or EU dollars/pounds/euros in grants and subsidies, the ‘Russian’ spectre loomed large in the wake of Mirai havoc. Here’s a snapshot:

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, December 16, 2017.

Brexit Moves To Phase 2 – Sterling Slides As EU Warns Talks Will Be Far More Testing

Following the humiliation of losing the House of Commons vote on Friday, in which MP’s took the final say on the Brexit deal from the executive, UK Prime Minister was in Brussels as EU leaders gave approval for Brexit talks to move to phase 2. At a dinner last night, she was applauded by leaders of the other 27 EU nations after giving a speech. This morning, the European Council approved the recommendation from the European Commission that talks should proceed to the next phase. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, tweeted the news.
From the FT ‘EU leaders have confirmed that ‘sufficient progress’ has been made in the first phase of Britain’s Brexit talks, giving a boost to Theresa May, the UK prime minister, and paving the way for crucial discussions next year on trade. In a summit in Brussels on Friday the EU’s 27 other member states endorsed the European Commission’s recommendation that London had given enough guarantees on the most important divorce issues for talks to begin on a future relationship. The three issues were the UK’s Brexit bill, the rights of EU citizens and the Northern Irish border.
Mrs May was not in the room when her fellow heads of government quickly signed off on the end of phase one talks. They had applauded her on Thursday night to mark the end of several months of fraught negotiations on the divorce. Friday’s declaration was widely expected after Mrs May secured an agreement last week with Jean-Claude Juncker, commission president. That agreement came after the British prime minister assuaged the concerns of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party over the Irish border; Mrs May relies on DUP support in the UK’s parliament.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.

EU Commission v Eurogroup

Most people do not understand that there is the Eurogroup, which is an informal body of finance ministers from the Eurozone member states that are intended to discuss matters relating to their countries’ common responsibilities related to the Euro. They do not keep any minutes so nothing emerges with respect to policy. There is now a clash building between this Eurogroup and that of the European Commission. The Eurogroup will most likely oppose the EU Commission’s plans for an EU finance minister. This, of course, is one more step toward federalizing Europe. The view in Brussels is that their dream project is collapsing. The answer is not more freedom, but to centralize power to prevent the collapse of the Euro.
The Commission wants to impose its own finance minister over the Eurogroup and in turn, the Eurogroup will insist on having its own presidency. There is a rising belief within the Eurogroup that it should delineate the role of the Eurogroup from the role of the Commission. They see the Commission as attempting to grab more power unto itself.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 11, 2017.

The Euro Is Not Dead, Claims EU Survey

The mood has shifted.
By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Europeans are finally learning to love the euro, it seems, at least according tothe latest edition of the Eurobarometer, which is published twice yearly by the European Commission: 64% of the respondents, representing 16 out of 19 Eurozone economies, believe that having the euro is ‘a good thing for their country,’ the highest proportion since 2002, and up from 56% in 2016. Only 26% of respondents thought it was a bad thing.
A further 74% of respondents said that the euro is a good thing for the EU as a whole, the highest proportion in the 2010-2017 series. This is somewhat ironic given that even the ECB conceded this week that the main idea behind the euro as a driving force for regional economic convergence has produced, let’s say, mixed results, having essentially failed where it mattered the most, in Southern European economies:
‘It is striking, however, that little convergence has occurred among the early euro adopters, despite their differences in GDP per capita. In contrast to some initial expectations that the establishment of the euro would act as a catalyser of faster real convergence, little convergence, if any, has taken place for the whole period 1999-2016’
Nonetheless, the results of the survey point to a marked improvement in Europe’s love affair with the single currency, as growth in the Eurozone has reached its highest level (a forecast 2.6% for 2017) since the financial crisis began 10 years ago.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 8, 2017.

UK And EU Reach Agreement Taking Brexit Talks To “Phase 2” As Irish Border Questions Linger

Early on Friday morning, the EU and UK negotiated a deal allowing Brexit negotiations to move on to the “Phase 2”, which will establish their future trading relationship.
The European Commission said it recommends to the European Council to conclude that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the U. K. The European Council will announce its decision on 15 December 2017. If approved, talks can proceed to second phase. Diplomats from both sides worked into the night to resolve the Irish border issue – although questions remain whether it’s really fully resolved. UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Brexit secretary, David Davis, travelled to the Berlaymont building, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, early on Friday morning to conclude the agreement with EU President, Jean Claude Juncker, and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
Juncker and May subsequently hosted a press conference announcing the breakthrough. In a sign that a deal had been reached Martyn Selmayr, Juncker’s head of cabinet, had earlier tweeted a photograph of white smoke emerging from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the signal that the Vatican has successfully chosen a new Pope.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

US Futures, Global Shares, Dollar All Jump On Brexit, Basel News, Averted US Shutdown; Payrolls Loom

U. S. equity index futures have bounced on the last day of the week, along with European and Asian shares, oil and the dollar following overnight news that the UK and EU have reached a successful conclusion on Phase 1 of Brexit negotiations, that Congress averted a government shutdown with another can-kicking 2 week measure until December 22, after strong Chinese trade data and an upward revision to Japanese GDP, and ahead of the November nonfarm payrolls data which is expected to cement the December Fed rate hike.
Setting the bullish mood this morning was Christmas coming early for Theresa May, who managed to forge an agreement – if only for the time being – with the EU in the early hours of Friday morning to pave way for phase 2, with talks set to move to trade with support being voiced by Senior Brexiteers, Gove and Johnson. In reaction to this, GBP initially hit a 6-month high, however once the agreement had been confirmed, the pound saw a “buy the rumour sell the news” price action, while gilts were met with selling pressreure with the price making a firm move below 124.00.
Also after the close on Thursday, the House voted 235-193 and Senate voted 81-14 to pass the stopgap spending measure which will avoid a government shutdown and fund government through to Dec. 22nd, kicking the can on and averting a government shutdown for another two weeks.
European stocks advance in a broad rally amid optimism over a newly-struck deal between Britain and the European Union to unlock divorce negotiations and proceed to discussing a future trade deal. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rises 0.7%, with the index heading for a weekly gain of 1.3%. Banks advance the most, up for a second day, as the sector emerged relatively unscathed from global regulators’ final batch of Basel III post-crisis capital rules, with few lenders needing to raise major new funds. Miners are also among the best indusreptry group performers, following copper prices higher. The FTSE 100 is trailing other European indexes, trading little changed, as the pound climb.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

Homeless Swedes Out In The Cold

Authored by Bruce Bawer via The Gatestone Institute,
One reason there are so many immigrants in Sweden, both legal and illegal, is that the country’s welfare system is a bonanza for foreigners. Far from not being covered by the system, immigrants often enjoy preferential treatment These Swedes should not be sleeping on the streets. The Scandinavian welfare states were founded on a compact between the citizens and their government: the people would pay outrageously high taxes, and in return their government would guarantee them a magnificent safety net should they get sick or get fired. But ever since these countries chose to open their doors to mass Muslim immigration, that compact has been broken. A state-employed paper-pusher who gives citizens something for which they have already paid can hardly feel particularly virtuous, whereas handing out free stuff to aliens who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it can make that same government paper-pusher feel like a world-class Good Samaritan. Even more shattering is that millions of those Scandinavian citizens accept it. Marinated from birth in multiculturalism, millions of them dare not demand what they have coming to them — what they have paid for, what they deserve — lest they be viewed by others, and even by themselves, as bigots. The other day, I reported about the Church of Sweden’s strenuous efforts to appease Islam. Now comes the news that from December 15 to March 15, churches in the diocese of Gothenburg will be used at night as shelters for the homeless.
Lovely idea. But there is a catch. The only homeless people who will be allowed in are foreigners — either immigrants from elsewhere in the EU, who are by definition legal, or illegal immigrants from outside the EU. In other words, native Swedes need not apply, even though the initiative is being paid for by taxpayer money.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

Pound Tumbles Amid Brexit Chaos, “Headline Havoc”

Uh oh, hold your fire. A DUP source: "No deal this week". Hopes now fading fast in No10 of Theresa May going back to Brussels on Thursday too. — Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) December 6, 2017

Cable traders are suffering through a news overload this morning, with the optimism and euphoria which sent the pound to two month highs as recently as 2 days ago fading fast on speculation whether UK PM Theresa May will be able to engineer a Brexit breakthrough in time. And following overnight speculation that her cabinet may revolt, and what one desk dubbed “headline havoc” this morning in which DUP sources saying that there will be no deal this week, it’s looking increasingly in jeopardy.
Overnight the Telegraph and Bloomberg reported that Theresa May is facing a revolt from inside her Cabinet over her plan to keep U. K. regulations aligned with the European Union after Brexit, “a split that threatens to undermine her chances of breaking the deadlock in negotiations.” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove “will lead a Cabinet revolt against Theresa May over fears she is forcing a soft Brexit” the Telegraph reported. While this is hardly the first time we’ve heard this sort of speculation, considering the closeness to the EU Council Summit next Thursday/Friday, the clock is ticking for May to come up with a solution.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

BREXIT in Jeopardy?

The top story in Britain is the collapse of BREXIT negotiations thanks to the stupidity of Northern Ireland. If Northern Ireland wants to remain inside the EU, we already have Scotland saying they would want the same deal and the Mayor of London adds his two-pence to the issue think he will save the City of London financial system. Of course, none one of these people understands the first thing about economics no less they are surrendering power to Brussels. The Brits have always come in dead last in everything inside the EU. BREXIT was the only thing that would save Britain of it too will be dragged under by the failure of the Euro.
Armstrong Economics

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 5, 2017.

Bailins Coming In EU – 114 Italian Banks Have NP Loans Exceeding Tangible Assets

Bailins Coming In EU – 114 Italian Banks Have NP Loans Exceeding Tangible Assets
– Italy opposes ECB proposal that holds banks to firm deadlines for writing down bad loans
– Italy’s banks weighed down under 318bn of bad loans
– New ECB rules could ‘derail’ any recovery in Italy’s financial system
– Draft proposal requires banks to provision fully for loans that turn sour from 2018
– ECB insists banks have better access to collateral on delinquent debt to solve problem
– Investors should secure assets as proposal suggests more bailins on horizon and banks remain at risk
***
Another week and another unjustifiable move by the ECB to ‘protect’ the EU’s banking system. This time it is the decision to toughen bad-loan rules for euro-area banks.
The rules state that banks must be held to firm deadlines for writing down loans that turn sour. Banks will be required to provision fully for loans that turn sour from the start 2018.

This post was published at Gold Core on December 5, 2017.