• Tag Archives Europe
  • UKIP Wants Nigel Farage Back Claiming May Has Betrayed BREXIT

    Theresa May’ Florence speech is being seen by many as a betrayal of BREXIT. Instead of getting on with it, she has said that there will be a longer transition period even two years beyond 2019 into 2021. She said that Europeans will still be able to come and work in Britain into 2021 but under a ‘registration system’ that many fear will still allow terrorists to enter from Europe.
    Prime Minister May said that the temporary transitional arrangements ‘will not go on for ever’and will end around two years after Britain leaves the European Union (EU) in 2019. She made it clear that ‘[d]uring the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK.’ She did also say that ‘[t]here will be a registration system, an essential preparation for the new regime.’

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 24, 2017.


  • Commerzbank to Merge with French BNP

    According to a the latest spin, the German federal government’s withdrawal from the Commerzbank has left the favored shotgun wedding merger. Commerzbank is the Frankfurt money house which will be merged with the French BNP Paribas. This is being presented as if it were a strong German-French merger which is suggesting that there is a deeper European banking union unfolding. Additionally, they are also going to merge a troubled Italian bank into BNP.
    Behind the curtain, the concern is that Commerzbank could not be merged with Deutsche bank because they have the same portfolios that are in trouble. BNP Paribas is about 10 times the size of Commerzbank. Therefore, the real world view is this is just a shotgun wedding rather than a new German-French merger.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 23, 2017.


  • Pound Flash Crashes After Moody’s Downgrades UK To Aa2

    In an otherwise boring day, when Theresa May failed to cause any major ripples with her much anticipated Brexit speech, moments ago it was Moody’s turn to stop out countless cable longs, when shortly after the US close, it downgraded the UK from Aa1 to Aa2, outlook stable, causing yet another flash crash in the pound.
    As reason for the unexpected downgrade, Moodys cited “the outlook for the UK’s public finances has weakened significantly since the negative outlook on the Aa1 rating was assigned, with the government’s fiscal consolidation plans increasingly in question and the debt burden expected to continue to rise.”
    It also said that fiscal pressures will be exacerbated by the erosion of the UK’s medium-term economic strength that is likely to result from the manner of its departure from the European Union (EU), and by the increasingly apparent challenges to policy-making given the complexity of Brexit negotiations and associated domestic political dynamics.
    Moody’s now expects growth of just 1% in 2018 following 1.5% this year; doesn’t expect growth to recover to its historic trend rate over coming years. Expects public debt ratio to increase to close to 90% of GDP this year and to reach its peak at close to 93% of GDP only in 2019.
    And so, once again, it was poor sterling longs who having gotten through today largely unscathed, were unceremoniously stopped out following yet another flash crash in all GBP pairs.
    Full release below:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • German Elections Void of Any Critical Discussion

    The German Bundestag election campaign has seen a total black-out of any discussion of the major crisis that is building in Europe. Nobody is mentioning that Euro crisis, ECB monetary policy, disintegration of the EU, refugee crisis, pension crisis, the municipalities on the brink of insolvency, or the drastic increases in taxation coming AFTER the election that will only lower disposable incomes and extend deflation.
    The politicians, and the press, are in full swing to hide the real trend at foot. The press is running stories why the Germans Love Merkel, yet she has never won even 40% of the popular vote. Even the press outside of Germany is in on the ‘selling’ of Merkel because she is the leader of Europe – good – bad – indifferent.
    Perhaps the monetary policy of the ECB has set the stage for a serious monetary crisis over the coming years that will seriously disrupt the German economy, in one way or another, depending upon the industry. Mario Draghi has experimented with negative rates which has kept the Eurozone governments on life-support – but they have not used the time to reform anything.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 23, 2017.


  • The Agony of the Welfare State, Finnish Style

    The title of this post – minus the reference to Finland – is shamelessly copped from a prescient essay that Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1953. In his article Mises pointed out that in Great Britain and Europe, the system of progressive taxation was already confiscating nearly the entire ‘surplus’ incomes of the successful capitalists and entrepreneurs, meaning that higher tax rates would no longer produce additional funds to finance these countries’ ever-expanding welfare states. ‘Henceforth,’ Mises foretold, ‘the funds of the beneficiaries themselves have to be tapped if more handouts are to be made to them.’
    Today things have gotten far worse than even Mises foresaw. For now it is becoming evident that the ‘beneficiaries’ of the most advanced welfare states are not reproducing rapidly enough to pay for the benefits that they are receiving and are therefore ‘endangering’ the ‘long-term survival’ of the ‘more generous’ welfare states. A notable example is Finland, which faces a ‘massive baby problem.’ Thus, in 2016, Finland recorded the lowest number of newborn babies in 148 years, or since the great famine of 1868. The Finnish fertility rate has fallen to 1.57 per woman and the number of people under 20 years of age as a percentage of the working age population is the lowest among Nordic countries at less than 40%, down from 60% in 1970.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 22, 2017.


  • Global Markets Spooked By North Korea H-Bomb Threat; Focus Turns To Brexit Speech

    S&P futures retreated along with European and Asian shares with tech, and Apple supplier shares leading the drop while safe havens such as gold and the yen rose, as the war of words between U. S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un escalated and North Korea threatened to launch a hydrogen bomb, leading to a prompt return of geopolitical concerns. Trade focus now turns to a planned speech by Theresa May on Brexit (full preview here).
    As reported last night, the key overnight event was the latest threat by North Korea that its counter-measure may mean testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, according to reports in Yonhap citing North Korea’s Foreign Minister. North Korea’s leader Kim said North Korea will consider “corresponding, highest level of hard-line measure in history” against US, while he also stated that President Trump’s UN speech was rude nonsense and demonstrated insanity and inhumanity which confirmed North Korea’s nuclear and missile advances are on right path and will continue to the end. There was more on the geopolitical front with the Iranian President
    informing armed forces that the nation will bolster its missile
    capabilities, according to local TV.
    As a result, treasury yields pulled back and the dollar slid the most in two weeks following North Korea’s threat it could test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index edged lower as a rout in base metals deepened, weighing on mining shares. WTI crude halted its rally above $50 a barrel as OPEC members gathered in Vienna.
    US stock futures pulled back 0.1% though markets were showing growing signs of fatigue over the belligerent U. S.-North Korea rhetoric. ‘North Korea poses such a binary risk that it’s very hard to price, and at the moment investors just have to look through it,’ said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management. Despite the latest jitters, MSCI’s world equity index remained on track for another weekly gain, holding near its latest record high hit on Wednesday as investors’ enthusiasm for stocks showed few signs of waning.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.


  • Bill Blain: “Let’s Pretend”

    Blain’s Morning Porridge – Fed Acts, ECB Smoking – but what?
    The Fed acts. Normalisation. Hints of a rate rise in December, confirmation of further ‘data-dependent’ hikes to come next year, and ending the reinvestment of QE income. Exactly as expected – although some say three hikes in 2018 is a bit hostage to the global economy. The effect: Dollar up. Bonds down. Record Stocks. Yellen threw the bond market a crumb when she reminded us low inflation will require a ‘response.’
    Relax. US markets will sweat, but not break. Dollar ascendant.. Yen collapses.. What about Yoorp?
    Not quite as simples in Europe.
    I’m indebted to my colleague Kevin Humphreys on BGC’s Money Market desk for pointing out yet another Northern European central banker with a smug self-satisfied smile on his face this morning.
    Klass Knot (Holland) has been telling us the European reflationary environment is improving to the extent where the tail risk of a deflationary spiral is no longer imminent. He said ‘robust’ economic developments have improved confidence inflation will rise in line with the ECB’s mandated aims. He added the appreciation of the Euro reflects an improving assessment of the EU’s economic success. And, he concludes the ECB should focus on the more important structural and institutional issues facing Europe, rather than the short-term stabilisation and crisis management – WHICH ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Traders Yawn After Fed’s “Great Unwind”

    One day after the much anticipated Fed announcement in which Yellen unveiled the “Great Unwinding” of a decade of aggressive stimulus, it has been a mostly quiet session as the Fed’s intentions had been widely telegraphed (besides the December rate hike which now appears assured), despite a spate of other central bank announcements, most notably out of Japan and Norway, both of which kept policy unchanged as expected.
    ‘Yesterday was a momentous day – the beginning of the end of QE,’ Bhanu Baweja a cross-asset strategist at UBS, told Bloomberg TV. ‘The market for the first time is now moving closer to the dots as opposed to the dots moving towards the market. There’s more to come on that front. ‘
    Despite the excitement, S&P futures are unchanged, holding near all-time high as European and Asian shares rise in volumeless, rangebound trade, and oil retreated while the dollar edged marginally lower through the European session after yesterday’s Fed-inspired rally which sent the the dollar to a two-month high versus the yen on Thursday and sent bonds and commodities lower. Along with dollar bulls, European bank stocks cheered the coming higher interest rates which should help their profits, rising over 1.5% as a weaker euro helped the STOXX 600. Shorter-term, 2-year U. S. government bond yields steadied after hitting their highest in nine years.
    ‘Initial reaction is fairly straightforward,’ said Saxo Bank head of FX strategy John Hardy. ‘They (the Fed) still kept the December hike (signal) in there and the market is being reluctantly tugged in the direction of having to price that in.’
    The key central bank event overnight was the BoJ, which kept its monetary policy unchanged as expected with NIRP maintained at -0.10% and the 10yr yield target at around 0%. The BoJ stated that the decision on yield curve control was made by 8-1 decision in which known reflationist Kataoka dissented as he viewed that it was insufficient to meeting inflation goal by around fiscal 2019, although surprisingly he did not propose a preferred regime. BOJ head Kuroda spoke after the BoJ announcement, sticking to his usual rhetoric: he stated that the bank will not move away from its 2% inflation target although the BOJ “still have a distance to 2% price targe” and aded that buying equity ETFs was key to hitting the bank’s inflation target, resulting in some marginal weakness in JPY as he spoke, leaving USD/JPY to break past FOMC highs, and print fresh session highs through 112.70, the highest in two months, although it has since pared some losses.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – On the Daedalian Wings of Paper Money and Corrupted Power

    “The conventional wisdom seems to be that the problems of the euro zone are, as economist Martin Feldstein once put it, ‘the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries.’
    What this commentary gets wrong, however, is that single currencies are never the product of debates about optimal economic solutions. Instead, currencies like the U. S. dollar itself are the result of political battles, where motivated actors try to centralize power.
    This has most often occurred ‘through iron and blood,’ as Otto van Bismarck, the unifier of Germany put it, as a result of catastrophic wars. Smaller geographic units were brought together to build the modern nation state, with a unified fiscal system, a common national language that was often imposed by force, a unified legal system, and, a single currency. Put differently, war makes the state, and the state makes the currency….
    European leaders weren’t stupid or self indulgent when they decided to move ahead with the euro, without fiscal union or strong Europe-level democracy. They just cared more about politics and international security than economics. They wanted to build a Europe that had transcended the divisions of the Cold War, and bind together Germany, which was reunited and much more powerful, with the rest of Europe.”
    Kathleen McNamara, This is what economists don’t understand about the euro crisis – or the U. S. dollar
    “Another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking, and the corporation.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 18 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • What Happens When Inflation Walks In?

    If you watch and participate in markets long enough – and no, we’re not talking about, ‘On a long enough timeline…’ – you’ll appreciate or get bitten (as we certainly have from time to time) by the sardonic irony that often becomes exposed by a market’s cycle. Consider Mohamed El-Erian’s ‘New Normal’ market strategy, that aimed at the start of this decade to capture the anticipated outperformance of emerging over developed markets. Bear in mind that the phrase has stuck around since then, despite the fact that it was largely a narrative for a poor investment strategy.
    What happened? El-Erian and Gross were prescient in inventing the term ‘new normal’ to describe a very slow-growing global economy with heightened risks of recession, as befell much of Europe. But they were dead wrong in predicting that emerging markets would provide outsize stock returns, and they were wildly off base in their notion that developed-market stock returns would be deeply depressed. Emerging market stocks have stumbled since 2011, and emerging market bonds have lost ground this year. Meanwhile, developed-world stock markets have soared. The fund’s use of options and other techniques to hedge against ‘tail risk’ – which essentially means insuring against extremely bad markets – has also surely cost the fund a little in performance. – Kiplinger, November 14, 2013
    Not to overly pick on El-Erian here, who is typically a very thoughtful and creative macro thinker – not to mention many of his new normal predictions did prove prescient, with the very large exception of rising inflation that would have likely driven a successful investment strategy – not just a convenient catch phrase… but, ironically, it appears his timing earlier this year of calling for an end of the new normal, as selectively revisionist as they paint it, might provide a fitting bookend to the market’s wry sense of humor.
    Eight years later – and instead of just getting slow growth right in a developed economy like the US, as he initially suggested in May 2009, his other two major tenets of rising inflation and rising unemployment might eventually be realized domestically in the economy’s next chapter. In fact, from our perspective it seems more likely than not.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 19 September 2017.


  • Global Stocks Storm To New Record High Ahead Of Historic Fed Announcement

    Last week’s bullish sentiment that sent the S&P not only to a new all time highs, but a burst of last-second buying pushed above 2,500 for the first time ever, has carried through to the new week, with European and Asian shares rallying across the board, US futures again the green, and world stocks hitting a new record high on Monday ahead of a historic Fed meeting in which the FOMC is expected to announce the start of the shrinkage of its balance sheet.
    ***
    ‘The FOMC’s latest verdict will be of special interest,’ said Daniel Lenz, an analyst at DZ Bank in Frankfurt. ‘The Fed could well set the balance-sheet-reduction process in motion.’
    MSCI’s index of world stocks hit a new all-time high, adding to gains seen on Friday when Wall Street set its own record level, while Europe’s main stock index opened at a six-week high on Monday and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan rose to heights not seen since late 2007.
    As DB’s Jim Reid summarizes the week’s key events, this week will be dominated by 3 of the most powerful women in the world “and I’m not talking about Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark. Instead we have our real world version with Mrs Yellen likely to announce the end of Fed reinvestment on Wednesday, Mrs Merkel firm favourite with the pollsters to see a big election win on Sunday and Mrs May set to outline her latest Brexit vision in Florence on Friday. Of the three, Mrs May’s speech is currently the least predictable but after a big week for the UK last week (GBPUSD +2.98%, GBPEUR +3.75%, 10yr Gilts +32bps, and the November hike probability from 18.4% to 64.5% according to Bloomberg’s calculator), Sterling assets are seeing some significant volatility at the moment.”

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


  • Market Report: Consolidating after recent

    After the spectacular run from the lows of early July, gold and silver took a breather this week. Bullion markets on Comex had become very overbought, so a pause was inevitable, and healthy. In early European trading this morning, gold is down $23 from last Friday’s close at $1325, and silver off 25 cents at $17.71.
    Our next chart illustrates how overbought gold had become, with the Managed Money category net longs on Comex (hedge funds) having soared.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on September 15, 2017.


  • Suddenly, ‘De-Dollarization’ Is A Thing

    For what seems like decades, other countries have been tiptoeing away from their dependence on the US dollar. China, Russia, and India have cut deals in which they agree to accept each others’ currencies for bi-lateral trade while Europe, obviously, designed the euro to be a reserve asset and international medium of exchange.
    These were challenges to the dollar’s dominance, but they weren’t mortal threats.
    What’s happening lately, however, is a lot more serious. It even has an ominous-sounding name: de-dollarization. Here’s an excerpt from a much longer article by ‘strategic risk consultant’ F. William Engdahl:
    Gold, Oil and De-Dollarization? Russia and China’s Extensive Gold Reserves, China Yuan Oil Market
    (Global Research) – China, increasingly backed by Russia – the two great Eurasian nations – are taking decisive steps to create a very viable alternative to the tyranny of the US dollar over world trade and finance. Wall Street and Washington are not amused, but they are powerless to stop it. So long as Washington dirty tricks and Wall Street machinations were able to create a crisis such as they did in the Eurozone in 2010 through Greece, world trading surplus countries like China, Japan and then Russia, had no practical alternative but to buy more US Government debt – Treasury securities – with the bulk of their surplus trade dollars. Washington and Wall Street could print endless volumes of dollars backed by nothing more valuable than F-16s and Abrams tanks. China, Russia and other dollar bond holders in truth financed the US wars that were aimed at them, by buying US debt. Then they had few viable alternative options.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on SEPTEMBER 15, 2017.


  • Trying to Save the Euro from Total Disaster

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has now come out in a very desperate move telling that those members of the EU who are non-euro countries should introduce the euro ASAP. ‘The euro is destined to be the single currency of the EU as a whole,’ Juncker declared. Juncker then proposed a ‘euro preparation instrument’ to provide technical and financial assistance to make this transition.
    The Euro is in serious trouble because of the total mismanagement of the ECB. Low to negative interest rates have totally failed to stimulate the economy after almost 10 years. Now that rates must rise to try to avoid a massive pension collapse in Europe, the ECB could suffer a major default and will need to be bailed-out itself by the government since it owns 40% of euro-zone debt.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 15, 2017.


  • Markets Ignore North Korea Missile Launch; Send Pound Soaring, Yen Tumbles

    S&P futures are slightly lower (ES -0.1%) as traders paid little attention to the latest missile test by North Korea on Friday, with shares and other risk assets barely moving, gold lower and focus rapidly returning to when and where interest rates will go up. Most global market are mostly unfazed, and the Korean Kospi actually closed up 0.4%, by the latest geopolitical escalation after a North Korean ballistic missile flew far enough to put the U. S. territory of Guam in range. European stocks edged fractionally lower while Asian shares advanced.
    As reported on Thursday evening, the main overnight event was North Kore’s launch of a missile which passed through Japan’s airspace and over Hokkaido, before landing in the Pacific Ocean. This initially prompted Japan to issue an emergency warning for its residents to seek shelter, while there were also reports that South Korea conducted its own missile firing test as a show of readiness. US military stated North Korean missile did not pose a threat to Guam and that the launch was an intermediate range ballistic missile. South Korean President Moon said will not sit idle on North Korea provocation and that South Korea has power to pulverize should
    North Korea provoke. On Friday morning, Russia also denounced the ‘provocative’ N. Korea missile test, according to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, North Korea stated that it will take stronger actions for its self-defence if the US continues to walk on current course.
    Still, markets are showing clear signs of habituation to missile launches and other provocative actions from North Korea, which has fired more than a dozen missiles this year and tested a nuclear device. Global equities climbed to a record high this week as earnings and confidence in economic growth overshadowed tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The MSCI All Country World Index is poised for its third week of gains in four. Meanwhile, recent economic data has been supporting of bullish positions, with yesterday’s CPI prints suggesting inflation may again be on the rebound. While China data this week softened, the signals from DM financial markets remain optimistic. As such, investors will look to U. S. retail numbers today for more clues about the policy path.

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


  • Germany & France Want to Tax Gross Sales on the Internet

    The hunt for taxes in France and Germany is in full swing. Merkel and Macrone are looking for endless new sources of tax revenues. They are moving directly into the position of destroying their economies because their thirst for more and more taxes never ends. No matter how much they collect, they never have enough. The latest scheme is now to tax gross turnover of internet companies such as Google and Amazon – not profits. The French want a 5% tax on everything in Europe. They already get a 20% VAT which is a complex consumption tax to keep countless government employees in a job with every layer of business taxesd having to file claims constantly.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 15, 2017.


  • Eclipsegate Returns: Mnuchin Requested Government Jet For European Honeymoon

    Last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s trophy wife Louise Linton posted the following ill-advised response to an Instagram troll that, among other things, condescendingly blasted the suggestion that Mnuchin/Linton used government planes “for our honeymoon or personal travel.”
    ‘Cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. You’re adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message [sic], one filled with wisdom and hunanity [sic] would get more traction. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It’s fab!’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 14, 2017.


  • Venezuela’s Inflation Rate Just Hit 2,061% (6 Mo CDS At Almost 13,000)

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Yes, the US economy like Europe and Japan are suffering from chronically low rates of inflation (unless you count things like home prices,. rent, college tuition, healthcare, etc).
    But not Venezuela! They just surpassed the year 2017 in terms of their inflation rate: 2061%!
    ***
    Venezuela’s sovereign curve remains steeply downward sloping with short-term rates in excess of 50%.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 14, 2017.


  • #FedGibberish!

    Recently on our Twitter feed, @michaellebowitz, we introduced the hashtag #fedgibberish.

    The purpose was to tag Federal Reserve members’ comments that highlight desperate efforts to rationalize their inane monetary policy in the post-financial crisis era. This past week there were two quotes by Fed members and one by the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) which were highly deserving of the tag. We present them below, with commentary, to help you understand the predicament the Fed and other central banks face.
    Lael Brainard
    On September 5, 2017 Fed Governor Lael Brainard stated the following in a speech at the Economic Club of New York:
    ‘We should be cautious about tightening policy further until we are confident inflation is on track to achieve our target.’ – ‘There is a high premium on guiding inflation back up to target so as to retain space to buffer adverse shocks with conventional policy.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.