• Tag Archives Greece
  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Ubi Sunt? Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

    ‘Love does not make you weak, because it is the source of all strength, but it makes you see the nothingness of the illusory strength on which you depended before you knew it.’
    Lon Bloy
    Stocks were a little wobbly today, although the VIX continued to be at quite low levels for this year at least.
    The economic news is mixed, as usual.
    The dollar gave a little of yesterday’s sharp rally higher back today. The rally itself was more technical than anything else, given the long decline that it has already seen. Certainly any notions of a hawkish Fed raising rates with enough fortitude to make a difference in the dollar is sheer fantasy.
    The Fed may have one more rate increase in them for this year, but they are already on thin ice given the weak recovery and lingering lack of organic growth. The reasons are so obvious one really hates to keep repeating them. The economists certainly know them, but they are reluctant to discuss the Emperor’s nakedness. Alas, they are too often a craven careerist lot as a whole. But such are the times.
    As my Greek attorney put it just today, “Hillary just wants to tweak the status quo because it works well for her and her donors Bernie wanted to change the status quo, so he was a threat to everyone but the public.”
    Indeed. The credibility trap is alive and well, and crippling the impulse and efforts to reform.
    Have a pleasant evening.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 21 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • The forthcoming global crisis

    The global economy is now in an expansionary phase, with bank credit being increasingly available for non-financial borrowers. This is always the prelude to the crisis phase of the credit cycle. Most national economies are directly boosted by China, the important exception being America. This is confirmed by dollar weakness, which is expected to continue. The likely trigger for the crisis will be from the Eurozone, where the shift in monetary policy and the collapse in bond prices will be greatest. Importantly, we can put a tentative date on the crisis phase in the middle to second half of 2018, or early 2019 at the latest.
    Introduction
    Ever since the last credit crisis in 2007/8, the next crisis has been anticipated by investors. First, it was the inflationary consequences of zero interest rates and quantitative easing, morphing into negative rates in the Eurozone and Japan. Extreme monetary policies surely indicated an economic and financial crisis was just waiting to happen. Then the Eurozone started a series of crises, the first of several Greek ones, the Cyprus bail-in, then Spain, Portugal and Italy. Any of these could have collapsed the world’s financial order.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on September 21, 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.


  • “Ole Miss Goes Bananas”: Dear Parents, How’s This For A $40K A Year Education?

    What new college campus PC outrage could top ESPN’s decision to remove an Asian announcer named Robert Lee from calling a UVA game? One might reasonably think, impossible! But campus snowflakes have done it again, and this time it’s a single discarded banana peel which sent a college fraternity event hosting campus “leaders” into meltdown and general panic.
    As one prominent columnist put it, “Ole Miss Goes Bananas” – we truly wish this was merely an over the top parody featured in The Onion, but unfortunately the triggered victims’ tears are all to real. The Daily Mississippian broke the story this week, which quickly went viral:
    This weekend, leaders from Ole Miss Greek life convened upon Camp Hopewell in Lafayette County for a three-day retreat designed to build leaders and bring campus closer together. The retreat was cut short Saturday night, however, after three black students found a banana peel in a tree in front of one of the camp’s cabins.
    The students shared what they found with National Pan-Hellenic Council leaders, sparking a day’s worth of camp-wide conversation surrounding symbolism, intended or not. In the midst of the open and sometimes heated discussion, senior accounting major Ryan Swanson said he put the banana peel in the tree when he could not find a trashcan nearby.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 2, 2017.


  • Germany’s New Political Party Is Just Another Big-Government Party

    The German election is a month away and with that also from a real rarity: a party getting into parliament which is on the “right” of Angela Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian partner, the CSU. Over the last decades, this has been a no-go zone in German politics, too severe were the memories of the Nazi era. But come September, the Alternative fr Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), or AfD, will set a landmark, beating the five percent threshold to get into parliament in all likelihood (currently they are polling between seven and ten percent).
    As we have seen throughout the years, those considered as ‘right-wing populists’ in the mainstream are by no means a homogeneous group, from Brexiteers in the UKIP and on the fringe of the Tories as somewhat favorable examples to more frightening ones like Marine Le Pen in France. But what kind of party is the AfD?
    The AfD was founded in 2013 by a bunch of economics professors – at first they were mockingly called’Professorenpartei’ (‘professor’s party’) – who were fed up by the crisis in Greece and demanded a German exit from the Eurozone. Among them were economists like Joachim Starbatty and Roland Vaubel, known in Germany for their free-market ideas. The goal was to found a party which would reconcile the cultural conservatism that was lost in the conservative CDU and the liberal economic policies that were lost in the classical-liberal party, the FDP. However, the AfD focused increasingly on refugees instead of the euro, which led to the departure of many of its founding members in 2015, including the leader up to that point, Bernd Lucke.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on August 30, 2017.


  • It’s Goldman vs JPMorgan As ISDA’s Noble Indecision Roils CDS Market

    Several years ago, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, lost much of its credibility when during the peak of the Eurozone debt crisis, it first refused to determine that CDS on Greece had been triggered (i.e., that an event of default had taken place) only to eventually concede – following substantial outside pressure – that Greece had, in fact, defaulted (if only on bonds not held by a certain central bank), but not before penning a “petulant” blog post in which it claimed amusingly that the “credit event/DC process is fair, transparent and well-tested”. The fiasco prompted many, this site included, to dub sovereign Credit Default Swaps as “Schrodinger’s CDS”, contracts which may or may not pay out in case of a default, depending on which way the political winds were blowing at any given time.
    Fast forward to today when not only is ISDA in hot water again, but the entire corporate CDS market has been roiled by another indecision by ISDA, which said “it was unable to determine” if Singapore-listed Noble Group, formerly Asia’s largest independent commodity trader was in default or not, creating a vacuum similar to what happened with Greece 5 years ago, and which, according to the FT, has resulted in mass confusion in the corporate bond and CDS market. What is more striking, however, is that this is “the first time ISDA has dismissed a question of default without making a ruling either way.”
    Specifically, on August 9, ISDA ruled the following:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • Greeks Rejoice – Government Scraps Controversial Wine Consumption Tax

    While austerity still reigns supreme over Greek society, amid resurgent refugee arrivals, still near-record high youth unemployment, record-high suicide rates, and a constant brain-drain exodus of young talent, this weekend saw a brief silver lining as the government decided to scrap the controversial special consumption tax on wine.
    The measure, which not only did not meet revenue targets, but actually boosted illegal trade in wine and grapes, will be halted by the end of the year.
    ***
    As KeepTalkingGreece reports, inaugurating the Wine Days of Nemea 2017 in one of wine producing regions of Greece, Minister for Rural Development, Vaggelis Apostolou said that the ministry is working on the legislation to scrap the special consumption tax on wine and it is expected to be ready before the end of the year.’It is a commitment by prime minister Alexis Tsipras that the tax will not exist in the new year,’ Apostolou stressed.
    Finance Ministry sources told daily Efimerida Ton Syntakton that the special consumption tax on wine caused more damage to the sector of wine producers than it brought revenues to the state.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • AUGUST 24/TWO HUGE WHACKS ON GOLD AND SILVER TODAY BUT OUR PRECIOUS METALS ARE STILL RESILIENT: GOLD DOWN ONLY $2.15 AND SILVER DOWN 9 CENTS/GREECE HIT WITH A HUGE INFLUX OF MIGRANTS FROM TURKEY/…

    GOLD: $1286.85 DOW $2.15
    Silver: $16.98 DOWN 9 CENTS
    Closing access prices:
    Gold $1290.40
    silver: $17.08
    SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
    SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
    SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1294.05 DOLLARS PER OZ
    NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1287.80
    PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $6.25
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1293.21
    NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1289.60
    Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$3.61
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1285.90
    NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1286.20
    LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1289.00
    NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. $1289.10
    For comex gold:
    AUGUST/
    NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR APRIL CONTRACT MONTH: 0 NOTICE(S) FOR NIL OZ.
    TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 4584 FOR 458,400 OZ (14.258 TONNES)
    For silver:
    AUGUST
    28 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR
    140,000 OZ/
    Total number of notices filed so far this month: 1132 for 5,600,000 oz

    This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on August 24, 2017.


  • “The Perfect Storm Is Brewing”: Goldman Warns Italy Has The Lowest Capacity To Absorb Migrants

    While Europe’s economy and capital markets have been spared any major shocks in the past year, and in fact European GDP has been on a surprisingly resilient uptrend in recent quarters led higher by the relentless German export-growth dynamo (courtesy of the very, very low Deutsche Mark and a lot of broke Greeks), an old and recurring problem has re-emerged, one which threatens the stability and cohesion of the European Union itself: the latest surge of refugees which, arriving mostly from North Africa in recent months, has made Italy its primary landfall target resulting in a surge in migrant arrivals on Italian shores. However, with the rest of Europe largely shutting its borders to this refugee influx forcing Rome to deal with what many in Italy see as an unwelcome presence, a distinct sense of bad-will has been floating around Europe in recent months as Rome’s pleas for more solidarity from its European peers have been stubbornly ignored. Meanwhile, Italy has accepted nearly 100,000 refugees in the first six months of the year and the number is rapidly rising.
    Now, a new report issued by Goldman Sachs will likely pour even more gasoline on the fire, as it finds that just as Rome alleges, “Italy has the lowest capacity to absorb migrants among the major EU economies. This is measured using three indicators of integration: (1) economic integration; (2) social integration; and (3) policy effectiveness.”
    While hardly new for regular readers, this is how Goldman lays out the problem:

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


  • The Secret History Of The Banking Crisis

    Accounts of the financial crisis leave out the story of the secretive deals between banks that kept the show on the road. How long can the system be propped up for?
    ***
    It is a decade since the first tremors of what would become the Great Financial Crisis began to convulse global markets. Across the world from China and South Korea, to Ukraine, Greece, Brexit Britain and Trump’s America it has shaken our economy, our society and latterly our politics. Indeed, it has thrown into question who ‘we’ are. It has triggered both a remarkable wave of nationalism and a deep questioning of social and economic inequalities. Politicians promise their voters that they will ‘take back control.’ But the basic framework of globalisation remains intact, so far at least. And to keep the show on the road, networks of financial and monetary co-operation have been pulled tighter than ever before.
    In Britain the beginning of the crisis was straight out of economic history’s cabinet of horrors. Early in the morning of Monday 14th September 2007, queues of panicked savers gathered outside branches of the mortgage lender Northern Rock on high streets across Britain. It was – or at least so it seemed – a classic bank run. Within the year the crisis had circled the world. Wall Street was shaking, as was the City of London. The banks of South Korea, Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Iceland were all in trouble. We had seen nothing like it since 1929. Soon enough Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the US Federal Reserve and an expert on the Great Depression, said that this time it was worse.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 9, 2017.


  • Richard Sylla: This Is An Inherently Dangerous Moment In History

    The following video was published by ChrisMartensondotcom, on Aug 7, 2017
    “The rates we’ve had in recent years, including right now, are the lowest in history. The book that I co-authored on the history of interest rates traces back to the code of Hammurabi, Babylonian civilization, Greek and Roman civilization, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and early modern history right up to the present. And I can assure our listeners that the rates that they’re experiencing right now are the lowest in human history.”
    So says Richard Sylla, Professor Emeritus of Economics and the Former Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is also co-author of the book A History Of Interest Rates.


  • Here’s what happened when they raised taxes 2,000+ years ago

    In 353 BC, as violent class warfare broke out across ancient Greece, one wealthy Athenian lamented in his journal,
    When I was a boy, wealth was regarded as a thing so…admirable that almost everyone affected to own more property than he actually possessed. Now a man has to be ready to defend himself against being rich as if it were the worst of crimes.
    Ancient Greece had become deeply divided at that point.
    The opportunities from new ‘technology’ and new trade routes created a lot of wealth for many people. Others were left behind.
    Plato called it ‘the two cities’ of Athens – ‘one the city of the poor, the other of the rich, the one at war with the other.’
    Eventually the poorer citizens were able to take over ancient Greece’s prized democracy. And, putting themselves firmly in control of government institutions, the new politicians came up with the most creative ways of raising taxes, seizing property, and redistributing wealth.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on August 7, 2017.


  • IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece

    The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.
    This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.
    It describes a ‘culture of complacency’, prone to ‘superficial and mechanistic’ analysis, and traces a shocking breakdown in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.
    The report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) goes above the head of the managing director, Christine Lagarde. It answers solely to the board of executive directors, and those from Asia and Latin America are clearly incensed at the way European Union insiders used the fund to rescue their own rich currency union and banking system.
    The three main bailouts for Greece, Portugal and Ireland were unprecedented in scale and character. The trio were each allowed to borrow over 2,000pc of their allocated quota – more than three times the normal limit – and accounted for 80pc of all lending by the fund between 2011 and 2014.

    This post was published at The Telegraph


  • The Dark Underbelly of Spain’s Jobs Recovery

    Where Did All the Workers Go?
    Two years ago, the total number of unemployed in Spain, officially speaking, was 5.5 million – the equivalent of 23.2% of the country’s active population. It was the second-highest unemployment rate in the EU, far worse than third-place Hungary (18.5%) but not quite as terrible as Greece (26%).
    At that time, Spain was also proud home to the five European regions with the worst levels of unemployment. At the top of the heap was the southern province of Andalusia whose unemployment rate was close to 35%! Even fifth place, Castilla-la Mancha, had an unemployment rate of 29%.
    Now, after two years of consecutive quarters of robust GDP growth and an unprecedented tourist boom, things appear to have changed. At last count, unemployment was down to 17.2% – still depression-level, but no longer apocalyptic! For the first time since 2008 the number of unemployed in Spain is below four million. Even in Andalusia things are apparently improving since the region’s ranks of jobless have shrunk by 160,800 in the last year.
    This is all welcome news in a country with such chronic unemployment problems, but there are two important caveats: first, the active population in Spain continues to shrink, and that has an important hand in the improving figures; second, almost all of the new jobs that are being created are of the poorly paid and highly precarious kind.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Aug 1, 2017.


  • “The Euro Crisis Is Not Over” Former ECB Chief Economist Urges “Greek Sabbatical From EU”

    Otmar Issing, former Chief Economist and Member of the Board of the European Central Bank and the German Bundesbank, brings back the specter of Grexit scenarios, demanding a Euro-sabbatical for Greece.
    ***
    KeepTalkingGreece.com reports that, uin an interview with business news magazine Wirtschaftswoche, Issing warned of a new flare-up of the euro crisis.
    ‘The euro crisis is not over yet,’ said the economist, one of the architects of the Euro.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 31, 2017.


  • Our European Tour

    Our European Tour this season has been very enlightening including meetings with politicians, corporations and many of the top banks. The concern centers around the ECB having to change policy with regard to negative interest rates. The net result has been to create massive hoarding of cash rather than spending cash for the sake of just spending. The banks were hopeful that a rise in rates will bring the money pouring back in for deposits. The real concern has been that the authorities are hard on the big banks while ignoring the small banks. This is true even in Germany, for the lending on real estate in Europe has been extensive and the credit has been questionable although the lending limit on property is running about 80%. However, the income requirement is not stringent and if rates begin to rise, the fear is there may be set in motion a real estate crisis in Europe similar to the S&L Crisis in the States.
    Clearly, the big concerns have been that all the economic theories are turning to dust. Nearly 10 years of quantitative easing has utterly failed to reverse course and the banks are most vulnerable in Southern Europe namely in Greece, Italy, and Spain. The understanding of inflation has collapsed as has the quantity of money theory and the notion that when interest rates rose, the stock market should have dropped. All of these theories still taught in school have crumbled to dust in the real world and people are more and more reaching out for help and explanations other than opinion. Where’s the research? They say.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 31, 2017.


  • Who Bought The New Greek Bonds: Here Is The Answer

    After triumphantly returning to the bond market three years after it last issued a euro-denominated long bond (which one year later nearly defaulted when only a third bailout prevented Grexit), this morning Bloomberg has provided details of who the lucky buyers of the just priced 3BN bond offering were. And not surprisingly, the biggest source of new funds for the Greek government (which will then use most of this to pay interest owed to the ECB) were US buyers.
    As Bloomberg notes, just under half, or 1.425BN of the 3BN deal was new money with 1.57b of existing paper rolled, with the following geographic distribution of new sources of cash:
    U. S. 44% U. K./Ireland 26% Greece 14% France 7% Spain/Portugal/Italy 3% Germany/Austria 3% Others 3% By investor type:
    Fund managers 46% Hedge funds 36% Banks/private banks 13% Others 5%

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 26, 2017.


  • Greece Approved for $1.8 Billion Conditional Loan From IMF

    The International Monetary Fund agreed to a new conditional bailout for Greece, ending two years of speculation on whether it would join in another rescue and giving the seal of approval demanded by many of the country’s euro-area creditors.
    The Washington-based fund said Thursday its executive board approved ‘in principle’ a new loan worth as much as $1.8 billion. The disbursement of funds is contingent on euro-zone countries providing debt relief to Greece.
    ‘As we have said many times, even with full program implementation, Greece will not be able to restore debt sustainability and needs further debt relief from its European partners,’ IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. ‘A debt strategy anchored in more realistic assumptions needs to be agreed. I expect a plan to restore debt sustainability to be agreed soon between Greece and its European partners.’
    IMF officials estimate that, even if Greece carries out promised reforms, the nation’s debt will reach about 150 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, and become ‘explosive’ beyond that point. European creditors could bring the debt under control by extending grace periods, lengthening the maturity of the debt or deferring interest payments, the IMF said in a report accompanying the announcement.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • Greece Sells 3 Billion In Bonds In 2x Oversubscribed Offering

    So it can either come cheap with the new issue, which adds to existing debt service problems, or it can….structure around that.
    — Owen Sanderson (@OwenPSanderson) July 25, 2017

    Just over three years after Greece “triumphantly returned” to capital markets in April 2014, when it issued 3 billion in 5 year bonds at a yield of 4.95%, and a cash coupon of 4.75% – an offering which was 8x oversubcribed – and which crashed and nearly defaulted one year later when only the 3rd Greek bailout prevented the country from going bankrupt, only to get taken out at 102, moments ago Greece once again returned to the bond market, if far less triumphantly, by selling another 3 billion in 5 year paper which however was “only” 2x oversubscribed, with indications from Bloomberg that there was only 6.5 billion in demand for the “high yielding” paper. And speaking of yield, it came in lower than 3 years ago, pricing at 4.625% with a coupon of 4.375%.
    For those who did not get their desired allottment in today’s offering, fear not there will be more:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.


  • Greece Returns To The Bond Market With A Present To Its Last Group Of Bond Buyers

    On the same day that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras triumphantly announced to The Guardian that “The worst is clearly behind us“, Greece just as triumphantly announced that its long-rumored bond issue, the first after a three year hiatus which saw its last bond issue crash then surge, is now a reality. Just like in 2014, Greece is looking to sell another batch of five-year bonds, according to an Athens Stock Exchange filing. The bonds will be sold in benchmark size via a legion of banks, and are expected to price on Tuesday. In terms of total size, it will ultimately depend on client demand – recall that the the 2014 issue was 8x oversubscribed – with UBS expecting a possible size of 2BN-4BN while JPMorgan anticipates roughly 3BN in new bonds.
    But the biggest surprise in today’s announcement was the present for its latest batch of bond buyers: a cash tender offer for its existing 4.75% bonds due in 2019 – the same bonds that were issued in 2014 – which will be bought back at a price of 102.6. The 2019 bond have jumped in recent weeks, with the yield dropping around 15bps, though as Bloomberg notes “hardly anything has traded as is usual in Greek bonds.” The bond was priced around 102.25 ahead of the announcement, before rising another 30c.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 24, 2017.