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.

“Fully Self-Driving Cars Are Here” – Waymo To Begin Testing Driver-Free Autonomous Taxis In Phoenix

From here on out, if you see a car without a driver meandering around suburban Phoenix, don’t be alarmed: It’s just Google’s Waymo division testing its new driverless taxis – the first of their kind to be tested on US roads without the supervision of a ‘safety driver.”
Wayno has revealed that – effective immediately – it will begin testing the driverless taxis – referred to in technologist parlance as a ‘level 5’ driverless vehicle – in Chandler, Arizona. Thew news represents an important milestone that establishes Waymo as the leader in automated driving technology. Waymo CEO John Krafcik made the announcement Tuesday during in a speech at a web summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
‘We want the experience of traveling with Waymo to be routine, so you want to use our driver for your everyday needs,’ John Krafcik, Waymo’s chief executive officer, said at the Web Summit conference in Portugal. ‘Fully self-driving cars are here.”
According to Ars Technica, for the last year, Waymo has offered free taxi rides to ordinary people who live near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. Until recently, the company’s modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans had a Waymo employee in the driver’s seat ready to take control if the car malfunctioned.

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

Gold Will Be Safe Haven Again In Looming EU Crisis

– Gold will be safe haven again in looming EU crisis
– EU crisis is no longer just about debt but about political discontent
– EU officials refuse to acknowledge changing face of politics across the union
– Catalonia shows measures governments will use to maintain control
– EU currently holds control over banks accounts and ability to use cash
– Protect your savings with gold in the face of increased financial threat from EU
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
When we talk about the Eurozone crisis we are usually referring to the Eurozone debt crisis. According to the OECD the debt crisis of 2011 was the world’s greatest threat.
In the years that followed, Germany, France and the UK led EU members in their efforts to stave off debt defaults from the likes of Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain and, of course, Greece. This was partly in order to protect the German, French and UK banks who had lent irresponsibly into the periphery EU nations and were very exposed.

This post was published at Gold Core on October 26, 2017.

The Best And Worst Performing Assets In September, Q3 And 2017 YTD

While September and Q3 were the latest solid month for US risk assets, which ended the month and quarter at all time highs, across the globe returns were relatively more mixed for the sample of assets tracked by Deutsche Bank. That said, a large number of assets (21 of 39 in local currency terms) finished with a total return between -1% and +1% which in part reflects another month of incredibly low volatility with the VIX in particular spending much of it trading between 9.5 and 11.0. In the end, excluding currencies 19 out of 39 assets finished the month with a positive total return in local currency and USD hedged terms.
As Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid reports this morning, in terms of the movers and shakers, commodities dominated the top of the German bank’s leaderboard with Wheat (+9%), WTI (+9%) and Brent (+8%) all finishing with a high single digit return. It’s worth noting however that this does follow heavy falls for the price of Wheat and WTI in August. Equities generally had a strong month, particularly in Europe where a slightly weaker euro (-1%) aided local currency returns. The DAX (+6%), FTSE MIB (+5%), Stoxx 600 (+4%), Portugal General (+4%) and IBEX (+1%) all finished firmer – the latter underperforming however reflecting elevated tension around the Catalan referendum. Returns in USD terms were 0% to +6%. It’s worth also noting the return for European Banks (+5% local, +4% USD) which got a boost from the slightly higher rate environment. There were two standout underperformers in equity markets however. The first was the Greek Athex which tumbled -8% in local terms although still remains up an impressive +19% YTD. The other was the FTSE 100 which fell -1% under the weight of a strong month for Sterling (+4%) following the BoE signalling an imminent rate hike as well as some progress around Brexit talks. Indeed in USD terms the FTSE 100 was up +3%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 2, 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.
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.

Asian Metals Market Update: August-18-2017

The terror attack in Spain is very good for gold demand from Europe. I have been repeating in my previous reports that Islamisation of Europe equals Shariaization of Europe. There will be religious clashes between migrant Islamic radicals and traditional native Europeans. Japan is a peaceful nation as it does not allow migrants. Once Japan allows migrants it will also be on the way to become another Pakistan.
France, Germany, UK, Holland and Portugal all had colonies in Asia. History is repeating itself with Europe.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 18 August 2017.

Saint-Tropez – The Billionaire’s Harbor is Empty

When you impose drastic and excessively high taxes to get the ‘rich’ and their yachts, they just sail away. Saint-Tropez, which was known as the ‘Billionaire’s Harbor’ is just about empty. The yachts sailed off to Italy and Spain abandoning the French Riviera. The local government is pleading with Macron to intervene. They say revenue is already off 30% for boating fees. However, the whole community is feeling it because the ‘rich’ spend money more easily in local restaurants and shops. So the whole economy in South France is dropping very sharply.
In addition, from people I know personally, they have set sail to Portugal to also escape from the refugee madness. It will be interesting to see what happens to the tourism revenue at the end of the summer.
Armstrong Economics

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Aug 4, 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

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.

Nobody told the euro that Mario Draghi was dovish

If Mario Draghi was trying to talk down the euro, it didn’t go so well.
The European Central Bank president attempted to strike as dovish a stance as was possible given the circumstances in his news conference Thursday. He emphasized the lack of a pickup in underlying inflation, insisted the Governing Council won’t really think about tapering until the fall, and banged away on how the central bank could actually ramp up its quantitative easing program, should conditions deteriorate.
The performance was seemingly a disappointment to anyone looking for reassurance when the ECB will lay out what it plans to do with its quantitative easing program in 2018. The ECB is committed to continuing it program of 60 billion a month in bond purchases through the end of the year, ‘or beyond.’
But euro bulls didn’t appear to care. The shared currency EUR/USD, -0.0086% jumped during the news conference and then extended gains, topping $1.16 versus the dollar and trading at its highest level since August 2015.
The news conference performance was in contrast to a speech in Portugal late last month that got investors primed for a QE wind-down. At that conference, Draghi’s emphasis on how reflationary pressures were replacing deflationary pressures was the trigger.

This post was published at Market Watch

The Best And Worst Performing Assets In The First Half Of 2017

The first half of the year may have been forgettable for a majority of the smart money and hedge funds, with nearly 80% once again underperformingttheir benchmarks due to months of P&L crushing short squeezes, but it was a buoyant time for equity markets and virtually all asset classes, for one simple reason: a record central bank liquidity injection of over $1.5 trillion YTD. Of course, that central banks had to flood markets with so much liquidity as the global economy is allegedly recovering is the main reason why nobody actually believes in said “recovery”, and neither do the central bankers.
They did succeed however in generating outsized returns for the first 6 months of 2017, and as Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid writes, the first half of 2017 has been an overall positive half year for our sample of assets. Reid continues below:
Indeed with measures of volatility for a number of asset classes at historically low levels, 32 out of 39 assets in our sample have delivered a positive total return while 35 assets have done similar in USD terms. In summary, equity markets have led the way with 9 out of the top 10 positions in our leaderboard. The peripherals stand out the most with the Greek Athex (+40%), IBEX (+24%) and Portugal General (+22%) all delivering decent double digit returns. European Banks (+20%) have extended a rally which started this time a year ago following a torrid start to 2016. EM equities (+19%), Stoxx 600 (+17%) and the S&P 500 (+9%) have also seen a more than solid start to the year. For bonds, in USD terms returns sit in the +2% to +9% range with the peripherals outperforming.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 4, 2017.

Euro Surges, Bunds Tumble On Unexpectedly Hawkish Draghi Comments

The euro surged to its highest in two weeks after Mario Draghi, speaking at the ECB forum in Sintra, Portugal, surprised markets who expected yet another dovish speech from the central banker, who instead signaled that stimulus tapering may be closer than the market anticipated and said factors weighing on inflation in the euro zone were “mainly temporary” and the central bank could look through them.
Speaking at the ECB’s annual policy forum, Draghi highlighted a recovering euro zone economy that ‘the threat of deflation is gone and reflationary forces are at play’ and that that the effects that keep inflation subdued are temporary and won’t let inflation deviate from its trend over the medium term. but added that stimulus in the form of the ECB’s monetary support was still needed.
The market broadly interpreted his unexpected comments as opening the way for the start of tapering even as core inflation readings fail to reach fresh highs. As Reuters adds, Draghi’s comments “sounded to investors like he was ready to give more ground on German demands that the ECB get on with starting to reduce the volume of extra euros it is feeding monthly into the economy.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.

Global Equity Markets Mostly Weaker; Focus On Central Bankers’ Speeches

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
(Kitco News) – World stock markets were mostly weaker overnight and U. S. stock indexes are also pointed toward modestly lower openings when the New York day session begins.
Gold prices are seeing a short-covering bounce with moderate gains Tuesday after prices hit a five-week low on Monday.
In overnight news, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said at a conference in Portugal the ECB will not be in a hurry to wind down its accommodative monetary policy because the European Union’s collective economy is still in recovery mode. However, he also said the Eurozone economy is growing ‘above trend’ and said inflation will increase at some point down the road, which will prompt the ECB to tighten its monetary policy. Draghi’s overall upbeat comments on the Eurozone lifted the euro currency and sent European bond yields higher.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to make a speech in London Tuesday, where she may remark on the U. S. economy and Fed monetary policy.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jim Wyckoff ‘ June 27, 2017.

“Hawkish Shock” From Draghi, PBOC Intervention Fail To Move Futures As Attention Turns To Yellen

S&P futures were fractionally in the red, pressured by a drop in European shares following what several desks called a “hawkish shock” speech by Mario Draghi at the annual ECB forum in Portugal, even as oil rose for a fourth day, boosted by favoriable remarks from China’s premier Li, while the Yuan surged 0.4% amid speculation of more PBOC interference in the yuan.
The overnight session was divided in two parts: the early European focus on a spike higher in Chinese yuan, with some speculating on PBOC intervention, others cite tightening in yuan forward curve. Metals and crude both rallied broadly in response, USD pushed weaker against G-10.
Speaking of the sharp move in both the onshore and offshore Yuan, Ken Cheung, a currency strategist at Mizuho told Bloomberg ‘This seems like intervention” and added that “They may be eager to keep the onshore yuan quarter-close to near 6.8 per dollar. The quarter-end rate may be an important indicator for foreign central bank reserve managers to consider adding the yuan as assets. Other reasons could be maintaining a strong yuan outlook before the launch of the Hong Kong bond connect.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.

Deutsche Marks Still Being Hoarded as Hedge Against Euro

It may sound crazy that an old currency is still being hoarded 16 years after the introduction of the euro. However, the Germans still have been hoarding Deutsche Marks and coins worth some 6.5 billion euros. Why? Germany never put a time limit upon when you had to swap out the old currency. About a third of old currency notes of the Eurozone are now totally worthless. Portugal gave the shortest exchange period to its citizens of the country – just one year.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Apr 12, 2017.

Is Europe Choosing To Disappear?

A sterile Europe apparently thought that civil liberties could be bargained away in exchange for a temporary peace. Everything became negotiable. As British author Douglas Murray has asked, why were workers not brought in from European countries suffering high unemployment, such as Portugal, Italy, Greece or Spain? A clear-eyed U. S. Congressman, Rep. Steve King, correctly said recently that, “You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He instantly drew that white-hot fire reserved for people who tell truths that threaten treasured fantasies (think Giordano Bruno or Galileo). The new data released by Italy’s National Institute for Statistics for 2016 sounds again like a death knell. There has been a new negative record of births: 474,000 compared to 486,000 for 2015, which had already fallen to historic lows. There were 608,000 deaths in 2016. In one year, Italy lost 134,000 people — the equivalent of a city of the size of Ferrara or Salerno.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 5, 2017.

EURUSD, Bond Yields Tumble After ECB Walks Back Policy Shift: “Wary Of Upsetting Investors”

The Euro and European bond yields tumbled this morning after Reuters reported ‘sources’ saying the ECB is wary of fresh policy change (i.e. the expected quasi-tightening) before the June meeting, because it is worried about bond yield spikes.
Via Reuters:
European Central Bank policymakers are wary of making any new change to their policy message in April after small tweaks this month upset investors and raised the specter of a surge in borrowing costs for the bloc’s indebted periphery. One ECB source said the bank has been overinterpreted by markets at its March 9 meeting.
Taken aback when markets started to price in an interest rate hike early next year, policymakers are keen to reassure investors that their easy-money policy is far from ending, suggesting reluctance change message before June, six sources in and close to the Governing Council indicated.
While the current level of bond yields remains acceptable, a further increase would be problematic, particularly in places like Italy, Spain and Portugal, where debt payments are a major cost item and rising yields would curb spending and thwart growth.
With the euro zone economy on its best run in almost a decade and conservative policymakers# keen to start winding down stimulus, the ECB gave a small nod to improvement with a tweak of its guidance in early March, axing a reference to being ready to act with all available instruments.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 29, 2017.

EU Banking Crisis Meets Euro-TARP on Angel Dust

If the ECB scales back stimulus, banks face even greater risk of collapse. But now there’s a new solution.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Events are moving so fast in Europe these days, it’s almost impossible to keep up. While much of the attention is being hogged by political developments, including the election in the Netherlands, Reuters published a report warning that the European banking sector may face even higher bad loan risks if the ECB begins to scale back its monetary stimulus programs, something it has already begun, albeit extremely tentatively.
The total stock of non-performing loans (NPL) in the EU is estimated at over 1 trillion, or 5.4% of total loans, a ratio three times higher than in other major regions of the world.
On a country-by-country basis, things take look even scarier. Currently 10 (out of 28) EU countries have an NPL ratio above 10% (orders of magnitude higher than what is generally considered safe). And among Eurozone countries, where the ECB’s monetary policies have direct impact, there are these NPL stalwarts:
Ireland: 15.8% Italy: 16.6% Portugal: 19.2%

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Mar 17, 2017.

Pettis: Capital Flooding Into US as Global Trade Environment Deteriorates

Stock markets continue to roar higher on better global economic data and expectations for pro-growth policies from the US. Beneath the surface, however, it appears that capital is herding in a manner similar to prior market booms that didn’t end too well.
This time on FS Insider, we spoke with Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University and senior associate for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about his views on capital flows, trade imbalances, and what they mean for the world economy in the future.
Imbalances Worsening
Trade imbalances, particularly in Europe, have worsened since Pettis wrote his book, The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy, a few years back.
The reason for the current imbalance is because Germany has been running huge surpluses, and because of the rules of the Euro, countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal, have been prevented from adjusting. As a result, these high-inflation countries with converging interest rates ended up with negative real interest rates.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 02/22/2017.

Gold Up 9% YTD – 4th Higher Weekly Close and Breaks Resistance At $1,250/oz

Gold up 1.5% in euros and dollars this week Silver up 1.4% this week and now up 14.3% and is the best performing market YTD Gold up 9% year to date – fourth consecutive higher weekly close and breaks resistance at $1,250/oz Gold up 9.4% in euros year to date as Le Pen’s lead in polls widened Gold up another 6.4% in sterling pounds year to date as ‘Hard Brexit’ looms French and Dutch elections pose risks to Eurozone itself and the entire European Union project Euro contagion risk on renewed concerns this week about new debt crisis due to extremely high public debt and very fragile banks in Greece, Italy and Portugal Gold pushed to near a four month high amid heightened political uncertainty in the U. S. and the EU this morning.
Gold rose another $6.40, or 0.5%, to $1,258 an ounce and is currently set for a 1.5% gain this week. It is higher for a second day today and looks set for a fourth consecutive week of gains which is positive from a technical and momentum perspective.
All precious metals have made gains, gold, silver, platinum and palladium, as both the euro and the dollar weakened.

This post was published at Gold Core on February 24, 2017.