by ilene - November 17th, 2010 2:43 pm
Courtesy of Gonzalo Lira
The sky is black with PIIGS coming home to roost: I was going to write my customary long and boring think piece—but the simmering crisis in the Eurozone just got the heat turned up: Things are boiling over there!
|“Euro Dead” by Ryca.|
So let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled programming, and give you a run-down of this late-breaking news:
The bond markets have no faith in Ireland—Greece has been shown up as having liedagain about its atrocious fiscal situation—and now Portugal is teetering—
—in other words, the PIIGS are screwed. I would venture to guess that we are about to see this slow-boiling European crisis bubble over into a full blown meltdown over the next few days—and it’s going to get messy.
So to keep everything straight, let’s recap:
The spreads on Irish sovereign debt widened, and the Germans are pressing them to accept a bailout—despite the fact that the Irish government is fully funded until the middle of 2011. But it’s not the Irish fiscal situation that the bond markets or the Germans are worried about—it’s the Irish banking sector that is freaking everyone out.
After all, the Irish government fully—and very foolishly—backed the insolvent Irish banks back in 2008. And for unexplained reasons, the Irish government is committed to honoring Irish bank bonds fully—which the country simply cannot afford. However, German banks are heavily exposed to Irish banks, which explains why Berlin is so eager to have Ireland accept a bailout.
Right now, European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank officials are meeting with Irish representatives, putting together a bail-out package. The reason the Irish are so leery, of course, is that any bail-out would be accompanied by very severe austerity measures: In other words, the Irish people would suffer the consequences of shoring up the Irish banks—which is the same as saying the Irish people would suffer austerity measures in order to keep German banks from suffering losses. Also, the EU/IMF/ECB bail-out would probably also cost the Irish their precious 12.5% corporate tax rate—a key magnet for bringing capital to the Emerald Isle.
Add to the Irish worry, Greece is once again wearing a bright red conical dunce cap: They’ve been shown up to have lied again about their fiscal situation. Three guesses what they lied about: If you guessed Greek deficit, you win—yesterday, the Greek government officially revised…
by ilene - September 28th, 2010 2:19 am
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
Tim Backshall On Europe: “Default Now Or Default Later” As EuroStat Complains That Greece Is Still Withholding Critical Data
by ilene - September 8th, 2010 5:57 am
Tim Backshall On Europe: "Default Now Or Default Later" As EuroStat Complains That Greece Is Still Withholding Critical Data
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
There is one major problem with putting houses of card back together – they tend to fall…over and over. And while abundant liquidity in May and June served as an artificial prop to return European core and PIIGS spreads to previous levels merely as mean reversion algos took holds, the second time around won’t be as lucky. CDR’s Tim Backshall was on the Strategy Session today, discussing the key trends in sovereign products over the past few months, noting the declining liquidity in both sovereign cash and derivative exposure (we will refresh on the DTCC sovereign data later after its weekly Tuesday update). Yet the most interesting observation by Backshall is the declining halflife of risk-on episodes, which much like the SNB’s (now declining) interventions, are having less of an impact on the market, as ever worsening fundamentals can only be swept under the carpet for so long before they really start stinking up the place, and indeed, as Tim points out at 5:30 into the interview, even the IMF now realizes that soon the eventual second domino will fall, and it is better the be prepared (via the previously discussed infinitely expanded credit line), than to have to scramble in the last minute as was necessary in May. In other words, the storm clouds are gathering and only fools will invest in risk asset without getting some additional clarity on what is happening in Europe. The bottom line as Backshall asks is: "do they default now or default later." And that pretty much sums it up. Buy stocks at your own peril.
Incidentally all this is happening as we read in an exclusive Bloomberg piece that "four months after the 110 billion- euro ($140 billion) bailout for Greece, the nation still hasn’t disclosed the full details of secret financial transactions it used to conceal debt" and that EuroStat still has not received the required disclosure about just how fake (or real) the Greek debt situation truly is. When one steps back and ponders just how bad (and unknown) the situation in Europe is, and that stocks are unchanged for the year, one must conclude, as Dylan Grice does every week, that the lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.
The ECB Blasts Governmental Fear-Based Racketeering, Questions Keynesianism, Believes The Fed’s Powers Are Overestimated
by ilene - May 29th, 2010 4:58 pm
The ECB Blasts Governmental Fear-Based Racketeering, Questions Keynesianism, Believes The Fed’s Powers Are Overestimated
Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge
In what could one day be seen by historians as a seminal speech presented before the Paul Volcker-chaired Group of Thirty’s 63rd Plenary Session in Rabat, the ECB’s Lorenzo Bini Smaghi had two messages: a prosaic, and very much expected one: of unity and cohesion, if at least in perception if not in deed, as well as an extremely unexpected one, in which the first notable discords at the very peak of the power echelons, are finally starting to leak into the public domain. It is in the latter part that Bini Smaghi takes on a very aggressive stance against not only the so-called "inflation tax", or the purported ability of central bankers to inflate their way out of any problem, but also slams the recently prevalent phenomenon of fear-mongering by the banking and political elite, which has become the goto strategy over the past two years whenever the banking class has needed to pass a policy over popular discontent. The ECB member takes a direct stab at the Fed’s perceived monetary policy inflexibility and US fiscal imprudence, and implicitly observes that while the market is focusing on Europe due to its monetary policy quandary, it should be far more obsessed with the US. Bini Smaghi also fires a warning shot that ongoing divergence between the ECB and Germany will not be tolerated. Most notably, a member of a central bank makes it very clear that he is no longer a devout believer in that fundamental, and false, central banking religion – Keynesianism.
First, a quick read through the "prosaic" sections of Bini Smaghi’s letter.
Bini Smaghi, who is a member of the executive board of the ECB, has a primary obligation to defend the ECB’s public image in this time of weakness and complete lack of credibility. And so he does. When discussing the ECB’s response to the Greek fiasco and contagion, he is steadfast that the response, although delayed and volatile, was the right one. Furthermore, he claims that the hard path Europe has set on is the right one, as it will ultimately right all the fiscal wrongs, even without the benefit of individual monetary intervention. Ultimately, the ECB is convinced that not letting Greece fail, either in the…
by ilene - May 17th, 2010 3:21 am
“For want of a nail . . . the kingdom was lost.” Will Greece’s debt crisis lead to a Greek debt default and the collapse of the euro and an ensuing collapse of the 27-member European Union (or EU), and trigger the next round of crashes that will be described by economic historians decades from now as “the Great Depression II”? The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife in Sarajevo, Serbia brought the tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia to a head. In turn, it is said this triggered a chain of international events that embroiled Russia and the major European powers; and World War I broke out in Europe. Will Greece’s debt crisis set a series of events in motion that sends the world into a downward economic spiral of unfathomable proportions?
For years, I have wrestled with the question of whether the Europe would collapse economically, politically, socially and militarily. Sounds absurd, you say? The countries are too interwoven and mutually dependent now for that to happen, and at the very least they will muddle along, making the worst of the best situations, and achieving the lowest common denominator? The United States of Europe, they are not and never will be, but they have achieved a degree of cohesiveness that I never thought was likely years ago.
I believed jealousies and rivalries and, yes, the hatreds of the past would linger barely beneath the surface, coming unglued at the most inopportune times when it really mattered the most. When the chips were down, I felt the EU would splinter and fall apart; and that its participants and the world would write it off as a noble experiment that failed, much like the League of Nations. After all, its successor—the United Nations—is considered to be a colossal joke by Americans, many of whom would love to see it shipped to Europe, and its building on the East River in Manhattan bulldozed and turned into a park, or made into co-ops or condominiums.
The bitter hatreds of the past seem to have subsided in Europe though, and it has become a cultural melting pot, more and more. Airbus was the first tangible sign of economic integration that I never thought would…
by ilene - May 11th, 2010 1:19 am
More Eurozone Bailout analogies,… this one from Marek Belka, the IMF’s chief representative for Europe. – Ilene
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
I’m so glad someone involved in this mess has finally gotten real about what it is.
The $1 trillion global emergency package for the euro zone is "morphine" that has the potential to calm markets but should not be seen as a long-term solution, the IMF’s head for Europe said on Monday.
"What has happened last night gives a little bit of relief for the Europeans. It has potential for calming down markets," Belka, who took part in the ministers’ meeting, told a World Economic Forum conference in Brussels.
"Don’t treat it as a long-term solution. It is a kind of morphine that stabilises the patient. Real treatment has yet to come."
by ilene - October 7th, 2009 9:15 pm
“A year ago,” said law professor Ross Buckley on Australia’s ABC News last week, “nobody wanted to know the International Monetary Fund. Now it’s the organiser for the international stimulus package which has been sold as a stimulus package for poor countries.”
The IMF may have catapulted to a more exalted status than that. According to Jim Rickards, director of market intelligence for scientific consulting firm Omnis, the unannounced purpose of last week’s G20 Summit in Pittsburgh was that “the IMF is being anointed as the global central bank.” In a CNBC interview on September 25, Rickards said, “They’ve issued debt for the first time in history. They’re issuing SDRs. The last SDRs came out around 1980 or ’81, $30 billion. Now they’re issuing $300 billion. When I say issuing, it’s printing money; there’s nothing behind these SDRs.”
SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are a synthetic currency originally created by the IMF to replace gold and silver in large international transactions. But they have been little used until now. Why does the world suddenly need a new global fiat currency and global central bank? Rickards says it because of “Triffin’s Dilemma,” a problem first noted by economist Robert Triffin in the 1960s. When the world went off the gold standard, a reserve currency had to be provided by some large-currency country to service global trade. But leaving its currency out there for international purposes meant that the country would have to continually run large deficits, and that meant it would eventually go broke. The U.S. has fueled the world economy for the last 50 years, but now it is going broke. The U.S. can settle its debts and get its own house in order, but that would cause world trade to contract. A substitute global reserve currency is needed to fuel the global economy while the U.S. solves its debt problems, and that new currency is to be the IMF’s SDRs.
That’s the solution to Triffin’s dilemma, says Rickards, but it leaves the U.S. in a vulnerable position. If we face a war or other global catastrophe, we no longer have the privilege of printing money. The dollar becomes just another currency. To avoid…