by ilene - January 21st, 2011 9:42 pm
Courtesy of Zero Hedge
Europe risks getting it wrong again on rate rises
From European Central Bank, posted first in the FT
The euro project has not gone according to plan. It reminds me of the story of the James Bond character Q, based on the British intelligence officer Charles Fraser-Smith. It was he who invented a compass for spies hidden in a button that unscrewed clockwise. The contraption was based on the simple yet brilliant theory that the unswerving logic of the German mind would never guess that something might unscrew the wrong way. This is really what happened with the euro. New member states were supposed to take lower German interest rates and invest their resources wisely to improve and deepen their productive capacity. Instead, they used the advantage to finance speculative asset bubbles. The peripheral nations of Europe turned the wrong way. The Germans are unhappy.
But, desperate to cling to monetary union, the other European sovereigns have opted to default on their spending promises to voters rather than impose a haircut on their financial creditors. In the 1920s the pay-off structure had been very different. The first world war took an intolerable toll on the typical household both in terms of the loss of life and financial well-being; everyone had become poorer. Accordingly, there was little willingness on the part of the ruling political class to force austerity measures to redress the fiscal imbalances. The people had suffered long enough. Consequently, there was much procrastination and fiscal deficits persisted way beyond the end of the war, making capital markets reluctant to accept the waning security of government paper and forcing the sovereign to rely on the central bank’s printing press.
This time around, however, the political class has concluded that the Greeks (especially the Greeks!) and the other peripheral states have done so well off the back of the euro project that it is their turn to shoulder the burden. They calculate that the social pain would be less severe than the financial costs of a debt default and/or a euro exit. Of course, this is to neglect the financial consequences of bailing out the financial sector in 2008 and its ensuing impact on the ordinary household. Can an analogy be drawn between the first world…
by ilene - December 9th, 2010 11:49 am
Courtesy of Zero Hedge
Remember Europe and that insolvent country which Ron Insana conclusively determined does not matter? It’s back on the scene after Reuters reports that the main Irish opposition Labor party has just announced it will vote against the IMF/EU bailout package. Just what spin Olli Rehn will have to use to calm markets after his latest vassal nation continually refuses to go quietly into that good night, remains to be seen.
The euro extended declines on Thursday after a spokesperson from Ireland’s centre-left opposition Labour party said the party will vote against an 85 billion euro IMF/EU bailout package when it is put before parliament for approval next week.
"Labour would vote against it because we consider it a bad deal," she told Reuters. Ireland’s governing Fianna Fail party said on Thursday it would seek parliamentary approval for the rescue funds.
by phil - December 8th, 2010 8:28 am
So many things are pissing me off today.
I got my political outrage out of the way in my earlier post: "Thanks for the Gas Money, Mr. President," so we don't need to talk about that again. Ireland, as of 7:45, has not actually voted to accept the EU's deal, which will pull $20,000 per Irish family directly from national pension funds to pay for the speculative mistakes of Irish Banks. Additionally, the Irish people are being asked to borrow another $75,000 per family from the EU at about 6% interest, also to pay for the speculative mistakes made by the Irish Banks. While this may seem insane – it's only a drop in the bucket compared to what Americans are spending to bail out our own speculators so why shouldn't they join the club?
At least Ireland gets to vote for their obligations, we have a Federal Reserve System where a single man, known as "The Bernank" is able to spend what is now heading towards $3.5Tn of OUR MONEY to bail out his banking buddies. That's $31,818 per American family spent over two years IN ADDITION to the stuff I complained about Obama and our spineless Government spending in the last post.
As I said, things are pissing me off today! I should be in a better mood – we had a fabulous day trading in Member Chat yesterday. In yesterday's post, I closed with "One last stab at making some bearish profits for us (see Morning Alert)" and you can click on that Alert, which was posted on Seeking Alpha and check out our trade ideas for the $10,000 to $50,000 Virtual Portfolio which included (at 7:22 am yesterday) QID Jan $10 calls, which opened at $1.80 and finished at $2 (up 11%), DIA Dec $114 puts, which opened at .80 and finished at $1.33 (up 66%), XRT Jan $44 puts, which opened at .35 and finished at .55 (up 57%), USO Jan $36 puts, which opened at .66 and finished at .90 (up 36%), PCLN weekly $400 puts, which opened at $50 and finished at $1.40 (up 180%) and NFLX Jan $155 puts, which opened at $1.70 and finished at $2.30 (up 35%) but should look much better this morning, where we will…
by phil - December 7th, 2010 8:29 am
Thank you Republicans!
The party of fiscal responsibility has strong-armed the President and what little is left on the Democrats in Congress to extend the Bush Tax cuts for another two years at a cost of "just" $830Bn to the little people who still have to pay taxes. They accomplished this by allowing the Democrats to extend $56Bn of additional unemployment relief to the 2M families who were cut off on Friday and were about to go their first week without checks with just 17 shopping days left until Christmas. Of course, the Democrats don't just bend, they BREAK and the Republicans also got a 30% reduction in the estate taxes that are projected to cost an additional $66Bn to the people who don't have $5M estates. Merry Christmas, rich folks – Lloyd bless us, everyone!
"But Phil," you may ask "who actually does pay taxes?" When your deficit is about as high as your net collections – the answer is: No one really – or no anyone who matters, anyway. As I've often told you, our Corporate Overlords actually pay just 2.4% of our GDP in taxes, just $138Bn last year which was less than the $6Tn in bailouts they collected by a factor of 43 – no wonder they are doing so well! As you can see from the chart, Estate and Excise taxes are barely a point on the graph and Individual income taxes are barely 6% while Employment Taxes have jumped from 1.5% of GDP in 1950 to 7.5% today – that's a 400% increase but don't worry, it only affects your first $106,800 in income – after that, ZERO! That way, if you earn $1M, the jump in payroll taxes from $1,250 to $6,250 is just 0.5% of your income vs the 5% increase borne by a person earning $100,000 or less.
Imagine if all 140M US workers were given an even $6,000 break ($840Bn divided by 140M) on their take-home pay by just eliminating those SS deductions (it's not like they'll ever get that money back anyway)? Why everyone would immediately be taking home $500 more per month. Of course we know that the poor people would only "waste" it on food, shelter and clothing so our wise government has guided the bailout to the places it will…
by phil - December 6th, 2010 8:28 am
"We think the global (and overall European) outlook remains robust."
That’s the word from Goldman Sachs’ Erik Nielson this weekend, who also observes that he was "Possibly deluded by the wonderful vibrancy of California." Deluded indeed seems to be an excellent choice of words with a new report out showing that California leads the nation in a local government pension crisis that has a $3.5Tn hole to fill and will not be sufficient to pay benefits through 2020 along with 5 other states while another 20 states will run out of funding by 2025. Is Nielson just saying anything to herd more suckers into the market by telling the sidelined cash that it’s safe to go back in the water or is he cleverly employing an SEP Field to bamboozle the public?
An SEP (Somebody Else’s Problem) Field s an effect that causes people to ignore matters which are generally important to a group but may not seem specifically important to the individual. As Douglas Adams put it:
An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem… The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye. It relies on people’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, were not expecting, or can’t explain.
SEP’s are commonly used by politicians to justify ridiculous policies like kicking crises down the road, ignoring pension and other unfunded obligations (that’s going to be your children’s problem), massive deficits (grandchildren’s problem), unemployment (lazy people’s problem), global warming (someone living south of you’s problem) and, of course unfair tax policies (poor people’s problem). They are also used by analysts, CEOs, their lobbyists and journalists (especially TV ones) to distract the "beautiful sheeple" from focusing on what’s really happening.
Not at all our problem is the price of vegetables in China and that’s a good thing for us because they have risen 20% in 30 days. Officially, China’s inflation rate was 4.4% in October but even that is expected to jump 14% to 5% in November. "Many see China’s monetary tightening as a pre-emptive tap on…
Terms of Enslavement; Irish Citizens Say “Default”; Agreement Violates EU and Irish Laws; 50 Ways to Leave the Euro
by ilene - November 29th, 2010 3:06 pm
Mish writes about selling Ireland down the river in Terms of Enslavement; Irish Citizens Say "Default"; Agreement Violates EU and Irish Laws; 50 Ways to Leave the Euro. - Ilene
Courtesy of Mish
ANY Ireland bailout terms are onerous given that it is not Ireland that is bailed out but rather banks in the UK, Germany, US, and France (in that order).
Moreover and unfortunately, the exact deal foolishly agreed to by Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is not only amazingly bad for Ireland, but one of the provisions violates EU and Irish law.
Terms of Enslavement
Please consider these terms as outlined in EU agrees on $89 billion bailout loan for Ireland
- Ireland gets Euro 67.5 billion ($89.4 billion) in bailout loans
- The 16-nation eurozone, the full 27-nation EU, and the global donors of the International Monetary Fund each commit euro 22.5 billion ($29.8 billion).
- Interest rates on the loans would be 6.05 percent from the eurozone fund, 5.7 percent from the EU fund and 5.7 percent from the IMF.
- Ireland will have 10 years to pay off its IMF loans.
- The first repayment won’t be required until 4 1/2 years after a drawdown.
- Prime Minister Brian Cowen said Ireland will take euro 10 billion immediately to boost the capital reserves of its state-backed banks
Comparison to Greece
For comparison purposes Greece has three years to repay its loans at an interest rate of 5.2 percent.
Debt Slave Entrapment
The key to understanding how quickly Ireland is made a debt slave can be found in this not so innocuous paragraph.
Ireland first must run down its own cash stockpile and deploy its previously off-limits pension reserves in the bailout. Until now Irish and EU law had made it illegal for Ireland to use its pension fund to cover current expenditures. This move means Ireland will contribute euro 17.5 billion to its own salvation.
The last sentence in the above paragraph should read "Ireland will contribute euro 17.5 billion to its own destruction"
Moreover, once all of its own funds have been deployed, Ireland would be dependent on the IMF for life.
Salt Onto Open Wounds
Like pouring salt onto an open wound, the EU finance ministers agreed on a permanent mechanism, starting in 2013, that would allow a country to restructure its debts once it has been deemed insolvent.
One aspect of that
by phil - November 29th, 2010 8:01 am
"Investors are drawn to China like moths to a flame." – Neil Woodford
That’s a great quote. Neil is the head of investments at Invesco, running the UK’s largest investment fund with a decade of 15% average returns under his belt so let’s take the man seriously for starters. Mr Woodford’s concerns coincide with figures showing that food prices in China were 10.1pc higher in October than in the same month last year – a level of inflation not seen since mid-2007. This is deepening concern that China’s economy is now starting to overheat.
"I do not deny that in the long term an economy like China will grow much more rapidly than the West. But I think one has to be very careful about correlating growth necessarily with economic opportunity, and opportunity to make money," said Mr. Woodford.
And so it is that the moths are all drawn to the light, even as it burns them. For they are blindly drawn to its grace, hitting their heads about the light, destroying their senses, going without food, and becoming easy prey to those that hunt them. Even those few moths that will get within the embrase of the light will burn unable to escape, ever.
There was no escape for Ireland this weekend as the IMF and EU pinned the country down and forced them to swallow a $130Bn aid package at (get this!) 6.7%. $17.5Bn of this money is to come out of Irish pension funds all just to make sure Bill Gross doesn’t lose any of the money he lent to Ireland! I honestly cannot tell you who is the more vile, despicable villain in this debacle. Is it the banks, who started this mess with their idiotic lending practices? Is it the lobbyists and lawmakers, who turned Ireland into a tax haven for EU Corporations and destroyed the economy by funneling tax breaks to the wealthy? Is it the Irish Government, who stupidly bailed out the failing banks with guarantees that put the nation on the hook for more money than their entire GDP. Is it the bondholders, who drove up the cost of financing Ireland’s newfound debt to levels that threatened to break the National Bank or is it the EU & IMF, who are effectively playing the role of loan sharks, borrowing $100Bn at…
by phil - November 26th, 2010 8:11 am
Ah, you guys fall for it every time, don't you?
They take it up for BS reason, they take it down for BS reasons and, somehow, they get you to commit to some thing or another that goes the wrong way within a day or two. And you guys wonder why I like cash… You can't leave anything on the table in this market! Today's reason du jure for the markets pulling back is Europe again and, as we laid out for you weeks ago – it's now on to Portugal as the next "crisis" in the making.
It looks like almost all of Wednesday's gains will be wiped out by the time we open but let's keep in mind all this EU nonsense is nothing but hyena attacks as most of these countries are not in that bad shape overall – certainly no worse than we are (maybe we're next!). Anyone can be next. If you want to attack a country, you can attack any country where you can get traction on rumors that POTENTIAL bank losses exceed GDP – that's a banking failure.
Once you get just a small amount of people to believe the banks may fail, then the rates start going up (and big investors can give them a little push artificially, of course, to get the ball rolling). Once the banks have to borrow at higher rates, then they need more capital reserves and then you can scream that they were lying about their capital requirements and call for "investigations" and that will convince more people they are hiding something and then the rates go higher and they need more capital and the bears can then parade on TV saying that they knew all along and that the banks are insolvent and they can EXTRAPOLATE that, at the rate things are going – the whole country will be bust in X amount of time…
You can do this to anyone, anytime. Only if we stop the speculators from profiting from this game will it ever end. The reason that there are no runs on banks in China and Russia isn't because their banks are more solid – I'll bet there are Chinese banks who have nothing but…
by phil - November 24th, 2010 8:10 am
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?
The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown – The Clash
Portugal is having a national strike today and labor unions in Ireland are planning “mass mobilization” in protest of planned spending cuts, with a march in Dublin on Nov. 27.
Portugal said in September it would cut the wage bill by 5 percent for public workers earning more than 1,500 euros ($2005) a month, freeze hiring and raise value-added taxes by 2 percentage points to 23 percent to help reduce a deficit that amounted to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product last year. The measures are included in the government’s 2011 spending plan, which faces a final vote in parliament on Nov. 26. “The strike arises in a context of a set of measures that are quite significant and have social impact,” said Carlos Firme, a director at Lisbon-based Banif Banco de Investimento SA. “It’s natural that there are demonstrations of discontent.”
I'm sure King George's Bankster buddies told him the same thing when the American colonists expressed their "discontent" – Don't worry my King, there's sure to be some grumbling from the peasants but your stimulus package is working wonderfully – now come outside and check out the golden horseshoes I put on my carriage team!
We were able to add a little bling to our own rides as those QQQQ $53 puts I told you about in yesterday's morning post, which we picked up in Member chat on Monday at .45, opened at .75 and flew on up to $1.25 (up another 110% from Monday's entry) and pulled back to finish the day at .98. We were, of course, very happy to…
Ireland’s “String and Sealing-Wax Fix”; Irish PM Loses Confidence of Own Party; European Sovereign Default Risk Hits All Time High
by ilene - November 23rd, 2010 4:53 pm
Courtesy of Mish
News in Europe regarding Ireland, Spain, and Portugal is ominous. Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are soaring in Spain and Portugal. European sovereign risk jumped to an all-time high.
Lloyds TSB says "Ireland’s debt woes may spread because investors have lost confidence in policy makers".
Members of his own party are calling on Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to resign.
The quote of the day goes to Bill Blain, a strategist at Matrix Corporate Capital LLP in London who said "“Bailouts are nothing but a short-term string-and-sealing-wax fix”.
With that let’s take a look at some specific news.
Zero Confidence in Irish Solution
Lloyds says Ireland’s Woes May Spread on ‘Zero Confidence’
“The markets currently have virtually zero confidence that the bailout in Ireland will solve the European crisis even though fiscal austerity measures in both Portugal and Spain have been severe and prima facie, sufficient to ease market concerns,” Charles Diebel and David Page, fixed-income strategists in London, wrote in an investor note today.
“With markets effectively in a position to dictate policy, the risk is that the credibility crisis shifts to more sizeable European Union countries and thereby poses a greater risk to the system as a whole,” they wrote. That may also raise “valid questions about the prescriptive policy measures being sufficient to deal with issues of such magnitude.”
Credit Default Swaps Soar in Spain, Portugal
In spite of the Irish bailout, Spain, Portugal Bank Debt Risk Soars as Traders Look South
The cost of insuring Spanish and Portuguese subordinated bank bonds soared as traders of credit-default swaps turned their focus to southern Europe following Ireland’s bailout.
Swaps on Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA rose to a record while contracts on Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain’s second-biggest lender, climbed to the highest in more than five months. The benchmark gauge of European sovereign risk also jumped to an all-time high, while two indexes tied to bank debt surged the most since June.
Ireland’s rescue “achieves completely the opposite of what it allegedly tries to achieve, namely to calm markets,” Tim Brunne, at UniCredit SpA said in a report.
“Instead, the credit profile of both the sovereign and the impaired financial institutions has been weakened,” the Munich-based strategist wrote.