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 take a daily double off the table because that’s all you need to stay ahead of the game. Even if you are just playing with $450 (10…
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.
Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?
by ilene - November 18th, 2010 1:39 am
Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?
Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse
The Irish banking system is melting down right in front of our eyes. Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain are all drowning in debt. It is becoming extremely expensive for all of those nations to issue new debt. Officials all over Europe are begging Ireland to accept a bailout. Portugal has already indicated that they will probably be next in line. Most economists are now acknowledging that without a new round of bailouts the dominoes could start to fall and we could see a wave of debt defaults by European governments. All of this is pushing the monetary union in Europe to its limits. In fact, some of Europe’s top politicians are now publicly warning that this crisis may not only mean the end of the euro, but also the end of the European Union itself.
Yes, things really are that serious in Europe right now. In order for the euro and the European Union to hold together, two things have got to happen. Number one, Germany and the other European nations that are in good financial condition have got to agree to keep bailing out nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece that are complete economic basket cases. Number two, the European nations receiving these bailouts have got to convince their citizens to comply with the very harsh austerity measures being imposed upon them by the EU and the IMF.
Those two things should not be taken for granted. In Germany, many taxpayers are already sick and tired of pouring hundreds of billions of euros into a black hole. The truth is that the Germans are not going to accept carrying weak sisters like Greece and Portugal on their backs indefinitely.
In addition, we have already seen the kinds of riots that have erupted in Greece over the austerity measures being implemented there. If there is an overwhelming backlash against austerity in some parts of Europe will some nations actually attempt to leave the EU?
Right now the focus is on Ireland. The Irish banking system is a basket case at the moment and the Irish government is drowning in red ink. European Union officials are urging Ireland to request a bailout, but so far…
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 - November 13th, 2010 1:02 pm
Tidal forces are pulling the European Union apart. On one end, European governments have taken on debt and liabilities—both public and private—which they cannot possibly meet, rendering many of the smaller European states insolvent. On the other end, Europe is unwilling to carry out sovereign default and restructuring of debt of any one of its member nations. So as Europe gets closer and closer to the Global Depression, we are seeing as these two opposing forces—insurmountable debt vs. unwillingness to default and restructure—pull the continent apart as surely and relentlessly as tidal forces. — Gonzalo Lira
Courtesy of Gonzalo Lira
In July of 1994, a comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter—it was quite a sight.
According to astronomers, Shoemaker-Levy was a comet that was captured by Jupiter’s gravity twenty or thirty years before it was discovered. As the comet circled Jupiter, at one point it passed the Roche limit—the line around a large mass where its gravity will rip apart a smaller mass by way of tidal forces.
after Jupiter’s tidal forces
ripped it apart.
By the time Shoemaker-Levy crashed into Jupiter, tidal forces had had their way with the comet. As the picture shows, it was no longer a single comet—it was a string of small lumps of rock and ice
Tidal forces are pulling the European Union apart.
On one end, European governments have taken on debt and liabilities—both public and private—which they cannot possibly meet. These debts and liabilities are near-term enough that there is only one way to characterize many of the smaller European states: They are insolvent.
On the other end, Europe is unwilling to carry out sovereign default of any one of its member nations. Indeed, there is a sense that—constant drumbeat of the Germans aside—Brussels is unwilling to evencontemplate the very notion of sovereign default and debt restructuring. Brussels and the European Central Bank believes in bailouts, not default, because they believe that the entire European project rests on the non-default status of all the EU members. They believe that all EU debt is backed by the entire EU, no matter how irresponsible the EU country that issued the EU debt.
by phil - September 29th, 2010 8:24 am
Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen – Emperor Palpatine
In Monday’s post I said: "we really would like to see a little volume consolidation before we make another run at the 1,150 line on the S&P" and we zigged and we zagged until yesterday’s close where "THEY" punched it up to EXACTLY the 1,150 line (see Dave Fry’s chart) where we, of course, failed – because it’s all a load of BS end-of-quarter window dressing but HEY – 1,150, how about that!?! 1,150 is the 7.5% line on the S&P (see Monday’s chart) and that goes hand in hand with Dow 10,965 (not there yet), Nasdaq 2,365, NYSE 7,280 and Russell 672.
As I mentioned yesterday, our betting is still all over the place as we may go up on a technical breakout or we may go down and the fulcrum for the markets is currently the dollar, whose devaluation relative to the exchange value for a stock certificate is responsible for the vast majority of our recent market. We’re positioned bearish in that we have 10:1 bets made to the downside on some ultra hedges so we will be thrilled with a pullback but, on the whole, we’re still really just protecting our bullish bets – even our review of the September Dozen this weekend couldn’t find too many reasons to take the money and run as we just didn’t look weak enough to quit on our most bullish trade ideas.
Our overriding concern is that Japan makes good with their promise to intervene on the Yen, which will boost the buck, knock down commodities and tank the markets. Why is that not happening? Well our own Government is doing everything they can to de-value the dollar. We talked out quantitative easing yesterday and GS issued a report yesterday saying there was NO CHANCE that the Fed would raise rates and, in fact, they may even lower rates to ZERO.
Now, I don’t know about you but I’m holding out for when the government PAYS ME to borrow money. Maybe then I’ll be willing to let them lend me $1Bn as long as they pay me $2.5M a year to hold onto it. Our greedy little IBanksters couldn’t wait though, and they rushed out and borrowed another $500M from the Fed yesterday (POMO) at the outrageous rate of 0.25%.…
by ilene - September 9th, 2010 11:48 pm
Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CourterPunch
The EU banking system is in big trouble. That’s why European Central Bank (ECB) head Jean-Claude Trichet continues to purchase government bonds and provide "unlimited funds" for underwater banks. It’s an effort to prevent a financial system meltdown that could wipe out bondholders and plunge the economy back into recession.
"We have the best track record on price stability over 11 1/2 years in Europe and among the legacy currencies,” Trichet recently boasted. “What we have done and what we do with the same purpose is to help restore an appropriate functioning of the monetary-policy transmission mechanism.”
Nonsense. EU banks and other financial institutions are presently holding more than 2 trillion euros of public and private debt from Greece, Spain and Portugal. All three countries are in deep distress and face sharp downgrades on their sovereign debt. The potential losses put large parts of the EU banking system at risk. Trichet knows this, which is why he continues to support the teetering system with "unlimited funds". It has nothing to do with restoring the "functioning of the monetary-policy transmission mechanism". That’s deliberately misleading. It is a straightforward bailout of the banks.
Imagine that you are deeply in debt, but the bank offers to lend you as much money as you need to keep you from bankruptcy. To help maintain appearances, the bank agrees to accept the worthless junk you’ve collected in your attic in exchange for multi-million dollar loans. Does the bank’s participation in this charade mean that you are not really broke after all? Does it increase the value of the garbage collateral you’ve exchanged for cash?
The ECB is providing billions of euros per week to maintain the illusion that the market is wrong about the true value of the bonds. But the market is not wrong, the ECB is wrong. The value of Greek bonds (for example) has dropped precipitously. They are worth less, which means the banks need to take a haircut and write down the losses. More liquidity merely hides the problem.
This is from Reuters:
"Despite the open-arms approach, outstanding ECB lending has fallen more than a third since the start of July to 592 billion euros…. Liquidity remains abundant though. Over 120 billion euros was deposited back at the ECB overnight, the latest figures show."
by ilene - July 7th, 2010 2:41 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Economists are surprised by the strangest things.
The UK has announced austerity measures, Greece, Spain, Portugal (3 little PIIGS) are in forced austerity programs, and Germany is paying more attention to deficit reduction than growth (rightfully so), yet somehow economists expect factory orders in Germany to keep improving.
Please consider the Bloomberg report German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fell in May
German factory orders unexpectedly fell for the first time in five months in May as demand for goods made in Europe’s largest economy waned across the 16- nation euro region.
Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, declined 0.5 percent from April, when they rose a revised 3.2 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent gain for May, according to the median of 30 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, orders increased 24.8 percent.
Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has pushed the euro down 17 percent against the dollar since late November, making exports to countries outside the currency bloc more competitive just as the global recovery gathered pace. With governments cutting spending to convince investors that budget deficits are under control, growth in the euro area, Germany’s biggest export market, may slow.
“You have to see today’s decline in orders in the context of strong increases in the previous months,” said Klaus Schruefer, an economist at SEB Bank AG in Frankfurt. “It doesn’t throw the German economy off its recovery track.”
Recovery Off The Rails
While it is true that any month can be an outlier, the European macro picture is anemic in light of austerity programs virtually everywhere you look.
Moreover, the Asia picture is anemic, the US macro picture is anemic, and indeed the entire global macro picture is anemic. Yet economists, an ever optimistic lot, still have faith in a recovery 100% based on unsustainable government spending even though governments in general are cutting government spending in an attempt to reduce budget deficits.
For now, the US is an exception to global budget tightening. However, it should be perfectly clear that Congress is taking a harder stance towards more stimulus efforts as a measure to extend unemployment benefits has died in the US senate.
by ilene - June 30th, 2010 4:05 am
Courtesy of Mish
For just under a year, the ECB has offered €442 billion to encourage lending. Instead, and easily predictable, the program did not increase lending and did nothing more than allow weak banks to roll over debts.
The program is now ending and Spanish banks are screaming about the ECB’s "obligation to supply liquidity".
The Wall Street Journal has part of the story in ECB Walks a Fine Line Siphoning Off Its Liquidity.
The European Central Bank is scrambling to reassure markets that Thursday’s expiration of a €442 billion ($547.46 billion) bank-lending program won’t destabilize the financial system, even as banks across the region remain wary of lending to one another.
The ECB introduced the 12-month lending facility last summer to encourage private-sector lending and ensure adequate liquidity within the 16-member currency bloc. Since then, the program, which represents more than half the ECB’s liquidity operations, has become a lifeline to banks in Greece, Spain and other countries hit by the region’s debt crisis.
The cost of borrowing euros in the interbank market rose to an eight-month high Monday, as banks prepared for the one-year loan’s expiration. The euro slid on worries that repayment will expose Europe’s financial system to new threats. Yields on German bunds, seen as a haven, fell.
Some investors worry that vulnerable euro-area banks, unable to borrow in the interbank market, could have difficulty replacing that funding, despite repeated assurances from the ECB that it will provide funds on similar terms, albeit for only three months, beginning Wednesday.
"We are confident that this very large financial transaction can take place without disruptions," ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny said Friday.
Spanish Banks Whine About the "Obligation" to Supply Liquidity
The Financial Time reports Spanish banks rage at end of ECB offer.
Spanish banks have been lobbying the European Central Bank to act to ease the systemic fallout from the expiry of a €442bn ($542bn) funding programme this week, accusing the central bank of “absurd” behaviour in not renewing the scheme.
One senior bank executive said: “Any central bank has to have the obligation to supply liquidity. But this is not the policy of the ECB. We are fighting them every day on this. It’s absurd.”
Another top director said: “The ECB’s policy is that they
by ilene - June 22nd, 2010 3:18 am
Courtesy of Andy Kessler
Even a win in the World Cup soccer tournament won’t save Europe. Nor will the G-20 meeting in Toronto this week. With Grecian urns, Irish eyes, Spanish flies, and Portuguese waterdogs all up to their eyeballs in debt, it’s only a matter of time before the whole venture implodes. Even after an almost trillion dollar bailout across Europe, Moody’s Investors Service last week downgraded Greece’s debt from A3 to Ba1--junk bonds.
We’ve seen this movie before—in 2008, when it was banks, not countries, reeling out of economic control. Once you recognize this pattern—desperate nations behaving just as the desperate banks did—the next 12 months of news will all make sense. Here is a handy guide.
Greece is clearly Bear Stearns. They’ve taken on too much debt, used derivatives created by Goldman Sachs to put off payment well into the future, and aren’t generating enough tax revenue to pay for their bloated expenses. The cost of Greece’s debt financing is skyrocketing, now 8 percent higher than the benchmark German bund. Either Athens defaults, causing more firebombs to be tossed and even larger riots in the streets, or the European Union arranges a takeover by deep-pocketed Germany.
Germany is the JP Morgan of this story. It will provide a lowball 200 billion Euros to Greece and then end up paying 1000 billion, reminiscent of JP Morgan offering $2 and then paying $10 for Bear Stearns. Now wait a second, I can hear you complain, countries can’t merge like companies.
Of course they can, it happens all the time—though usually when tanks roll. Ask Poland. Or Hungary. In this case, Germany won’t legally own Greece, but in reality, it will absolutely be in charge of fixing Greece’s mess. My sense is the Germans will be quite good at tax collection and not so strong at dismantling the welfare state. But Greek debt will be resolved and maybe the Euro will even rally.
But it won’t be over quite yet. That’s because sadly, Spain is Lehman Brothers. With 22 percent unemployment, and loaded with debt and deteriorating real estate prices, who is going to save it? Tongues will wag that defaulting on debts will teach a lesson to countries that live beyond their means. As a huge exporter,…