Royal Dutch Shell is nearing a start to drilling in the Arctic, but has run into some hiccups. The U.S. government decided that Shell cannot actually drill both of its wells in the Chukchi Sea as planned. The Interior Department said that doing so would run afoul of its rules that protect marine life...
In the last few days there were dozens of separate attacks in Egypt from the Sinai up to Cairo. More than 60 people died while the Egyptian army used F16 attack plains to protect itself against it disgruntled population. It is clear that the Egyptian rulers will not be able to contain the current situation, today could be marked as the start of Egypt’s civil war.
America is better off when President Obama is out on the stump bloviating and boasting rather than in Washington actively doing harm. But the whoppers he just told the students at the University of Wisconsin are beyond the pale. Said our spinmeister-in-chief: "And the unemployment rate is now down to 5.3 percent. (Applause.) Keep in mind, when I came into office it was hovering around 10 percent. All told, we’ve now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record — (applause) — new record — 12.8 million new jobs all told." That’s a pack of context-free factoids.
The referendum on Sunday will likely have a significant impact on the prospects of Greece reaching a new bailout agreement and the immediate future of the governing Syriza party. Following the expiration of the second bailout and the missed IMF repayment on 30th June, Greece has had to impose capital controls while negotiations between the country and its creditors have been put on hold until after the referendum. Eurozone officials have indicated that a “No” vote would likely mean a Greek exit from the currency union although the Greek government sees the vote as only pertaining to the terms of a bailout programme.
The ECB is moving to backstop Bulgaria's banking sector in an effort to get ahead of a Greek contagion."The ECB would provide access to its refinancing operations, offering euros to the banking system against eligible collateral," Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources.
The timing of the release of The IMF's 'Greece needs a debt haircut no matter what' report this week was odd to say the least. Being as it confirmed everything the Greek government has been saying and provided the perfect ammunition for Tsipras to spin Sunday's Greferendum as a Yes/No to debt haircuts - something everyone can understand (and get behind). It is understandable then that, as Reuters reports, Greece's eurozone allies tried to block the release of the damning report this week but the Europeans were heavily outnumbered and the United States, the strongest voice in the IMF, was in favor of publication, sources said. While The IMF concluded, "Facts are stubborn. You can't hide the facts because they may be exploited," one wonders if this move merely reinforces Goldman's concpiracy theory.
Stock buybacks have been in the news lately, as their growing size has lead to criticism, especially from politicians who believe they contribute to economic inequality. But the simplest critique of the practice of buybacks can be made on economic grounds, in terms of value created or destroyed.
Athens floods to Syntagma square to demonstrate their support for a "No" vote in what may be one of the biggest demonstrations in history.
"Introducing a new currency is a pipe dream and the likely result is a broken financial system reliant on a neighbor’s currency (the euro) and banking system. The choice is not 'do you accept the core’s terms your government has rejected?' Rather, it is 'do you want Greek banks to function independently?' and, de facto, do you want to be able to use the cash machine tomorrow?"
The idea that our large-scale problems could be fixed with systemic reforms is enticing: replace the thousands of pages of tax code with a simple flat tax without deductions, for example, or the replacement of too big to jail/fail banks with community-owned banks that served the public, not shareholders. But the attraction of reforms is a siren song, because our system is run by vested interests for vested interests, period. Any real reform is Dead On Arrival (DOA) because any real reform threatens the swag and security of vested interests.
On what is obviously a quiet day, with US cash markets closed, US equity futures drifted quite notably weaker from overnight highs. Aside from total chaos in the last second of trading today, Nasdaq futures were down 0.3% (having been up over 0.2% at Europe opened) and The Dow dropped 80 from the highs. It appears the machines forgot it was a holiday as the standard US open to EU close trend reversal occuurred before dropping after Europe closed.
"U.S. regulators are sounding the alarm about banks’ exposure to oil-and-gas producers, a move that could limit their ability to lend to companies battered by a yearlong slump in prices," WSJ reports, reinforcing the notion that North America's "zero hedged" O&G sector is in for a rough ride.