Almost 10 million out of 43.7 million part-time workers in the European Union were under-employed in 2013. As Bloomberg Brief's Niraj Shah notes, based on Eurostat's Labour Forces Study, a record 72 percent of Greek part-time workers wished to work more hours compared with 4.2 percent in the Netherlands. As we explained in great detail here, the Greek "recovery" is a mirage and these numbers do not lie.
Following more firefights and government building seizures amid the so-called "liberation of Southeast Ukraine," the Maidan's demands that the government not "give up like in Crimea" appear to be resonating woth leadership. Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov has declared: "The Ukrainian authorities consider the events of the day as a display of external aggression from Russia," adding that, ""Units of the interior and defense ministries are implementing an operational response plan." Russia was quick to respond with threats of war action if Ukraine suppresses pro-Russia 'self-defense' forces. As Reuters adds, with the crisis escalating militarily, the specter of "gas wars" is looming with Ukraine's Energy Minister declaring, "we are probably steering towards Russia turning off its gas provision."
Despite bond yields at record lows, stock markets at record highs, and a general 'faith' that we are heading towards a Keynesian utopia of escape velocity growth (despite IMF downgrades and the reality of current data), the following table of the world's PMIs is your handy cocktail-party cheat sheet for 'smart' discussion of soft-survey-based economic progress... UK, Ireland, and UAE are the fastest growers while France, Italy, and the broad Eurozone are contracting at the fastest pace.
Still unconvinced? Even Jim Bullard told investors that 'tapering' is tightening - but don't take his (or our) word for it... the following chart says it all...
UPDATE: The Maidan are calling for the leaders to react "Don't give up like in Crimea"
On the day in which "pro-Russian separatists" are again claiming one after another city in east Ukraine, and when Russia has formally warned that any crackdown on protesters is "unacceptable" implicitly threatening retaliation should the promised use of special forces be implemented, moments ago Rustan Temirgaliev, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Miniisters of recently annexed by Russia Crimea, poured some more fuel into the fire and announced on his Facebook page that "the liberation of Southeast Ukraine has begun."
Anyone who understands the basics of capitalism knows taxation acts as a hindrance. There is no question about this. Capitalism is the free trading of goods and services; taxation is the violent extortion of the gains of voluntary trade. Anything that gets in the way of the capitalist process necessarily hinders it. In no possible way will higher taxes make capitalism “work better.” Those who claim otherwise are either one of two things: ignorant of what capitalism is, or insidiously plotting its demise.
Ukraine may have drawn its own red line overnight by saying it will send "special forces" into the latest east Ukraine city captured by "pro-Russia separatists" as we just reported, but Russia wasted no time in explaining how it would deal with it. Bloomberg cites Russian foreign minister Lavrov who stated that, "Russia Won’t Accept Ukraine Force Versus Demonstrators.
While the primary story regarding the Ukraine remains the stand off between Russia and Ukraine over nat Gazprom's gas deliveries and Kiev's overdue, and as of today - officially halted payments - not a weekend passes without some city in eastern Ukraine falling to what are now called "pro-Russian separatists" and this Saturday is no different. While last week it was the eastern cities of Luhansk, Donestk and Kharkiv that saw their government building taken over and occupied by the "separatists", today it was the turn of Slaviansk, where masked men armed with pistols and rifles stood guard near the police station as hundreds of locals gathered around, some building barricades with car tyres.
The gap between current Q1 reality and forward-looking, hope-stuffed, unicorn-tear-fueled expectations for US economic growth has reached a new peak of Keynesian 'faith'. This week saw "economists" downgrade Q1 GDP expectations once again to a mere 1.6% growth (from 2.6% in January) - meaning that cold weather is responsible for a 46% collapse in US economic growth expectation. As the chart below 'hints' at, it appears we have reached "peak hope."
The silence is deafening still about the ongoing collapse in the Baltic Dry Index among mainstream media types (as it just might challenge the hope/hype that growth is coming back). At the dismal level of 1002, BDIY is at 8-month lows and has fallen 14 days in a row... but now it is having a real world impact. As Sea News reports, Korean shipping companies are failing to place orders for large vessels and anxiety over the future is forcing some local companies to dispose of their assets despite the relatively low shipbuilding costs as of late.
The evil of modern central banking can nowhere better be seen than in this week’s mad stampede into $4 billion of Greek bonds. The fact is, Greece is not credit-worthy at nearly any coupon yield, but most certainly not at the 4.75% sticker that was attached to the offering. And the claim that Greece’s fiscal affairs have turned for the better is really preposterous. But none of this matters, of course, because the howling pack of money managers who scooped up the Greek debt at an oversubscribed rate of 5X were not pricing the non-credit of the former Greek state, but the promises of Mario Draghi. The very worst evil of monetary central planning is that it enables clueless politicians to believe in their own fiscal fairy tales, and to persist in the ritual can-kicking that is the scourge of central bank intoxicated politicians everywhere. In the context of its shattered economy, the Greek budget is a house of cards. Still, its current leaders, whose tenure is precarious by the day, get their turn in the spotlight to issue utterly specious pettifoggery...
As the bitcoin bubble bursts, the residual price momentum and "mining" bubbles remain only in those currencies where the "mining" of bitcoin is easier. This explains the shift from bitcoin to litecoin. In other words, where it is easier to create digital currencies out of thin air and where there is still a momentum-based surge in popularity. In yet other words - to permit a faster dilution of the existing currency pool.