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What Is Going Through The Heads Of Greek Executives Right Now

With mere hours left until the first Greek exit polls are released, one group of the Greek population, perhaps the most important one if the country of 23% unemployment is to have any hope of not sinking into the Mediterranean, its business executives, has yet to express its opinion on the aftermath of today's election. And while we know that many local businesses have already transferred their money (whether or not taxed is a different question) abroad, it is after all they that will serve as the backbone of any possible future Greek renaissance, whether EUR or XGD denominated. So do they think? Recently Citigroup's European team met with executives from big Greek / Cyprus banks and several officials - independent parties. The key message is that the situation is critical but there is some optimism on the Day after the elections.



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Guest Post: Will Tsipras Blow Up Europe?

For Greece, this is an important election. Inside the euro, their heavily state-dependent economy will continue to suffer scathing austerity. Outside the euro, they can freely debase, and — as Nigel Farage has noted — enjoy the benefits of a cheaper currency like renewed tourism and more competitive industry. If Greeks want growth sooner rather than much later, they should choose life outside the euro (and by voting for Tsipras and trying tough negotiating tactics, they will be asking to be thrown out). But for the rest of the world, and the rest of Europe, this is all meaningless. As Ron Paul has noted, when the banking institutions need the money, central banks — whether it’s the ECB, or the Fed, or the BoE, or a new global central superbank — will print and print and print. Whether Greece is in or out, when the time comes to save the financial system the central bankers will print. That is the nature of fiat money, as much as the chickenhawks at the ECB might pretend to have hard-money credentials. Tsipras, though — as a young hard-leftist — would be a good scapegoat for throwing Greece out of the Eurozone (something that — in truth — the core seems to want).



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As Greek Banks Run Out Of Safe Deposit Boxes, An Eerie Calm Takes Over The Country 24 Hours Before D-Day

The most ironic moment in the Greek denouement will come when fractional reserve lending collapses onto itself:

"Stavropoulos and her friends have a new strategy to deal with their daily expenses. "We charge everything to our credit cards," she says. If the Greek banks fail, they won't be able to collect the outstanding debts, she argues. "If they want to mess me around, I will do the same to them."

In other words, Greece is now America, where the vast majority of people also live on credit alone, and have taken up the following motto when dealing with banks: "you pretend to be solvent, we pretend to have money." At the end of the day, it is all just one big global monetary circle jerk, only this time in reverse, as the snake of fractional reserve banking has finally started to eat its own tail. With people spending money they don't have, and in debt to their eyeballs to a banking system that itself is just as insolvent, is there any wonder that nobody really panics any more over daily threats the grand reset is finally coming?



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Greek Election Cheat Sheet

All you need to know about today's prime time event.



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Greece — What Matters And What Does Not

So the Greek elections come and go and someone takes over or there is no government and new elections are called. In the meantime either Europe hands Greece more money or Greece defaults. It is at the point of default where consequences require central bank action and where even the best made plans may careen out of control because so much information has been hidden and not accounted for so that their consequences were not considered. Dealing with incorrect facts leads to incorrect conclusions and this is my greatest fear at present for all of the financial markets; that the pending default, it will most likely come, will not have been assessed in the manner that was needed because Europe did not allow all of the necessary data to be correctly appreciated.



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Europe's Dilemma: "Probability Vs Impact"

When it comes to the future of Europe, one simply has to look at the foundations or the so called "euro-architecture" which as the past two years have shown us, are in dire need of strengthening lest everything topples over. Mere talk will no longer cut it. Simplifying things further, one can distribute the potential outcomes facing Europe along two axes: Impact, or an event's likelihood of actually doing something to change the current "sinking ship" status quo, and Probability, i.e., how much resistance, mostly political, will a given plan face, primarily from Germany which over the past year has fallen into its rightful place - that of Europe's fiscal, and monetary - because even the ECB will not move without German approval - paymaster. Obviously the two are inversely correlated. Whether or not the European crises ends, will depend on precisely which of the 9 listed outcomes below Europe decides upon (or all). However, as is well-noted on the chart, There are "No obvious game changers." Which is why anyone hoping for a Deus Ex, before much more pain is first experienced, as Deutsche Bank explained earlier, will be bitterly disappointed.



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Guest Post: What Peak Oil?

I’m not lying awake at night worrying about imminent peak oil. There’s plenty of extractable oil, and renewable energy will eventually supplement and replace it. But will politics get in the way of energy extraction? The United States has huge hydrocarbon reserves, yet regulation is preventing drilling and shipment, leaving America dependent on foreign oil. And the oil companies themselves are largely to blame — after Deepwater Horizon, should anyone be surprised that politicians and the public want to strangle the oil industry? If there’s an imminent energy crisis, it will be man-made. It will come out of the United States’ dependency on foreign oil. Or out of an environmental catastrophe caused by mismanagement and graft (protected cartels like the energy industry always lead to mismanagement). Or out of excessive red tape. Or war.



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Deutsche Bank: "The Spanish Recapitalization Is Not Working" - A Market Shock Is Required

This weekend, everyone's attention will be on the Greek elections, however it is Spain that has now become the "fulcrum security" of Europe. As such, events in Greece are merely a catalyst that will set off a chain of events that will have an impact not only on Spain, but on all of Europe, and thus, the world. As we pointed out last week after the Spanish bailout announcement, based on a preliminary analysis which had been compiled by Deutsche Bank's europhiles hours before the formal announcement, and one which just happened to be a carbon-copy of what was proposed as the 'final (and failed) Spanish solution', it appears that the events in Europe are if not orchestrated by the largest German bank, then certainly receiving part-time advice. Which brings us to the present, where we find that even Deutsche Bank has given up hope for interim solutions, having realized that the market will no longer accept transitory, feeble arrangements. Instead DB is now formally calling for a big bang resolution, one coming from the ECB. Here is the punchline: "ECB has room for manoeuvre, but needs political cover for a ‘big’ policy" or said otherwise, "A shock is required to get a liquidity response." In other words: Europe's only real hope for even a stop gap solution... is a wholesale market crash, not surprisingly the very same conclusion that Citi reached on May 19 when they warned that only Crossover (XO) at 1000 bps or wider could push Europe into acting... Basically stated, anything less than a controlled market crash, one that finally gets the ECB involved with Germany's persmission of course, merely pushes the market higher on nothing but hope of an intervention that said market lift makes even more improbable, as now both Citi and DB admit, which can and will lead to an uncontrolled market collapse, one from which not even the ECB will be able to extricate Europe.



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Saudi Arabia's Prince Nayef, Next In Line To Throne, Dies; Saudi Shares Plunge

Coming into the weekend, most were focusing on key events coming out of Greece and France, possibly Egypt, but nobody expected that Saudi Arabia would be thrown into the fray. That just happened, however, following news that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has died in Geneva, according to Saudi state television, citing a royal court statement. The news has sent Saudi shares sliding, because now 89-year-old King Abdullah must nominate a new heir for the second time in nine months. And the last thing the middle-east region needs, not to mention the world's biggest oil producer, needs is more geopolitical uncertainty.



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Guest Post: Does America Face An Election Between Two Moderates?

Though the November election will be hyped as two opposites squaring off against each other, both candidates are considered rather moderate compared to who could have been the nominees.

The question is, are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney really that moderate?

Let’s account for the similarity in policy of both.



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Volatility Is Not Risk

What makes for a good investment is price. Price is everything. You need to receive value in excess of the price paid. An investment’s value is the amount of real cash its underlying assets can reasonably be expected to deliver to its shareholders in the future, discounted for its risk – period. The investment’s price will either be higher than its value (an uncompensated risk), the same as (neutral) or lower than its value (a compensated risk). But since value is an imprecise measurement, the best one can do is to build in a margin of safety by buying investments that are at deep discounts to a reasonable estimated value. Too many investors let an investment’s short-term price movements, or perceptions of short-term price movements drive their decisions. But since short-term price moves are unknowable, irrelevant and independent of investment merits, this is not worthy of any time spent analyzing. If short-term price moves were knowable, then a cadre of top-performing chartists and market technicians would have far greater net worths than Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and the Saudi Royal Family. They would need only apply leverage to their process and repeat it a few times in order to accrue hundreds of billions of dollars. Question: How many market technicians occupy the Forbes 400? Answer: Zero. Why? Because successfully guessing future price moves based on charts, MACD indicators or tea leaves is not a repeatable process. Investors who do this generally have poor outcomes because they are pursuing answers to the wrong question.

The right question is: where is the value?



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Pictures From Zimbabwe



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Four Bullet Points Explaining How JPMorgan Doubled Its Money From MF Global's Corpse In Seven Months

Don't read this if you have high blood pressure or if you are a client of MF Global's, whose money is still held by JP Morgan.



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On The Keynesian Lunacy Of Targeting Outcomes

The pages of the financial press overflow with opinions on what targets would make the world safer: what ratio of risk-weighted-assets banks should target, what RoE targets they would be safe at, what inflation target the central bank should aim for, or what growth target is appropriate for China. When SocGen's Dylan Grice was asked if he was a fan of the idea of nominal GDP targets! He snapped he is not and thought it "a terrible idea". As he opines, today’s various issues – the euro, China’s economy, over-indebtedness – are the cumulative unintended consequences of such past targets, and the naïve presumption that complexity can be commanded. Even mildly complex systems, any outcome is the wrong thing to target, with the process being where the focus should be. Expressing how little time he has for macroeconomics, reasoning that it’s obsessed with the targeting of interest rates, GDP, inflation, unemployment, exchange rates, et cetera, as though such a thing was possible without unintended consequences; Grice notes that Austrian economists understood this too. Ludwig von Mises distilled social phenomena to the simple observation that "man acts purposefully".



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Obama Addresses America's Illegal Aliens, Bypasses Congress

Obama is about to address (as of 1:15 pm Eastern, so the sandtrap was obviously a monster) America's illegal immigrants, and critical Hispanic vote, advising them he has successfully avoided this pest known as Congress, and that henceforth not all of them will be deported. The immigrants that is, not Congress... although that too may change. Because remember: the only thing better than record part-time jobs is recorder part-time jobs. Also remember: one can't affix a price to securing the vote... of those who are ineligible to vote.



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