"Greek Democracy Can't Be Threatened" Defiant Tsipras Warns "Won't Step Back From Promises"

The rhetoric from both sides in Europe is hotting up but we suggest Tsipras' comments seem far more personal and existential than the Eurogroup's beligerence for now: GREEK DEMOCRACY CAN'T BE THREATENED

*TSIPRAS: GREEK GOVT NOT IN A HURRY, WON'T COMPROMISE, WON'T TAKE A STEP BACK FROM PROMISES TO PEOPLE

With a "strong mandate" to save the country, Tsipras adds that he wants "a solution, not rupture."

Silver Crushed On Heavy Volume As WTI Crude Slides Back Below $52

It appears the overenight exuberance at the possibility of a Grexit is fading fast... Silver - already weak overnight - was suddenly monkey-hammered lower on massive volume... WTI is down almost $2 from intrday highs, testing towards $51.50 on heavy volume.

Empire Fed Slides, Misses As New Orders Tumble And Hope Collapses

Following January's bounce back from December's collapse to 2-year lows, Empire Fed fell back modestly in Feb. Against expectations of a small drop to 8.00 (from 9.95), it printed 7.78 - basically flat now for 2 years. Under the hood things are a lot more concerning as New Orders tumbled from 6.09 to 1.22 and number of employees slipped from 13.68 to 10.11. What is perhaps the most concerning for the ever-hopeful multiple expanding dreams of equity market wealth, future business expectations collapsed from 48.35 to 25.58 - the biggest drop since Jan 09 (along with a plunge in expected workweek from 11.58 to 1.22).

 

How To Trade The Grexit Scenarios, And What The "Worst-Case" Looks Like

When it comes to trading the possibility of a Grexit, Bloomberg strategist Vassilis Karamanis writes,that there are three possible outcomes.

Scenario 1: Greece exits the euro
Scenario 2: Capital controls are imposed on Greek banks
Scenario 3: Agreement is reached within the next days

Chinese Home Prices Suffer Biggest Annual Drop Ever: Why This Matters

While the world's attention is glued to events in Greece, the real action continues to evolve quietly thousands of kilometers east, in China, where the near record surge in new loans remains unable to offset the dramatic slowdown in shadow banking issuance. And while China's bubble-chasing, animal spirits have recently reoriented themselves from real estate to the stock market, it is the real estate that holds the bulk of China's wealth. The problem here is that as China reported overnight, new-home prices in the world's most populous country just recorded their biggest annual decline ever!

Silver Slammed As Stocks Rally Back To Scene Of EU Crime

US equities have miraculously recovered their EU-Greek talks-breakdown losses from yesterday in a mad buyng panic reminiscent of the very best work from FBRNY. As if that did not confirm everything was awesome in the status quo, silver (and to a lesser extent gold) have been take to the woodshed this morning. Treasury yields are still down 2bps from Friday's close but have jumped 3-4bps on this morning's exuberance. The dollar has given back all of yesterday's gains and then some and is now -0.2% from Friday.

Frontrunning: February 17

  • Markets From Stocks to Debt to Euro Show Little No Panic (BBG)
  • Greek Euro Exit Risk Increases as EU Delivers Ultimatum (BBG)
  • Oil rises to $62, near 2015 high as Mideast risks support (Reuters)
  • Texas judge blocks Obama plan to protect undocumented immigrants (Reuters)
  • Oil Train Derails and Ignites Forcing West Virginia Evacuations (BBG)
  • Battle rages for town where Ukraine rebels reject ceasefire (BBG)
  • Chinese Firms Tiptoe Back Into Europe’s Battered Financial Sector (WSJ)
  • Putin’s Paradise Becomes Economic No-Go Zone Where Cash Is King (BBG)
  • Emerging fund managers stuck in buy-and-hold as trading shrivels (Reuters)

Futures Rebound On Collapse In Greek Negotiations, After Europe's Largest Derivatives Exchange Breaks

There was a brief period this morning when market prices were almost determined by non-central banks. Almost. Because shortly before the European market open, a technical failure on the Eurex exchange prevented trading in euro-area bond futures the day after Greek debt talks collapsed. And sure enough, after initially seeing significant downward pressure, which nobody could capitalize on of course courtesy of the broken Eurex, risk both in Europe and the US has since rebounded courtesy of the ECB, SNB and BIS, led by the EURUSD (because a Grexit threat which according to Commerzbank has been raised from 25% to 50% is bullish for the artificial currency), which is now at the level last seen just before yesterday's negotiations broke down, and US futures are about to go green.

Moscow-Based Security Firm Reveals What May Be The Biggest NSA "Backdoor Exploit" Ever

In a world in which the NSA's fingerprints are already on every form of electronic communication and information exchange, the latest revelation - conveniently presented by a Russian-based security firm - may have just implicated the US digital supespy agency in the biggest "backdoor" infiltration scandal of all time... and with it crushed the future revenue potential of countless US technology corporations.

Greece: What Happened Today, And What Happens Next

Ultimately, then, we are still left with the same three-step process to reach a conclusion to the Greek crisis.

  • Step 1 consists of a request for a new program or an application for a 3rd ESM program with Greece committing to some a prior conditionality.
  • Step 2 consists of negotiating the substance around this conditionality, in particular the prior actions that would need to be fulfilled to disburse funding to Greece.
  • Step 3 would consist of passing such prior actions through the Greek parliament and ultimately servicing Greece's loan obligations.

The more each of these steps is delayed, the shorter the timespans available and the greater the risks of failure.

Cometh The Censor

Washington is stepping up its campaign to censor the internet. It had to come, and will succeed. It will put paid forever to America’s flirtation with freedom. We are hard pressed to think of a society in such internal decline that has turned itself around, and we cannot imagine how America might do so. One sure thing is that, once the internet is gelded, there will be no hope at all. And the assault has begun.

Latest Greek Negotiations Fall Apart; Risk Slides After Greece Says "Won't Take Orders On Bailout"

UPDATE: *EU FINANCE MINISTERS' TALKS WITH GREECE OVER FOR TODAY, GREECE SAYS WON'T TAKE ORDERS ON BAILOUT

That didn't last long. It seems - just as earlier in the week - the ability for either side in this Euro-system death match game of chicken to find any common ground to even start negotiations remains lost: GREEK GOVT OFFICIAL SAYS THAT "THERE CANNOT BE A DEAL TODAY", EUROGROUP DISCUSSED "UNREASONABLE", "UNACCEPTABLE" DRAFT TEXT INSISTING ON EXTENDING BAILOUT.  In fact, reports sya that the text presented was a reversal of last Thursday's agreement... The Germans are now calling for Tsipras to replace Varoufakis at the negotiating table. EURUSD is tumbling and S&P Futures are falling fast.

World War 3, The Big Prize, & Europe's Gigantic Debt Minefield

In case anyone didn’t get ISIL’s message from their latest video in which 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians have their heads sawn off, here it is: “We’re executioners, not warriors.” The Big Prize, of course, is the grand fortress of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is surrounded by Islamic maniacs now and if Saudi Arabia falls apart, it’s game over for modern life as the West has known it (and much of Asia now, too). But Europe is a gigantic debt minefield that no one can really walk across. Other parts of it than Greece are just waiting to blow up, and will, and it’s unclear whether Europe is even paying attention to the blood-red welcome mat that was laid out in Libya last weekend.

Hans-Werner Sinn: "Impose Capital Controls In Greece Now To Avoid Another Cyprus"

There is a saying: "strike while the rehypothecated iron is hot", and nobody is better at it than Germany, which hours after the latest disappointing Eurogroup summit failed - again - to reach a solution on the third iteration of the Grexit dilemma, has decided to pour even more gas on the fire in the form of infamous Euroskeptic, the president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Hans-Werner Sinn who in an FT op-ed beckons someone, supposedly Europe's federalist, if non-existant, powers which in the mind of the German have control over Greek sovereignty, to immediately 'impose capital controls in Greece or repeat the mistake of Cyprus."

CEO Of Rosneft Compares Oil Market Manipulation Which "Doesn't Reflect Reality" To Gold Price Rigging

"In today’s distorted oil markets, prices do not reflect reality. They are driven instead by financial speculation, which outweighs the real-life factors of supply and demand. Financial markets tend to produce economic bubbles, and those bubbles tend to burst. Remember the dotcom bust and the subprime mortgage crisis? Furthermore, they are prone to manipulation. We have not forgotten the rigging of the Libor interest rate benchmark and the gold price."

- Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft

Ron Paul Warns "US Militarism Will End One Way Or Another..."

This militarism will end one way or the other. Either enough Americans will wake up and demand an end to Washington’s foreign adventurism, or we will go broke and be unable to spend another fiat dollar on maintaining the global US empire.

For Brazilians, Miami Real Estate Is All About Re-location, Re-location, Re-location

As London is to Moscow, so Miami is to Rio... Following the re-election of Dilma Rousseff - the center-left president that is generally loathed by Brazil's elites - the WSJ reports, rich Brazilians are relocating to South Florida en masse. As one attorney notes, "mainly they feel concerned about the instability of Brazil’s political environment; they don’t want to be the last ones to leave,” with Brazilians among Miami’s top three foreign buyers of high-price real estate, along with Argentines and Venezuelans, two other troubled economies. As one Rio broker exclaims, "Miami is the biggest Brazilian city outside of Brazil right now."

Redlined Comparison Of The Eurogroup Draft Varoufakis Was Ready To Sign, And The Draft He Rejected

What exactly was the reason for the Greek disagreement? Now that both the acceptable, pre-revision (source), and rejected, post-revision (source) texts are available, we can find precisely which inserted and deleted words infuriated the Greeks so much. Presenting: the red-line (or rahter blue-line) comparison between the two drafts, none of which was ultimately signed by anyone.

The US Vs. China: A Study In Opposites

In the 40 years since US President Richard Nixon made what was then considered a bold move, visiting Mao Zedong in Communist China, both countries have changed dramatically. The US has become increasingly socialistic, more focused on Big Government and more of a totalitarian state; shifting from the world’s foremost creditor nation to the world’s foremost debtor nation. By contrast, China has opened up considerably, with billions of people becoming upwardly mobile, in response to China becoming more capitalistic. Increasingly, the US is acting like a country in decline, whilst China is acting like a country on the rise.