Who should you believe? Record stock market valuations and consensus spouting, highly paid economists who tell you all as is well...or oil, negative economic indicators, and your own eyes that this is just one more artificial boom desperately trying to run from the inevitable bust?
Throughout history, political, financial, and military leaders have sought to create empires. Great Britain owned the 19th century but lost its empire due largely to costly wars. The US took over in the 20th century and, like Rome, rose as a republic, with minimal central control, but is now crumbling under its own governmental weight. Invariably, the last people to understand the collapse of an empire are those who live within it. Americans remain hopeful that the dramatic decline is a temporary setback from which they will rebound...Not likely.
- Greece warns may default on IMF loan next week - Greek bank runs continue and deposits flee - The truth can be a scary thing sometimes … especially for those who put their head in the sand and ignore it ...
As "isolated" Russia signs a military deal with Cyprus, agrees bilateral trade with Greece, ratifies the $100 billion BRICS Bank, and offers to trade advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, it seems threats of more sanctions against Putin and his nation are finding resistance from an unexpected place. With British PM David Cameron re-demanding that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT global financial payments system, none other than ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has exclaimed, "one has to be very careful here, exclusion of Russia from Swift would be very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole."
With proxy wars mounting and "isolated" Russia ratifying The BRICS Bank this week, we are sure Washington is preparing to double-down on 'costs' (to Europeans) as Reuters reports, Russia has offered Iran its latest Antey-2500 missiles (ironically after a deal to supply less powerful S-300 missiles was dropped under Western pressure in 2010). While the United States and Israel lobbied Russia to block the missile sale, the head of Russian state defense conglomerate, Sergei Chemezov, says, "as far as Iran is concerned, we offered Antey-2500 instead of S-300. They are thinking. No decision has been made yet."
Geopolitically, China has tweaked its model, but the West, especially the US, has barely noticed it. Essentially, the Beijing leadership finally got fed up with trying to manage a possible reset of the China-US strategic relationship, and be treated as an equal. Exceptionalists don’t do equality. So Beijing came up with its own response to the Obama administration’s political/military “pivot to Asia” – originally announced, and that’s quite significant, at the Pentagon. This is not as much a Chinese pivot to Asia as a Chinese pivot to selected nations in the Global South; and based on a “new type of international relations centered on ‘win-win’ cooperation” – not the bully-or-bomb exceptionalist approach.
A BRICS Bank - as an IMF alternative and to enable nations to become less dependent on the global reserve currency - was originally discussed at The BRICS Summit in 2012. Then at the 2014 BRICS Summit, the framework for The BRICS Bank was approved as "a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies." Headquartered in Shanghai and chaired by Russia, this week saw what appears to be the final step in the creation of BRICS New Deverlopment Bank as RT reports, The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. It is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015. Isolated?
Right now there is a world war taking place right in front of us but all we see on cable news are the nightly military skirmishes on the periphery of the conflict. The real war is economic, financial and currency related and the empire is already over-extended in debt, military operations and financial manipulation. Surely the near-term dollar strength is evidence that while defeat is not imminent and that all markets can be manipulated for a season, ultimately real global market forces will prevail. Just remember that all empires eventually become over-extended financially, economically or militarily and the consequences of retribution and blowback are real and deadly to innocent populations.
** Greek Bank Runs Accelerate as Possible ‘Grexit’ Looms
** Fatigue with Greek Crisis Breeding Massive Complacency
** Ukraine a Significant Setback for NATO
** India Demand To Rise To 35 - 40 Tonnes This Month
** Gold Oversold - Fundamental and Technical Position Good
Straight-forward discussion of the international climate.
One of the bigger asset bubbles in recent US history has nothing to do with stock, bonds or commodities, We are talking about farmland. And yet, like all other bubbles - be they the result of retail euphoria or central bank rigging - this one too must come to a close, and as the WSJ reports, the first crack in the farmland bubble are appearing, after farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year "reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday." the average price of farmland in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s district, which includes Illinois, Iowa and other big farm states, fell 3% in 2014, marking the first annual decline since 1986, which makes farmlands the only asset class that had not seen a down year in nearly three decades!
First there was The BRIC nations; then South Africa was rolled in and the group became BRICS; but with news today (following yesterday's Russian invitations for Greece's new leader to meet with Vladimir Putin) that Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been invited to visit Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, we wonder if the growing non-dollar partnership will be expanded to BRICSH as The Hellenic Republic prepares to walk away from its European overlords 'partners'.
Today's Brazilian economic data follows up quite well to our article from a month ago "Brazil's Economy Just Imploded" and as the earlier article on the crashing Brazilian Real hinted, things for the Brazilian economy how gone from imploding to, well, worse because not only did the twin fiscal and current account deficits rise even more, hitting a whopping 11% of GDP - the worst since August 1999, but its government debt soared to 63.4% in 2014, up from 56.7% a year ago, and the highest since at least 2006. In short - the entire economy is now on the verge of total collapse.
We suggested the Greek pivot from Europe to Russia was building previously, and now, we get confirmation from Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov that the pivot could be mutual, who told CNBC in the interview below:
*RUSSIA WOULD WEIGH FINANCE FOR GREECE IF ASKED, SILUANOV: CNBC
With fire and brimstone spewing from Germany over the potential for Greece to veto any and everything, it seems Russia may just have stymied Europe's leverage over the newly democratic nation.
Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" - this was largely known in advance - but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia: The most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!