As reported ealier this morning, here, courtesy of Bloomberg, are the nominees for the next European Commission under the presidency of Jean-Claude "If Serioues Then lie" Juncker, with one from each of the European Union’s 28 countries. Job assignments were announced today by the incoming president, Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg. What do these appointments mean for the European Union? The attached flash analysis from Open Europe should answer most initial questions.
As we detailed previously, Bulgaria had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline project, whose construction has stoked tensions between the West and Moscow as it enabled gas supply to bypass troubled Ukraine (thus squeezing the desparate economy back into Russia's hands). In early June, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski ordered an initial halt (after Europe offered the nation's suddenly collapsing banking system a lifeline). This time, Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov has ordered Bulgaria’s Energy Holding to halt any actions in regards of the project as it does not meet the requirements of the European Commission. Of course, we assume this decision (to halt a 2nd time) is entirely independent of NATO's deployment of 12 F-15s and 180 troops to Bulgaria's Graf Ignatievo Air Base.
“Commercial shale gas production in Europe can begin not earlier than in 2016-2018 even with positive geological surveys. But production volumes will not bring about major changes in the European gas market due to a decline in conventional gas production,” Gazprom. Which, sadly for Europe, means that Putin will be dictating his terms on the energy-strapped continent for a long, long time.
If a trader knew nothing about the growth, the debt, the inflation, the exporters vs. importers, the serial defaulters, currency manipulators, hot-money or conversely deflation fighters; simply grouping the nations of the world on whether they were 'friend' or 'foe' to the US would provide an odd highly correlated value perspective on the interest rates paid on 1yr and 10yr sovereign debt... It appears your status with the central bank cabal was more important than your ability to repay the loaned money?
Physical gold is migrating to the East (Russia, China) and, with it, power and influence. We see it with China and Russia progressively imposing their will, building consensus with a great many countries that wish to end American domination made possible by their capacity (privilege) of issuing the world reserve currency. The saying, “He who holds the (physical) gold makes the rules”, is truer than ever. The announcement of the creation of the BRICs development bank is just the first cornerstone in the new international monetary edifice. All we have to wait for is the first official announcement from the East of a new means of settlement of commercial trade based on one or more tangible assets, with gold. Afterwards, logically, an announcement of the convertibility of certain currencies into gold, or even the creation of a new currency that would be convertible to gold, should be made.
While Ukraine has long since ceased being a customer of Gazprom (for the simple reason being that it can't afford to pay for historical gas purchases let alone future ones, and with a long cold winter just 3 months ahead, Kiev is praying that its brand new Western "allies" will give it the loans it needs to buy Europe-sourced gas), the bulk of Russia-sourced gas into Europe still transits through Ukraine. Not surprisingly, Ukraine correctly understands this is the last trump card it has in any negotiation with the west, or the east. It is this trump card that went into play moments ago when Ukraine's Prime Minister who recently resigned and whose resignation was not accepted, said that Ukraine is considering banning the transit of all Russian "energy resources", i.e. European gas.
The conflict in Ukraine and the related imposition of sanctions against Russia signal an escalation of geopolitical tensions that is already being felt in the Russian (and increasingly world) financial markets. As The IMF describes in this chartapalooza, a deterioration in the conflict, with or even without a further escalation of sanctions and counter-sanctions, could have a substantial adverse impact on the Russian economy through direct and indirect (confidence) channels. But, perhaps more importantly to the West-sponsored IMF, what would be the repercussions for the rest of Europe if there were to be disruptions in trade or financial flows with Russia, or if economic growth in Russia were to take a sharp downturn?
Imperial Washington is truly running amuck in its insensible confrontation with Vladimir Putin. The latest round of new sanctions is a counter-productive joke. But it is the larger narrative that is so blatantly offensive - that is, the notion that a sovereign state is being wantonly violated by an aggressive neighbor arming “terrorists” inside its borders. Once again, the American Warfare State has confected a false narrative to justify policies and missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE and Wooster MA. Unfortunately, false narratives are what the Warfare State does.
Russia is mounting a major publicity campaign in Europe for its proposed South Stream gas pipeline in an apparent effort to reassure its EU customers that they can rely on Russian gas for the indefinite future.
Syrian refugees, whose numbers are set to pass 3 million in the next few weeks, are almost all in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with smaller numbers in Iraq and Egypt. But, as Reuters reports, that looks set to change: UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming exclaimed that Europe must open its doors to more Syrian refugees, having welcomed only a "miniscule" number while Syria's neighbors have reached "saturation point."
Earlier this summer, IMF bureaucrats went to Sofia, Bulgaria to study the country’s economic progress; and roughly a month ago, they released an official report which stated, among other things, that Bulgarian banks are “stable and liquid.” Then 2 weeks later, there was a run on two of the nation’s largest banks (as we discussed at length here). But it's not just the IMF...the EU Commission soothingly announced that "the Bulgarian banking system is well-capitalized and has high levels of liquidity compared to its peers in other member states." The lesson here is clear: The people in charge of regulating the system and making these proclamations about bank safety are totally clueless. Clearly, Bulgaria (and Portugal) shows that the entire system can really be a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
Even as the western media finally remembered over the weekend there was a Ukraine civil war going on following an advance by the Kiev army to retake some rebel strongholds in the Donbas region, with some curious what if anything Putin would do in retaliation, what Putin, or rather his envoy Sergei Lavrov were actually doing, was completely ignoring the Ukraine situation (where the West has long since conceded the loss of Crimea to the Kremlin) and instead focusing on securing the successful launch of the South Stream (remember: the second South Stream goes online, Ukraine becomes irrelevant). And since Russia already signed another historic agreement with Austria in June, which positioned the AAA-country (with some surprising emerging bank troubles subsequently) squarely against its fellow European peers, it was the turn of the other South Stream countries, namely Bulgaria.
Pro-Russian separatist forces have been forced to retreat from their stronghold in Slavyansk following "massive shelling" in the early morning from Ukraine's 'anti-terrorist' forces. Armored vehicles entered the city and the rebels, according to RT, decided to move back to their headquarters in Kramatorsk to 'prepare' in advance for further offensives. Just days after the cease-fire was lifted, newly-appointed Defense Minister Valery Heletey commented the "order to free Slaviansk from the (separatist) fighters has been carried out," but pro-Russian supporters are not done yet and exclaimed: "Pass on these words to Putin: the people of the Donbass believed him for some reason when he said he would help. But now they (government forces) are killing peaceful civilians and if that is not genocide I would like to know what is."
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and people need to understand that the period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now is extremely vulnerable and will not last long. The following are 18 signs that the global economic crisis is accelerating as we enter the last half of 2014...
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
- Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)