Despite all the talk of a "positive climate" Greek talks with their creditors have ended badly for the desperately cash-strapped nation. As WSJ reports, Greek proposals for a revised bailout program don’t have enough detail - are "piecemeal and vague" - to satisfy the government’s international creditors, eurozone officials said. Furthermore, as Dow Jones reports, EU finance ministers are unlikley to meet again until mid-April (and in the meantime, Greece has to pay salaries, pensions, and most critically IMF debts due on April 9th). It appears clear that the EU is prepared to let Greece entirely run out of money in an effort to squeeze Tspiras as much as possible (though that action will likely further force a pivot to Putin).
A look ahead at the major drivers in the days ahead.
Greek Energy Minister Slams "Unscrupulous, Imperialist" Germany, Will Seek "Bold Alternatives" In RussiaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2015 14:05 -0400
The Greek energy minister kicked the hornet's nest point blank earlier today when he said that "Greece is at more than breaking point; urgently needs big, bold alternatives to “German, incumbent Europe"and that "creditors behaving as unscrupulous imperialists towards distant colony, threatening submission or economic suffocation." More importantly, Lafazanis has some ideas where to find said "big, bold alternatives." In Moscow. Greece's Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis will meet his Russian counterpart and the CEO of energy giant Gazprom in Moscow on Monday, as he hit out at the EU and Germany for tightening a 'noose' around the Greek economy.
"A relatively low-profile entity in Austria – Pfandbriefbank Oesterreich AG (Pfandbriefbank) – is becoming the next critical chapter in the Austrian banking system story." - Daiwa
Just days after Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis' comments about hoping the Greek people will continue to back the government "after the rift," were played down by Syriza; ekathimerini reports that Alternate Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Friday made waves by seeming to confirm that the Greek government was "always prepared for a rift" with its European creditors - "If you don't entertain the possibility of a rift in the back of your mind then obviously the creditors will pass the same measures as they did with the previous [government]," (which perhaps explains why default risks are soaring back to post-crisis highs).
While the euro itself has recovered a bit from its worst levels in recent sessions, euro basis swaps have fallen deeper into negative territory on par with the epic nosedive of 2011. We are not quite sure what the move means this time around, since there is no obvious crisis situation – not yet, anyway. A negative FX basis usually indicates some sort of concern over the banking system’s creditworthiness and has historically been associated with euro area banks experiencing problems in obtaining dollar funding. This time, the move in basis swaps is happening “quietly”, as there are no reports in the media indicating that anything might be amiss. Still, something is apparently amiss...
It's a day of ‘master of the universe,’ central bank speeches as both Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Fed chief Janet Yellen preach their ultra loose policies and certain market participants lap up the Gospel according to Mark … and Janet ...
"One of the potential options Syriza might eventually consider could be a popular referendum on Eurozone membership – a step that would obviously involve great risks and uncertainties," UBS says, as Athens stares down a tough month ahead and an even tougher June and July.
Default Risk Soars After Ukraine's 'American' FinMin Suggests Severe Haircuts For Creditors (Including Russia)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/27/2015 08:18 -0400
Ukraine’s American Finance Minister has announced a broad restructuring plan with a wide range of severe haircuts for creditors, and she – well, obviously – wishes to include Russia in the group of creditors who are about to get their heads shaved. Russia sees the world as one in which multiple major powers can govern together. The US sees Russia as a power that must be defeated by any means necessary, and subdued. One of these worldviews must prevail in the end. Perhaps we won’t know which one that will be until the third power, China, raises its voice. What we do know is that Russia will back down only so far, and then it will no more.
With Washington throwing its full faith and credit behind a new Ukrainian bond issue, it appears it’s time for Moscow to play spoiler to current debt restructuring talks between Kiev and its creditors. Russia holds some $3 billion of Ukraine's debt and doesn't think it should have to incur losses as part of any deal because Vladimir Putin is no average joe private creditor.
The political pressure on Germany is rising in Europe. The country faces a choice: Continue business as usual or change the strategy? Only the latter option may give it real influence on shaping the future course of economic and political affairs in Europe. Playing defense is the comfortable choice, but it may be the wrong strategy. What needs to be done? Below is a proposal for saving the Eurozone in a way that would safeguard Germany’s interests, too
Doing what it does best, a month after the fact and long after the black swans have left the stable so to say, Mario Draghi's ECB has finally asked Eurozone banks "to detail their exposure to Austria and provisions they plan to make after the country halted debt repayments by a "bad bank" winding down defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria," financial sources told Reuters.
The German hyperinflation episode in the early 1920s is often quoted as an example of the dire consequences of excessive money printing – a leading industrial economy succumbing to the dangers of currency debasement promoted by incompetent central bankers. Alas, the reality is more complex than that, particularly when certain geopolitical and economic constraints of that time are taken into consideration. And as we shall see, we can draw some important lessons from that episode that can help us gauge the effectiveness of our very own currency debasement in the 21st century.
With The ECB banning Greek banks from continuing the GGB-buying ponzi scheme, the banking system in deposit outflow panic, cash running extremely dry, food shortages building, and bond/loan payments looming, Greek celebrations of Independence Day today are likely tempered by European officials coin-tossing over the nation's future (in or out of the EU). 196 years after winning their sovereignty from The Ottoman Empire, one wonders if The Greeks have the ability to fight their sovereignty back from "The Institutions." Perhaps, in the future, The Greeks will mourn "In Dependence" Day as opposed to celebrating "Independence" Day...