Raging against its German creditors, the new Greek government is demanding reparations for Nazi-era depredations. Herewith - from Jim Grant’s archives - some timely context both for the Greek negotiating position and the underlying monetary issues.
- Greek Risk Draws Global Concern on Lehman Echo Warnings (BBG)
- Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces (Reuters)
- West Races to Defuse Ukraine Crisis (WSJ)
- German-French Push Yields Ukraine Summit Plan With Putin (BBG)
- Swiss Leaks lifts the veil on a secretive banking system (ICIJ)
- Italy Lenders Seen Cleansing Books Amid Bad-Bank Plans (BBG)
- G-20 Finance Chiefs Face Tough Test in Istanbul (WSJ)
- Demand for OPEC Crude Will Rise This Year, Says Group (WSJ)... or rather prays
- U.S. Banks Say Soaring Dollar Puts Them at Disadvantage (WSJ)
In the absence of any notable developments overnight, the market remains focused on the rapidly moving situation in Greece, which as detailed over the weekend, responded to Europe's Friday ultimatum very vocally and belligerently, crushing any speculation that Syriza would back down or compromise, and with just days left until the emergency Eurogroup meeting in three days, whispers that a Grexit is imminent grow louder. The only outstanding item is what happens to the EUR and to risk assets: do they rise when the Eurozone kicks out its weakest member, or will they tumble as UBS suggested this morning when it said that "the escalation of tensions between the Greek government and its creditors is so far being shrugged off by investors, an attitude which is overly simplistic and ignores the risk of market dislocations" while Morgan Stanley adds that a Grexit would likely lead to the EURUSD sliding near its all time lows of about 0.90.
Now that the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro is back to being topic #1 of discussion, just as it was back in the summer of 2012 and the fall of 2011, and investors are propagandized by groundless speculation posited by journalists who have never used excel in their lives and are merely paid mouthpieces of bigger bank interests, it is time to rewind to a step by step analysis of precisely what will happen in the moments before Greece announces the EMU exit, how the transition from pre- to post- occurs, and the aftermath of what said transition would entail, courtesy of one of the smarter minds out there at the time (before his transition to a more status quo supportive tone), Citi's Willem Buiter, who pontificated precisely on this topic previously. Three words: "not unequivocally good."
The cracks in the foundation, walls, and ceiling of the European Union are beginning to widen. During an interview with Italian State TV RAI3, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis hinted at Greece's "New Deal for Europe" strategy (to be financed by the EIB) but it was the glimpse behind the curtain of EU solidarity that was most shocking as he explained, "Greeks don't have a monopoly on the truth. What we can do, for the rest of Europe, and for Italy in particular, is to open a small door to the truth," adding rather stunningly, that Italy "stands in solidarity with [Greece] but cannot tell the truth as they fear of possible consequences on behalf of Germany."
One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.
"To say Greece simply cannot repay isn’t the end of the story. As Europe moves towards a more rational debt policy with Greece, there is an enormous economic cost, not to mention social and perhaps political, to any delay. I worry about the terrifyingly low level of sophistication among policymakers and the economists who advise them when it comes to understanding balance sheet dynamics and debt restructuring. Greece’s debt overhang imposes rising financial distress costs and increasingly deep distortions in the institutional structure of the economy over time, and the longer it takes to resolve, the greater the cost."
If it’s not one geopolitical concern these days it’s invariably another. The number of world conflicts to total world events is at its highest level in seven years and the number of protests to total world events has spiked of late after falling precipitously since the good old days of the Arab Spring and 7% periphery 10-year yields.
Greece’s problem can only be truly solved if large scale debt restructuring is accepted and executed. But that would initiate a chain of events that would bring down the bloated zombie that is Wall Street. And it just so happens that this zombie rules the planet. We are all addicted to the zombie. It allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are doing well – well, sort of -, but the longer term implications of that behavior will be devastating. We’re all going to be Greece, that’s inevitable. It’s not some maybe thing. The only thing that keeps us from realizing that is that the big media outlets have become part of the same industry that Wall Street, and the governments it controls, have full control over. And that in turn says something about the importance of what Yanis Varoufakis and Syriza are trying to accomplish. They’re taking the battle to the finance empire. And it should not be a lonely fight. Because if the international Wall Street banks succeed in Greece, some theater eerily uncomfortably near you will be next. That is cast in stone.
Put on the a tin foil hat if you must, but US dollar's rally is resuming after short consolidation phase. I think the rally is only about 1/3 of where it is eventually going.
Update: And now this: "Moody's places Greece's Caa1 government bond rating on review for downgrade"
Europe has an unpleasant habit of dropping tape bombs at the most inopportune of times, like at 3pm or later a Friday. And while on Wednesday it was the ECB yanking repoable Greek collateral for local banks, today it was first S&P, which downgraded Greece 5 months after upgrading it, and moments ago it was none other than the Cyprus bail-in man himself, the Eurogroup's Dijsselbloem who just have Greece a 10 day ultimatum to fall into place or risk a terminal bank run and capital controls (both hinted at earlier by the post-DOJ settlement political "rating agency')
- GREECE MUST APPLY FOR BAILOUT EXTENSION ON FEB 16 AT THE LATEST TO KEEP EURO ZONE FINANCIAL BACKING -EUROGROUP CHAIRMAN DIJSSELBLOEM
This means that Greece now has 10 days, or until the Monday after next to decide whether it will stay in the Eurozone or Grexit.
S&P Downgrades Greece, Suggests Worst Case Scenario With Bank Runs And "Capital Controls": Full ReportSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/06/2015 13:14 -0500
And the hits keep coming. On the heels of a demand for repayment of ECB's profits from GGB bond gains and to extend the T-Bill limit to give the nation time to negotiate with EU leaders (i.e. a Bridge Loan) which Jeroen Dijsselbloem already dismissed earlier in the day, S&P just piled on...
GREECE RATINGS CUT TO B- FROM B BY S&P; MAY BE CUT FURTHER
This downgrade comes just 5 months after upgrading Greece because "risks to fiscal consolidation in Greece have abated." EURUSD is not moving much (having already cratered after US payrolls) but Greek stock ETFs are sliding once again.
- RadioShack files for bankruptcy; Sprint to take over some stores (Reuters)
- Kansas To Issue Bonds and Invest Proceeds to Boost Pension Returns (WSJ)
- Merkel to Make Last Push With Putin as Pessimism Prevails (BBG)
- Islamic State in Syria seen under strain but far from collapse (Reuters)
- Texas Swagger Fades Fast as Oil Town Squeezed Hard by OPEC (BBG)
- SEC probes Blackberry options trading ahead of Reuters report about Samsung talks (Reuters)
- Spanish Bonds Underperform Italy’s as Podemos Gains Popularity (BBG)
- Steelworkers Union Rejects Offer From Refiners (WSJ)
- Brazil January Inflation at Fastest Pace in Nearly 12 Years (BBG)
The End Of Guitar Center (And An Irrational Addiction To Growth & The Scourge Of Unregulated Structured Finance)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2015 20:15 -0500
The fact is, the die is cast. In a couple of weeks, Guitar Center will need to report its Christmas performance to its bondholders. If things do not look good, its bonds will be ripped apart like RadioShack’s. Here’s what this really means: it’s the end of big box retail, an irrational addiction to growth, and the scourge of unregulated structured finance. For a few years, unwise urban planning and unregulated banks created a new bubble in the American suburbs. The objective truth is that the growth of the last decade was financed by banking fraud, and that financial trickery of this sort only fools people in the short-term. Eventually, you must have a product people demand, sold by competent people who care about the business, financed in a way that makes sense.
"Central bank polices have ruptured the proper functioning of capital markets. Some investors myopically believe that 'money printing needs a home' and that it will end up in equities (the asset class with upside). However, such a belief needs to include a deep faith in the central bank’s abilities to navigate a soft landing. History is not on their side. Investors pouring into equities might be playing an epic game of chicken."